Naked Science Forum

On the Lighter Side => New Theories => Topic started by: DonQuichotte on 28/08/2013 21:38:56

Title: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 28/08/2013 21:38:56
What ,on Earth, is The Human Consciousness ?

Source : My own Consciousness or Self-Awareness ,or whatever :

Humanity has been struggling with this almost impossible issue of human consciousness for so long now that there seems to be no end to that eternal struggle  in sight so far , science cannot , per definition, even approach as such , for obvious reasons .

The materialistic approach of human consciousness fails pathetically indeed .

If that materialistic approach of consciousness is true , how come we cannot "convert " thoughts to brain waves , and vice versa ,if human consciousness was indeed created by our evolved brains then ? ,to mention just that in fact .

If our consciousness was the product of the evolutionary complexity of our brains , human consciousness as a means or process to make any sense of reality , and the human brain as a tool to approach reality via our senses ,science , reason, logic ...the approach of reality via our senses thus as just a representation of reality in fact , then it's pretty logical to assume that all our knowledge , including the scientific one thus , including our knowledge of evolution itself , are just the products of evolution,via the natural selection = pragmatic survival strategies : it's pretty logical to question the very validity and truth of all that human knowledge and the sense of reality itself , not to mention the fact that evolution fails to explain human progress, for example , human progress as a meaningless notion or concept , in evolutionary terms at least .

 


What do you think about just that , dear folks ?.

Will humanity be ever able to know what the nature of human consciousness is ?

Human consciousness even science itself cannot exist , let alone function without  , even though scientists would be happy without it : a paradox indeed .

Human consciousness even religion or any other human activity for that matter ,cannot do without .

What is human consciousness in fact ?

Every definition existing out there on the subject falls too short to capture  such an extremely elusive , deceptive , dynamic and evolutionary process such as human consciousness : the latter is not an "entity"  indeed , it seems to me at least , even though human individual subjective  consciousness possesses some core relatively unchanging element in itself ,called the Self it refers constantly to,or some core unchanging element of the self at least   .

Subjective human consciousness that does have some universal elements ,in the sense that we are all, in principle at least , conscious beings .

Thanks, folks , appreciate indeed

All the best

If some wise guy here wanna collect that trillion dollars haha award , i do refer him / her to the Nobel prize jury  instead .

I do not understand why or how humans could / can ignore such a huge issue of human consciousness though, the latter as THE key to almost everything  .

Ciao

Title: Re: The Priceless -in -Fact or The Trillion Dollars Question :
Post by: alancalverd on 28/08/2013 22:45:15
Selfawareness is no big deal. It's essential for the survival of any animal and probably plants too. It's very difficult to define an abstract property directly, but we can say that an animal is selfaware if it responds to a stimulus in a manner particularly tuned to itself. I think this is most obvious where an animal assesses that a task is beyond its capability without actually trying it. This isn't a foolproof or absolute test: in the absence of any alternative, a dog will eventually turn and fight a bigger dog, but given the opportunity to run away or make an appeasing gesture, it will do so. For some reason that eludes me, some people prefer to say "posseses selfawareness" instead of "is selfaware", as though selfawareness exists outside and independent of living things. Such loose thinking has no place in science.     

The problem with consciousness is that nobody who uses the word ever says what they mean by it, and loose thinking is endemic to the subject. We can say that an animal is conscious if it responds other than autonomically to a stimulus. Shouting "what is your name?" may produce an autonomic cringe in a person who is by all definitions unconscious, but the measured response of "dunno" (or even a widening of the eyes)  to the whispered question is a conscious one. So by analogy, we might expect consciousness to be the abstract property "possessed by" conscious animals. But I don't get the impression that philosophers and other woolly-minded individuals would like to be pinned down to such a definition - there's no academic mileage in it!   

So I'm with you on one point at least. There is no entity of consciousness. Frankly, there are so many real, important and interesting entities in the world that I don't see any point in spending time discussing one that doesn't exist.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 29/08/2013 02:59:54
I disagree that we have failed pathetically to understand human consciousness. With no scientific tools at all human beings have managed to have great insights about their behavior and their own motivations, good and bad. Now with science, there is an accelerating rate of knowledge about how the brain works, involving perception, memory, learning, emotions, and the underlying biochemistry. Sometimes knowledge comes slowly in bits and pieces, and sometimes it comes in revolutionary insights, but either way, it comes. Before you jump to the conclusion that science has no answers to these important philosophical questions - are you even following the research these days? Here is my challenge to you: Subscribe to the journal "Nature" for one year. Read the neuroscience articles. Then tell me if you feel the same way.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 29/08/2013 20:57:57
If you program a machine to have the intelligence of a human, will it claim to experience anything in the way of consciousness? The answer is no, unless you program it to generate fictions about consciousness. Consciousness is all about feelings, ranging from a nebulous feeling of awareness through to more stark qualia such as pain, blueness, love, etc. Machines don't have feelings, and science has not identified any mechanism by which we can have them either.

You would think that if they were real it would be easy to propose a mechanism by which pain could be real, and this is important because without real pain (and similar unpleasant qualia) there can be no such thing as suffering, while without real suffering there can be no role for morality as no one can ever be harmed. It should be simple if it's real - you should be able to propose a mechanism by which something really simple like a worm can experience real pain when someone pokes it with something sharp. The same mechanism would then work for us as well, and we'd be able to pin down the actual thing in the system that does the suffering and label it as the sentience in the machine (a minimalist soul).

However, so such sentience can be found. It appears that we must be machines which report feelings that are nothing more than a fiction, but this fiction is part of an extraordinary illusion which enables the system to fool itself into creating a whole stack of information about a fake phenomenon and to believe that this information is true even though it cannot trace it back to the source to find out how it was generated.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 29/08/2013 21:58:48
Hi, dear folks :
Pardon me for not being able momentarily to respond to all those posts you were kind enough to write , simply because i spent too much time in another thread .
So, i will just say the following instead :
First of all : how can the unconscious matter give rise to the immaterial consciousness ? or how could the evolved brain "create " consciousness ? : you gotta try to come up with some explanation more serious and better than those materialistic so-called computation or emergence property theory mechanisms though ...

Seond : How could  the mechanisms of the biological evolution via the natural selection be applied to the non-biological ones ? ,and that  despite all the historic antecedents in that  regard as warnings from history : Eugenics , social Darwinism ...?

How can science approach a subjective "thing " or rather process such as consciousness ?
Science which , per definition, cannot prove neither the fact that we are conscious beings nor the fact as a result that we have inner lives ?

Finally : who can tell me what consciousness  exactly  is or rather what its nature or function are ?

I do not think any intelligent person can have any answer to the latter question at least , that's in fact a non-question ,simply because there is no answer to it .


P.S.: It would be also nice if someone would try to answer my questions and remarks in this thread's opening article : if someone already did , i thank him / her for that : i will read all your posts later on indeed .
Thanks, appeciate indeed .

Take care



Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 30/08/2013 00:21:23
So, to summarise, you want someone to explain how consciousness has evolved, but you state that nobody knows what consciousness is.

I will give you a complete explanation in exchange for an accurate answer to a much simpler question: How long is this piece of string? 

Hint: the string may not exist, and that wasn't the piece I meant.   
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 30/08/2013 18:26:53
First of all : how can the unconscious matter give rise to the immaterial consciousness ? or how could the evolved brain "create " consciousness ? : you gotta try to come up with some explanation more serious and better than those materialistic so-called computation or emergence property theory mechanisms though ...

The standard answer is that consciousness emerges out of complexity. Nothing experiences pain other than something that emerges out of complexity while all the components of the system feel nothing. When you torture someone, you are torturing a complex arrangement of parts and not the parts themselves. Sentient geometrical arrangements!

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Finally : who can tell me what consciousness  exactly  is or rather what its nature or function are ?

The function appears to be to drive an animal to fight for survival and to do all manner of things that will make its survival more likely. The problem is that it appears to be impossible for it to be anything more than a fiction.

Take a simple case. Prod a worm with something sharp, it feels pain and tries to get away from the thing causing it pain. Now make a robot to display the same behaviour: a touch sensor is pressed with something sharp, the robot tries to get away from the thing that touched it. No pain in the robot. How can we add pain to the system? Let's hide the pain mechanism in a box and not worry about it. The input from the sensor goes into the box where pain is felt, then an output from the box goes on to trigger the robot into moving away from the sharp thing. That works, but the content of the box adds nothing to the functionality, and it's also impossible for the computer in charge of moving the robot to determine whether pain was felt in the box at all. That is the problem with consciousness - there is no way for an information system to interface with qualia in such a manner as to know anything about them. All it can do is map assertions of sensation to inputs which are supposedly sensations.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 30/08/2013 19:26:06
So, to summarise, you want someone to explain how consciousness has evolved, but you state that nobody knows what consciousness is.

I will give you a complete explanation in exchange for an accurate answer to a much simpler question: How long is this piece of string? 

Hint: the string may not exist, and that wasn't the piece I meant.

God ...

Simply put , once again : that materialistic approach of life as just biological or material processes is not only dangerous and incorrect , but it is also a matter of a world view of materialism ,which has nothing to do with science itself .

The immaterial human consciousness is therefore no biological process , even though it relies on the brain mainly ,and vice versa ....= the evolved biological or physical material brain did not produce the immaterial consciousness .
When you will get that , we can go further from there .
In other words :
You are not talking science here , you are just confusing materialism  as a world view with science : see the difference ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 30/08/2013 19:47:40
First of all : how can the unconscious matter give rise to the immaterial consciousness ? or how could the evolved brain "create " consciousness ? : you gotta try to come up with some explanation more serious and better than those materialistic so-called computation or emergence property theory mechanisms though ...

The standard answer is that consciousness emerges out of complexity. Nothing experiences pain other than something that emerges out of complexity while all the components of the system feel nothing. When you torture someone, you are torturing a complex arrangement of parts and not the parts themselves. Sentient geometrical arrangements!

Emergent property theory regarding consciousness at least is just a materialistic world view or a materialistic interpretation of human consciousness , not a scientific fact , a fact i must remind you of .

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Finally : who can tell me what consciousness  exactly  is or rather what its nature or function are ?

The function appears to be to drive an animal to fight for survival and to do all manner of things that will make its survival more likely. The problem is that it appears to be impossible for it to be anything more than a fiction.

I am talking here about the human consciousness ...exclusively though .
That said : if human consciousness as a process which tries to make any sense of reality was produced by the evolved human brain as a tool to approach reality via our senses by creating a certain representation of reality , if human consciousness is just an illusion as you put it ,then it's pretty logical to assume indeed that the human consciousness was / is just a survival pragmatic strategy ,  then it's pretty logical to question the very validity or truth of all our senses of reality , of all our knowledge, including the scientific one, including our knowledge regarding evolution itself = a real paradox .

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Take a simple case. Prod a worm with something sharp, it feels pain and tries to get away from the thing causing it pain. Now make a robot to display the same behaviour: a touch sensor is pressed with something sharp, the robot tries to get away from the thing that touched it. No pain in the robot. How can we add pain to the system? Let's hide the pain mechanism in a box and not worry about it. The input from the sensor goes into the box where pain is felt, then an output from the box goes on to trigger the robot into moving away from the sharp thing. That works, but the content of the box adds nothing to the functionality, and it's also impossible for the computer in charge of moving the robot to determine whether pain was felt in the box at all. That is the problem with consciousness - there is no way for an information system to interface with qualia in such a manner as to know anything about them. All it can do is map assertions of sensation to inputs which are supposedly sensations.

Well, that should convince you of the obvious fact that the living   organisms and machines or robots are 2 different things :
Pain is real to the living   organisms , it's not an illusion , try to explain it then ,if you can : you cannot do that just via biology neurology ...
The living  organisms are therefore conscious , robots are not , robots can only simulate consciousness maybe ..

But , only humans are self-aware though : why is that ? there is no need or "purpose " for evolution to make humans self-aware,for example  ...= evolution cannot explain the unique human consciousness or the unique human self-awarness ,not just via biology at least, and certainly not via that emergent property theory as a materialistic world view ,which has nothing to do with science  .
Come on, get real sir , please .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 31/08/2013 00:07:07
The immaterial human consciousness is therefore no biological process

Never mind what it isn't. Just tell us what it is, and we'll discuss its origins. Or if you can't say what it is, tell us what it does.

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You are not talking science here , you are just confusing materialism  as a world view with science : see the difference ?

Where on earth did you get the idea that you can read and interpret thoughts I haven't expressed? All I have done is to consistently ask you what you mean by consciousness, and all you do is to ignore the question.

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But , only humans are self-aware though

That is demonstrably - indeed obviously - untrue. If you start from an untrue premise, you will end up with a theology at best, via insanity, to an appalling political philosophy at worst. Or do you have some personal definition of awareness that only applies to hairless apes?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 31/08/2013 21:16:29
The immaterial human consciousness is therefore no biological process

Never mind what it isn't. Just tell us what it is, and we'll discuss its origins. Or if you can't say what it is, tell us what it does.

You should try to read the article of this thread carefully instead : do not be silly .

Every definition of human consciousness at least ,out there   fails to "capture " it , so , nobody has an exact defintion of our elusive deceptive consciousness, simply because there are many  levels of human consciousness,simply because human consciousness is mainly  an immmaterial dynamic process ,despite the fact that it relies partly on the brain and vice versa and despite what materialists would say about human consciousness  ,and simply because the study of consciousness is no exact science , it's mainly an art though, even though neuro-science  can shed some light on  how the brain functions, relatively speaking , because there is still a lot to know about an extremely  complex organ such as the human brain ...because , because , because ... = you might be the only one on this tiny planet to know the very nature of consciousness nobodyelse knows , who knows ?

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You are not talking science here , you are just confusing materialism  as a world view with science : see the difference ?

Where on earth did you get the idea that you can read and interpret thoughts I haven't expressed? All I have done is to consistently ask you what you mean by consciousness, and all you do is to ignore the question.

See above :
Well, you said on this thread that human consciousness does not exist as such , and other similar things i do not recall right now , mainly  a materialist would say , so .

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But , only humans are self-aware though
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That is demonstrably - indeed obviously - untrue. If you start from an untrue premise, you will end up with a theology at best, via insanity, to an appalling political philosophy at worst. Or do you have some personal definition of awareness that only applies to hairless apes?

You'are talking crazy here ........restrain your wild imagination...
(Prior note : in Islam , there is the assumption that non-human species or non-human organisms, including plants , animals .....do glorify and praise God in a way we do not know : how that happens and what it means exactly , we do not know either ,so , i am not gonna go into that ...i am  just responding via this example to your wild speculations as displayed here above .)

That put aside :

Bombastic talk again : did you ever meet a dog , cat , chimp ....who is or rather which is self-aware ? in the sense that it is aware of its existence , of itself ? that it is aware of its inner life or at least has one ?
A dog might have dreams ,for example ,but when even humans dream (i am not talking here about day dreaming of humans at least  ) , they are unconscious , let alone that they would be self-aware while sleeping and dreaming  at least .
The fact that some chimps might "recognize" themselves in the mirror , apparently it seems , or maybe that's just our human interpretation of their behavior in front of the mirror, does not prove conclusively that they might have or experience some degree of self-awarness, i guess, i do not know for sure thus either, but i do not think any non-human living organism for that matter is self-aware , simply because any degree of self-awarness implies some corresponding degree of intellectual process at least  .
Animals are "conscious" (a reduced form of consciousness , compared to that extended one  of man = there is no comparison between the 2 in fact ) : they experience feel pain, experience feel hunger , anger , sadness, joy ....but animals or any other non-human  living organism can never be self-aware in the above mentioned sense at least .I do not know for sure .
That said , this thread is mainly about human consciousness though , even though studying other living species might shed some sort of light on our consciousness, ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 31/08/2013 23:19:30
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Well, you said on this thread that human consciousness does not exist as such

On the contrary, you suggested it might not. I still have no idea what it is or what it does, as you refuse to tell me,  so I can't possibly say whether it exists or not. 

I think I've had enough of this drivel. From what you say, Islam offers a collection of wholly unsubstantiated assertions of human vanity and no insight into the workings of nature. Either you are doing it a disservice, or it is stultifying your obvious intellect. Your problem, not mine.   
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 01/09/2013 18:04:49
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Well, you said on this thread that human consciousness does not exist as such

On the contrary, you suggested it might not. I still have no idea what it is or what it does, as you refuse to tell me,  so I can't possibly say whether it exists or not.
 

I think I've had enough of this drivel. From what you say, Islam offers a collection of wholly unsubstantiated assertions of human vanity and no insight into the workings of nature. Either you are doing it a disservice, or it is stultifying your obvious intellect. Your problem, not mine.

I never implied , let alone that i ever said , that consciousness does not exist : learn to read , bombastic wild guy ;

Here is your own statement below , i was referring to :

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So I'm with you on one point at least. There is no entity of consciousness. Frankly, there are so many real, important and interesting entities in the world that I don't see any point in spending time discussing one that doesn't exist.

As for the rest of your gibberish : irrelevent .

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 01/09/2013 18:22:38
The key to approaching human consciousness is by acknowledging its immaterial  nature , and by acknowledging the fact that it could not/ cannot  be a product of the evolved brain :

Materialists cannot but consider human consciousness ,life itself , and the rest of the universe or reality as just material processes , in order to validate materialism as a world view , otherwise they would be contradicting their own materialism in the process :

In short and in other words :

The reality of the universe , life ....is not only material,and therefore the biological evolution cannot be applied to the whole reality or to the non-biological sides  of human consciousness, life , the universe ...  .

Human consciousness and life in general , do have biological sides , but also immaterial ones , in the sense that life has both a biological and immaterial side , and human consciousness has a biological side represented by its mutual interaction with the brain ,but human consciousness is in fact immaterial .

Therefore, to reduce man, life , the universe  to just material or biological processes is a false assumption that's inherent and intrinsic to materialism as a world view .

  Get that , folks ? Hope so indeed .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 01/09/2013 18:31:34
Some right, some wrong, but doesn't take things on board.

Solution?

Unfollow.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 01/09/2013 20:11:49
Some right, some wrong, but doesn't take things on board.

Solution?

Unfollow.

Why is that and how ?

Narrow-minded materialistic exclusive reductionistic mechanical outdated refuted and largely discredited attitude and world view .

The assumption that life is just a matter of material biological processes ,and therefore human consciousness is just a biological process or illusion , or that reality ie exclusively material ...are just : assumptions : materialistic assumptions, to be more precize , materialism as a world view, philosophy , paradigm... which can be traced back to its Eurocentric cultural philosophical ...historic context as a rebellion against the medieval church : materialism as a world view which has not much to do with ...science proper ,despite the great achievements of materialism at the level of  exact sciences at least , and even at that level modern physics or quantum physics , the theory of chaos of maths ......do refute that deterministic materialism .
It's pretty logical therefore to understand how and why materialism fails pathetically at the level of human sciences, ....no wonder .

Sweet dreams in your materialictic wonderland, Alice .

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 01/09/2013 21:31:35
Narrow-minded materialistic exclusive reductionistic mechanical outdated refuted and largely discredited attitude and world view .
sounds familiar...

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..., the theory of chaos of maths ......do refute that deterministic materialism .
Not really, no. As I explained to you in another thread, the mathematical theory of chaos is explicitly deterministic.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 02/09/2013 17:35:48
Of course, I'm not actually that good at unfollowing things, so I looked in to see what you'd say.

You can build your idea of consciousness using any kind of magic you like, but the problem you need to face up to is that it still has to interface with a mechanical information system at some point, because it's a mechanical information system that constructs all our thoughts and which expresses them both internally and externally (in the latter case through speech). Read the logical argument at http://www.magicschoolbook.com/consciousness.html (http://www.magicschoolbook.com/consciousness.html). Start with the conclusions at the end so that you can see where it's going. If you can propose a serious mechanism for getting past this problem, the whole world will be interested. Consciousness feels too real to be an illusion, but reason appears to show that it must be an illusion, no matter how much we dislike that idea. Our brains as information systems produce data which makes extraordinary claims about consciousness, but we should not trust it unless we can see how those claims are created and what they are based on. There appears to be no possible way for information systems to access sensations of any kind, so they are almost certainly making mere assertions which go beyond their competence. Alternatively, reason itself may be fundamentally wrong, in which case you need to work out which bit of reason is wrong so that we can ditch it.

Most people are unable to get to the point where they even understand the problem, so I won't hold my breath.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 02/09/2013 18:11:03
... Consciousness feels too real to be an illusion, but reason appears to show that it must be an illusion, no matter how much we dislike that idea.

While I agree with what you say, there are semantic problems with calling consciousness an illusion, because it implies that consciousness doesn't 'really' exist, yet we obviously are 'conscious' and have a sense of self, and awareness, etc., and there's a whole bunch of objective observations we can make to determine whether someone is conscious or not; so consciousness is a real phenomenon of some kind. It's just that it isn't what it subjectively seems to be; i.e. it is a misleading experience. In an illusionist analogy, consciousness is the trick, and the illusion is that it's content and/or activities aren't what they appear to be. Unfortunately, 'consciousness' is used somewhat ambiguously to mean both the objective state (of awareness, etc.), and the subjective experience (what it's like), which confuses things.

Hmm... not the epitome of clarity, I'm afraid. I may have to revise or withdraw it when I'm not so frazzled.

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 03/09/2013 18:14:32
While I agree with what you say, there are semantic problems with calling consciousness an illusion, because it implies that consciousness doesn't 'really' exist, yet we obviously are 'conscious' and have a sense of self, and awareness, etc., and there's a whole bunch of objective observations we can make to determine whether someone is conscious or not; so consciousness is a real phenomenon of some kind.

It isn't that simple. You can have a deluded inteligent computer system which makes incorrect judgements which lead to the generation of data which asserts that feelings are felt in the system without any feelings actually being felt in the system at all. These data making assertions that feelings are felt are then used within the thinking of the system as proof that feelings are felt, but they're all based on untruths. There is no consciousness in such a system, but it continually asserts both to us and to itself that there is.

We may be the same as that deluded system. It doesn't feel as if that is the case, of course, because we can stick pins in ourselves and imagine that we feel the pain, but is there really any pain there or are we just being fooled into thinking that there is? And where is the "I" in the machine that is feeling this pain? In a computer, no matter how intelligent the software becomes, there will never be an "I" in it capable of feeling anything. Science has failed to find an "I" in us too - all we have to go on are the pronouncements of the information systems within us which assert that there is an "I" inside us somewhere feeling feelings, and yet the information systems which create the data that documents this phenomenon cannot be trusted as it should be impossible for them to access such knowledge. That is the formidible barrier we are up against.

Science may some day be able to trace back the path by which this data is generated to see what it is actually based on, at which point we will either be able to see the point at which it is created as a fiction (which will show that there is no such thing as consciousness other than as a fiction), or it will lead us to something extraordinary which takes us far beyond our current understanding of science and reason. It seems most likely that all that's happening is that assertions are being mapped to inputs such that an input signal which may represent damage being done has the idea of "pain" mapped to it by the information system, and then that fiction of pain is never questioned. There cannot be a transmission of knowledge of actual pain in the input signal itself unless it comes ready packaged as data which speaks of pain, but if it came in that form it would have to be written in the same language as used by the information system collecting that data, which either means that part of the information system is on the other end of the input signal line or another information system that happens to speak the same language is at that other end, but either way the problem is merely transferred - the data system at the far end would still have to know that the pain is real, and yet it can't. All it can do is make an assumption that pain is involved and then assert as much in the data.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 03/09/2013 19:58:59
It isn't that simple. You can have a deluded inteligent computer system which makes incorrect judgements which lead to the generation of data which asserts that feelings are felt in the system without any feelings actually being felt in the system at all. These data making assertions that feelings are felt are then used within the thinking of the system as proof that feelings are felt, but they're all based on untruths. There is no consciousness in such a system, but it continually asserts both to us and to itself that there is.
This sounds a bit like the philosophical zombies. Personally, I'd say that if an intelligent computer system can really be deluded (i.e. be able hold a belief in the face of contradictory evidence), that's pretty good evidence for consciousness ;) But seriously, if such a system displays all the behavioural characteristics of consciousness appropriately, how can we say it is not conscious? after all, that's how we judge consciousness, even subjectively. Yes, we could program a system to superficially appear conscious when it isn't, but I would suggest that there would be differences that would be distinguishable. If it was not possible to tell, I'd say it is conscious. This is what Ayer proposed in the 1930's: "The only ground I can have for asserting that an object which appears to be conscious is not really a conscious being, but only a dummy or a machine, is that it fails to satisfy one of the empirical tests by which the presence or absence of consciousness is determined."

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We may be the same as that deluded system. It doesn't feel as if that is the case, of course, because we can stick pins in ourselves and imagine that we feel the pain, but is there really any pain there or are we just being fooled into thinking that there is? And where is the "I" in the machine that is feeling this pain?
There is pain if we feel pain; a headache, or even phantom limb pain is 'real' pain; that feeling of hurting is what we mean by 'pain'. So, I say, for consciousness - that sense of feeling aware, or of self-awareness. That sensation is what consciousness is, and it is accompanied by neurophysiological, and, usually, by physiological and behavioural indicators. The 'I' is an emergent construct, a collaboration of neurological processes. Strictly, its location is in the brain, as it's generated by brain processes, but its subjective location (where it feels it is located) may not be.

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In a computer, no matter how intelligent the software becomes, there will never be an "I" in it capable of feeling anything.
That's arguable. Consciousness isn't intelligence. If we built a neural network similar to the brain (architecturally and connectedly) and trained it appropriately, there's no reason why it should not have a subjective sense of self. It won't happen unless it's structured appropriately; we know certain structures are essential to generate various aspects of self & self image. There are various ventures in progress, of which Blue Brain Project (http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/) looks like the best bet, but their objective is neurological disease research rather than consciousness, so unless diseases of consciousness come under that remit, we may not see it.

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Science has failed to find an "I" in us too - all we have to go on are the pronouncements of the information systems within us which assert that there is an "I" inside us somewhere feeling feelings, and yet the information systems which create the data that documents this phenomenon cannot be trusted as it should be impossible for them to access such knowledge.
That's not entirely true; there are many examples of sensory manipulations, or drugs, or damage through disease or injury, that cause faulty construction of self-image, sense of self, and 'I'. The locations, connections, and functions of many of the affected areas that contribute are known to varying degrees, so we're not completely in the dark. Of course, although we know some of the requirements, we're still some way from identifying precisely how that subjective sense of self is generated.

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It seems most likely that all that's happening is that assertions are being mapped to inputs such that an input signal which may represent damage being done has the idea of "pain" mapped to it by the information system, and then that fiction of pain is never questioned.
That's pretty much how it seems to work. Pain is generated by and in the brain; it doesn't exist outside it. There are mappings that trigger a bunch of dispositional activity that can include sensations of pain. That's how brain in general seems to work - mappings overlaying dispositions (simple or 'primitive' responses). Pain is triggered usually in response to sensory inputs (which are just pulses of membrane depolarizations like most neural activity), but sometimes just from internal neural 'noise' or spontaneous firings. Damasio's 'Self Comes to Mind (http://www.amazon.com/Self-Comes-Mind-Constructing-Conscious/dp/030747495X)' has some interesting information about how these systems work (some of it a bit technical).

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There cannot be a transmission of knowledge of actual pain in the input signal itself unless it comes ready packaged as data which speaks of pain, but if it came in that form it would have to be written in the same language as used by the information system collecting that data, which either means that part of the information system is on the other end of the input signal line or another information system that happens to speak the same language is at that other end, but either way the problem is merely transferred - the data system at the far end would still have to know that the pain is real, and yet it can't. All it can do is make an assumption that pain is involved and then assert as much in the data.
Yes; the knowledge or awareness of pain comes last. To start with, it's just a pattern of afferent nerve impulses like any other. The brain processes these signals and various others that provide a context (for example, you may cut yourself but not feel any pain until you see the damage), and [the sensation of] pain may (or may not) be generated (fight-or-flight stress hormones & neurotransmitters, etc., may suppress it).
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 03/09/2013 20:35:57
Hi, folks :

I will try to respond to the above , later on .

I will just say the following , for the time being at least though :

Thanks for your interesting insights i do appreciate indeed , althought they are just materialistic ones, once again...no wonder  :

The assumption that life is just a biological process ,for example, has more to do with materialism as a world view , than with science proper : take a look back at the past to find out about the roots of such assumption , and regarding the birth of materialism itself .

We are much more than just physical bodies : materialists , per definition, think otherwise of course ,but to say that human consciousness is just an illusion ,for instance ,  how "real " ( dlorde )that illusion might ever be , is the very negation of the validity or truth of all our knowledge , including the scientific one, including that concerning evolution itself, once again ..

Once again, just tell me how can the human consciousness as such , as a means to make any sense of reality , be the product of our evolved brain , that's just a tool to approach reality via our senses , via representations of reality ?  : don't you see the inherent intrinsic paradox or contradiction contained in the materialistic assumption that human consciousness is just a biological process  created by the evolved brain ?

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 03/09/2013 22:23:56
Who says reality makes sense? Why should it? To whom? Our entire existence is due tot he fact that it doesn't.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 04/09/2013 04:44:54
I honestly cannot understand how one can attack materialism and reductionism, blithely dismiss things like emergent properties and offer absolutely nothing better in terms of explanation of phenomena.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 04/09/2013 09:08:56
I honestly cannot understand how one can attack materialism and reductionism, blithely dismiss things like emergent properties and offer absolutely nothing better in terms of explanation of phenomena.
You don't need such explanations if you have faith. Apparently it's beyond logic, reason, and science...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 04/09/2013 19:23:06
I honestly cannot understand how one can attack materialism and reductionism, blithely dismiss things like emergent properties and offer absolutely nothing better in terms of explanation of phenomena.

Emergent properties are well worth dismissing. Nothing ever emerges that isn't 100% rooted in the components, even if it's hard to recognise them until they emerge. When it comes to consciousness, you can't have something emerge out of a system to be sentient (which is what consciousness is really all about) without any of the components being sentient unless your explanation is based on magic. Sentient geometry with no sentient components is not a scientific explanation of anything.

We're up against the biggest puzzle of them all here, and there is nothing close to a satisfactory explanation on the table. All proposed solutions involve either a large injection of magic or the removal of consciousness altogether, which goes completely against what we directly feel, so none of us can claim to be arguing from a good position. It is important though that we recognise where we are injecting magic into our explanations and don't pretend it isn't there.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 04/09/2013 20:13:16
This sounds a bit like the philosophical zombies. Personally, I'd say that if an intelligent computer system can really be deluded (i.e. be able hold a belief in the face of contradictory evidence), that's pretty good evidence for consciousness ;)

Not when you can examine the workings and see exactly where the fictions are being generated. A fiction of consciousness is simply not consciousness. Writing a program which sends the word "Ouch!" to the screen does not mean there is any actual pain experienced in the system, and the same principle applies to a more complex program which creates other fictions about feelings which it is supposedly feeling. The intelligent machine may be fooled into generating fictional claims about feelings and to mark them as true, but it is plain wrong - there is no consciousness involved.

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But seriously, if such a system displays all the behavioural characteristics of consciousness appropriately, how can we say it is not conscious? after all, that's how we judge consciousness, even subjectively.

A simple program printing "Ouch!" to the screen whenever a key is pressed would pass your test, but it would be lying about the existence of pain.

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Yes, we could program a system to superficially appear conscious when it isn't, but I would suggest that there would be differences that would be distinguishable. If it was not possible to tell, I'd say it is conscious.

No, it would be wise to treat it as if it is conscious so as not to harm it just in case it is, but you should not label it as conscious unless you can see the whole mechanism and identify where the feelings are being experienced and what it is that is experiencing them.

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There is pain if we feel pain; a headache, or even phantom limb pain is 'real' pain; that feeling of hurting is what we mean by 'pain'. So, I say, for consciousness - that sense of feeling aware, or of self-awareness. That sensation is what consciousness is, and it is accompanied by neurophysiological, and, usually, by physiological and behavioural indicators. The 'I' is an emergent construct, a collaboration of neurological processes. Strictly, its location is in the brain, as it's generated by brain processes, but its subjective location (where it feels it is located) may not be.

When you torture someone, what is it that's suffering? Imagine that you can make a brain out of a few thousand atoms. None of those atoms is able to feel pain, but pain is felt somewhere when they are connected together in a particular arrangement and a certain input is fed into them. What feels the pain? The atoms don't feel it, so is it the geometrical arrangement itself that you are torturing and causing to suffer? Or is it something else that doesn't exist which is emerging to suffer? Does that not strike you as being rather magical?

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In a computer, no matter how intelligent the software becomes, there will never be an "I" in it capable of feeling anything.
That's arguable. Consciousness isn't intelligence.

Indeed it isn't, but the claims we have about its existence come from intelligent information systems in our brains. If we didn't have the claims about things like pain coming out of such intelligent systems, we would know nothing of it.

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If we built a neural network similar to the brain (architecturally and connectedly) and trained it appropriately, there's no reason why it should not have a subjective sense of self. It won't happen unless it's structured appropriately; we know certain structures are essential to generate various aspects of self & self image. There are various ventures in progress, of which Blue Brain Project (http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/) looks like the best bet, but their objective is neurological disease research rather than consciousness, so unless diseases of consciousness come under that remit, we may not see it.

If we make such a system and it claims to be able to feel qualia, we won't know whether to believe it or not, and it will be programmed in the same way as our minds, hiding all the fine working in complex networks which are practically impossible to untangle. Even a simple neural network can be so complex in the way it functions that no one can work out how it does what it does.

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Science has failed to find an "I" in us too - all we have to go on are the pronouncements of the information systems within us which assert that there is an "I" inside us somewhere feeling feelings, and yet the information systems which create the data that documents this phenomenon cannot be trusted as it should be impossible for them to access such knowledge.
That's not entirely true; there are many examples of sensory manipulations, or drugs, or damage through disease or injury, that cause faulty construction of self-image, sense of self, and 'I'. The locations, connections, and functions of many of the affected areas that contribute are known to varying degrees, so we're not completely in the dark. Of course, although we know some of the requirements, we're still some way from identifying precisely how that subjective sense of self is generated.

All we have done so far is find ways to stop and restore the reporting of the experience of sensations - we rely 100% on the individual being studied reporting to us whether they were conscious or not. That may allow us to rule out the possibility of the "I" being in certain places, so we may in time track it down to a small location or set of locations, but even then we'll have a hard time trying to find it within those.

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It seems most likely that all that's happening is that assertions are being mapped to inputs such that an input signal which may represent damage being done has the idea of "pain" mapped to it by the information system, and then that fiction of pain is never questioned.
That's pretty much how it seems to work. Pain is generated by and in the brain; it doesn't exist outside it. There are mappings that trigger a bunch of dispositional activity that can include sensations of pain. That's how brain in general seems to work - mappings overlaying dispositions (simple or 'primitive' responses). Pain is triggered usually in response to sensory inputs (which are just pulses of membrane depolarizations like most neural activity), but sometimes just from internal neural 'noise' or spontaneous firings. Damasio's 'Self Comes to Mind (http://www.amazon.com/Self-Comes-Mind-Constructing-Conscious/dp/030747495X)' has some interesting information about how these systems work (some of it a bit technical).

I wasn't referring to the inputs from nerves interfacing with the brain, but to the inputs to the information system from the places where the experiences of pain and other qualia supposedly occur. For the information system to be informed that pain has been experienced, there needs to be an input to signal that, but the input signal cannot transmit actual knowledge of pain to the information system, so the information system has to map an assertion that there was pain to the input, an assertion which it cannot back up because it is nothing more than a mapping. The information system has no means to know anything about the pain - all it can know is that there is an input from something which relates to a warning of potential damage being done.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 04/09/2013 20:55:26
Important note :

I personally think that human consciousness is simply the "I" , or "me"  through which  we interpret or perceive the representation of reality created by our brain   via our senses .

But then again, you would ask me what that "I" or "me" exactly is : i would say : it's the soul : what is the soul ? one would ask ...

That would bring us back to square zero again ...so .

Besides, and regardless of what the soul might be , i think that the soul "resides " in our whole beings , in every cell , atom or organ of ours , not just in the brain : the soul is "located " within and without in fact (Extended sense of reality or the extended consciousness via the "reading" of peoples ' minds,via some sort of telepathy ...)   ,and has no specific "location " ,due to its immaterial nature which escapes space -time= that's no contradiction in fact  .

I also think that human consciousness is a dynamic ever-changing process as well , but the core "I" or "me " in it is unchanging ..., and there are also many levels of consciousness as well ...I dunno .


In other words :

Feelings , emotions ....(There are some scientifc studies such as the one here below which confirms the fact that behavior , emotions, feelings ...are not always required for  consciousness , as some other scientific studies had shown that the brain is not always needed for  consciousness as well sometimes..... ...  ...) , feelings , emotions ...thus are  in fact no built-in illusions in our systems we get fooled by ,or we confuse with reality : they are as real as we are,but the materialistic interpretation of the biological evolution , via the natural selection ,can only logically conclude otherwise,logically in the materialistic sense at least , to be more precize  : that the evolved brain created consciousness , and therefore the latter is just a sophisticated survival strategy built-in illusion in our systems we perceive as real while it is not as such  :materialists do not even realise or detect the inherent intrinsic paradox or contradiction contained in their latter assumption ,ironically enough .

My own alternative explanation for pain , emotions, feelings ...is as follows :This is just an attempt of mine on the subject : i might be wrong of course : I dunno :

"We" (what we can call our consciousness,relatively speaking then  )  get informed  by our sensory "inputs " about a given representation of reality created by our brain in the process as a result , our consciousness acts up on , by trying to make sense of that given representation of reality by "translating " it into some sort of conscious representation of reality , the latter causes our biological system to act accordingly :

Example : when i hear some bad news on the phone, for example , the sound waves of the voice of speaker via the phone ( the sound waves of the voice of  the speaker at the other end of the phone gets converted to electro-magnetic signals , which get , in their turn , converted to sound waves again hitting my ears ' nerves ...), the sound waves of the speaker's voice hit my ears' nerves which send them to particular areas of my brain : my consciousness or "me " gets informed by those sensory "inputs " and therefore tries to make sense of them , which triggers a conscious feeling of sadness by my consciousness as a result that can even bring tears to my eyes afterwards :

My consciousness gets informed by my sensory "inputs " transmitted to my brain by the sound waves of the speaker's voice  via my ears' nerves , my consciousness then generates the sad feeling as a result , which causes my biological system to trigger tears in my eyes ...= consciousness is not generated by the brain : the latter merely informs it of that given representation of reality corresponding to those sound waves of the voice of the speaker ,my consciousness or "me " acts upon by triggering the feeling of sadness which results in the biological process of tears flowing from my eyes ,I dunno .

In short : the brain does not generate feelings , emotions, pain,consciousness  ....via triggering the alleged biological processes resulting in the feeling of pain, emotions, feelings ....which trigger tears in my eyes = it's exactly the other way around : feelings , emotions , pain ...are triggered by my own consciousness which results in the feedback leading to the biological process resulting in triggering tears in my eyes , after the fact that my sensory inputs inform my consciousness of that particular representation of reality created by my own brain via my own senses .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 04/09/2013 21:32:45
Materialism is just that n fact , once again : a world view most of people , including people here , do confuse with science itself ,unfortunately enough :
You have been indoctrinated and brainwashed by materialism for more than 5 centuries now that you cannot but confuse it with science ,thanks to all those scientific great huge advances in the last centuries .
No wonder when we take into consideration that dominating materialistic paradigm in science stating the " fact " that the reality out there is  exclusively material : a materialistic "fact " or paradigm which has been largely refuted by quantum physics at least .
The materialistic assumption that life itself as a result is just a matter , so to speak, of just material biological processes does not hold much water either = no wonder that materialism fails pathetically at the level of human sciences mainly and elsewhere , and even at the level of inorganic  matter itself , and even at the level of quantum physics ...despite the great achievements of materialism at the level of exact -sciences at least , relatively speaking .

In short :

It is only a matter of time before that materialistic  deterministic mechanical reductionistic paradigm becomes ...history , and there are many non-materialistic  alternative approaches of human consciousness,life ... as well out there :

So, materialists just behave as if they do not exist as such, otherwise they would be refuting their own materialism as a world view in the process , as a result= they set a lethal trap for themselves they cannot escape , unless they reject materialism itself  .


P.S.: "The evolved brain created consciousness as a so-called emergent property " is yet another materialistic assumption though = not a scientific fact = not even remotely close . especially when we take into consideration the fact that we still do not know much about the extremely complex human brain, despite all those neurological advances ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 04/09/2013 21:36:28
Who says reality makes sense? Why should it? To whom? Our entire existence is due tot he fact that it doesn't.

That's just your own opinion on the subject , you "extracted " from or you got made to believe in through materialism as a world view = logical, in the materialistic sense at least .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 04/09/2013 21:53:22
I honestly cannot understand how one can attack materialism and reductionism, blithely dismiss things like emergent properties and offer absolutely nothing better in terms of explanation of phenomena.
You don't need such explanations if you have faith. Apparently it's beyond logic, reason, and science...

Come on : if that was the case : how ,on earth , was it possible then that the early muslims "invented " and practiced science ,mainly thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology on the subject .?
You should know better than saying such a stupid thing , sorry .

Science , reason, logic ...have limits , but that does not mean we should "discard " them , who said that ?

Try to detect the context of the statements of people ....
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 05/09/2013 00:04:51
Emergent properties are well worth dismissing. Nothing ever emerges that isn't 100% rooted in the components, even if it's hard to recognise them until they emerge. When it comes to consciousness, you can't have something emerge out of a system to be sentient (which is what consciousness is really all about) without any of the components being sentient unless your explanation is based on magic.
Of course emergent properties are rooted in the components, that's the point; they are properties of the components interacting together that are not properties of the components individually. So water is wet, but a water molecule isn't; there's nothing about an individual water molecule that is wet. In Conway's Game of Life (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway's_Game_of_Life), there's nothing in the simple rules of a grid square's life & death that predicts a glider gun, that's an emergent phenomenon of multiple iterations of multiple grid squares. Tin and copper are soft metals, but mix them together and the alloy is harder than either; an emergent property of the interaction of copper and tin atoms, not predictable from examining a tin atom and a copper atom.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 05/09/2013 07:48:28
Come on : if that was the case : how ,on earth , was it possible then that the early muslims "invented " and practiced science ,mainly thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology on the subject .?


"Thanks to" or "despite"?

The essence of science is that there is no supernatural or revealed authority: the very opposite of all religions.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 05/09/2013 12:00:24
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if such a system displays all the behavioural characteristics of consciousness appropriately, how can we say it is not conscious? after all, that's how we judge consciousness
A simple program printing "Ouch!" to the screen whenever a key is pressed would pass your test, but it would be lying about the existence of pain.
Well no, no it wouldn't. All the behavioural characteristics of consciousness is not 'Ouch!' when a key is pressed; I'm thinking along the lines of an extended Turing Test, an in-depth examination. Of course, the criteria for establishing consciousness would need to be defined first. What must any system be able to do for us to judge it conscious?

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When you torture someone, what is it that's suffering?
They are; their body and mind.

Their body suffers physical damage, triggering a flood of neural signals to the brainstem, the evolutionarily ancient part, where the nucleus tractus solitarius & the parabrachial nucleus generate activity maps that are the felt body states. These areas have feed-forward and feeback links to many other parts of the brain, but the essence of the experience is generated there.

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Imagine that you can make a brain out of a few thousand atoms. ... <fantasy> ... Does that not strike you as being rather magical?
It would have to be magical, because you can't make a brain out of a few thousand atoms. You need around a million neurons to make a cockroach brain, and it's not clear whether they feel pain at all.

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If we make such a system and it claims to be able to feel qualia, we won't know whether to believe it or not, and it will be programmed in the same way as our minds, hiding all the fine working in complex networks which are practically impossible to untangle.
That's why we'd have to judge it the same way we judge consciousness in ourselves and others - by how it behaves, what it says and does.

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All we have done so far is find ways to stop and restore the reporting of the experience of sensations - we rely 100% on the individual being studied reporting to us whether they were conscious or not. That may allow us to rule out the possibility of the "I" being in certain places, so we may in time track it down to a small location or set of locations, but even then we'll have a hard time trying to find it within those.
Not quite sure what you're saying here; I was referring to the thousands of examples of faulty construction of the self, or sense of self, in various ways; the sort of peculiarities covered by V. S. Ramachandran in his research and books (http://www.amazon.co.uk/V.-S.-Ramachandran/e/B001IGHMGU). Here's a link to some of his videos (http://thesciencenetwork.org/search?speakers=V.S.+Ramachandran) you may find interesting.

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I wasn't referring to the inputs from nerves interfacing with the brain, but to the inputs to the information system from the places where the experiences of pain and other qualia supposedly occur. For the information system to be informed that pain has been experienced, there needs to be an input to signal that, but the input signal cannot transmit actual knowledge of pain to the information system, so the information system has to map an assertion that there was pain to the input, an assertion which it cannot back up because it is nothing more than a mapping. The information system has no means to know anything about the pain - all it can know is that there is an input from something which relates to a warning of potential damage being done.
I explained that the brainstem nuclei generate the felt body states, the foundational feelings of pain or pleasure, etc., by mapping the afferent sensory flow from internal and external body senses. From these nuclei, the emotional and hormonal responses are mediated, via signals to the insular cortex and thalamic nuclei. The insular cortex refines and differentiates those basal feelings, relating them to contextual activity elsewhere in the brain. It also feeds forwards to higher cortical areas. This is all described in more detail in Damasio's 'Self Comes To Mind' (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Comes-Mind-Constructing-Conscious/dp/0099498022/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378378387&sr=1-1&keywords=self+comes+to+mind) (chapter 3 onwards).
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 05/09/2013 17:51:23
Besides, and regardless of what the soul might be , i think that the soul "resides " in our whole beings , in every cell , atom or organ of ours , not just in the brain : the soul is "located " within and without in fact (Extended sense of reality or the extended consciousness via the "reading" of peoples ' minds,via some sort of telepathy ...)   ,and has no specific "location " ,due to its immaterial nature which escapes space -time= that's no contradiction in fact  .

That's lovely, but it still has to interact with the information system of the brain which does all the thinking mechanically. When you damage the structure of the brain, you can see the thinking go wrong. When you look at a species with inferior wiring, you see a reduction in thinking ability. If the "soul" is to think, it is tied to a mechanical system which does all the work for it and without which the soul can do nothing. This mechanical thinking system, the information system, constructs information about the soul and the feelings that are experienced by it, so it needs to be able to get that knowledge from the soul somehow. All matter and energy may be conscious, as may a fabric of space or something outside of space entirely, but you still have to propose a means by which this consciousness can interface with the information system of the brain which asserts that consciousness is real. How can the mechanical information system ever know? The way to try to find out is to try to follow back the claims generated by the information system to see how they are formed and what they're based on; to see on what basis they are labelled as true.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 05/09/2013 17:58:54
Emergent properties are well worth dismissing. Nothing ever emerges that isn't 100% rooted in the components, even if it's hard to recognise them until they emerge. When it comes to consciousness, you can't have something emerge out of a system to be sentient (which is what consciousness is really all about) without any of the components being sentient unless your explanation is based on magic.
Of course emergent properties are rooted in the components, that's the point; they are properties of the components interacting together that are not properties of the components individually. So water is wet, but a water molecule isn't; there's nothing about an individual water molecule that is wet. In Conway's Game of Life (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway's_Game_of_Life), there's nothing in the simple rules of a grid square's life & death that predicts a glider gun, that's an emergent phenomenon of multiple iterations of multiple grid squares. Tin and copper are soft metals, but mix them together and the alloy is harder than either; an emergent property of the interaction of copper and tin atoms, not predictable from examining a tin atom and a copper atom.

You're missing the point. Nothing emerges that can't be accounted for by the components (which include the fabric and geometry of space in which the components are able to act). Emergent properties such as "wet" are compound ideas which can themselves be broken down. There is nothing extra that pings into existence to be conscious when lots of things are stuck together in a complex arrangement. The point is that nothing can ping into existence out of complexity to do such things as suffer which cannot also be identified in the components. A plurality cannot suffer without at least one of the singularities within it suffering. A complex geometrical arrangement cannot be tortured without at least one of the components suffering. If none of the components suffer, the imagined emerged thing that supposedly suffers cannot exist.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 05/09/2013 18:24:49
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A simple program printing "Ouch!" to the screen whenever a key is pressed would pass your test, but it would be lying about the existence of pain.
Well no, no it wouldn't. All the behavioural characteristics of consciousness is not 'Ouch!' when a key is pressed; I'm thinking along the lines of an extended Turing Test, an in-depth examination. Of course, the criteria for establishing consciousness would need to be defined first. What must any system be able to do for us to judge it conscious?

Any more complex case where you add all manner of extra functionality to confuse the situation will still at root work in the same way. A signal comes in, an assertion that pain is experienced is mapped to that input, and then that assertion is made in some way, but it is nothing more than an assertion. There was no pain in the system. You could have a robot that behaves exactly like a human when you interact with it, but every claim it makes about feelings will be achieved by mapping assertions to imputs.

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When you torture someone, what is it that's suffering?
They are; their body and mind.

Their body suffers physical damage, triggering a flood of neural signals to the brainstem, the evolutionarily ancient part, where the nucleus tractus solitarius & the parabrachial nucleus generate activity maps that are the felt body states. These areas have feed-forward and feeback links to many other parts of the brain, but the essence of the experience is generated there.

With a robot that behaves like a human, you can break its arm off and it will not suffer. With the right anaesthetics, you can do the same with a human. The body does not suffer. The suffering, if there is any, takes place in the brain (or perhaps outside of this virtual universe entirely). Don't mix up the other meaning of "suffer" as in "the car suffered an accident" where it merely means it is the object of the hidden verb "damaged".

The suffering relevant to a discussion of consciousness is restricted to unpleasant qualia such as pain. If nothing exists that actually experiences such qualia, there can be no suffering. Something complex that experiences qualia without any of the components experiencing qualia will not do - that is a magical solution and not a scientific one.

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Imagine that you can make a brain out of a few thousand atoms. ... <fantasy> ... Does that not strike you as being rather magical?
It would have to be magical, because you can't make a brain out of a few thousand atoms. You need around a million neurons to make a cockroach brain, and it's not clear whether they feel pain at all.

You're missing the point. It's just a matter of number. If you make it quintillions instead of a thousand, it makes no difference to the thought experiment other than hiding the problem in greater complexity. The thought experiment can be done with any number down to two atoms. If you can have a system of two atoms in which pain is experienced but no pain is experienced by either atom, what the heck was it that experienced the pain?

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If we make such a system and it claims to be able to feel qualia, we won't know whether to believe it or not, and it will be programmed in the same way as our minds, hiding all the fine working in complex networks which are practically impossible to untangle.
That's why we'd have to judge it the same way we judge consciousness in ourselves and others - by how it behaves, what it says and does.

But we don't even know that we have consciousness ourselves. Our brains generate data that claim we have it, and then we believe those claims. But the claims are generated by an information system which is not competent to make such a judgement.

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All we have done so far is find ways to stop and restore the reporting of the experience of sensations - we rely 100% on the individual being studied reporting to us whether they were conscious or not. That may allow us to rule out the possibility of the "I" being in certain places, so we may in time track it down to a small location or set of locations, but even then we'll have a hard time trying to find it within those.
Not quite sure what you're saying here; I was referring to the thousands of examples of faulty construction of the self, or sense of self, in various ways; the sort of peculiarities covered by V. S. Ramachandran in his research and books (http://www.amazon.co.uk/V.-S.-Ramachandran/e/B001IGHMGU). Here's a link to some of his videos (http://thesciencenetwork.org/search?speakers=V.S.+Ramachandran) you may find interesting.

My internet connection is too slow to view videos.

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I wasn't referring to the inputs from nerves interfacing with the brain, but to the inputs to the information system from the places where the experiences of pain and other qualia supposedly occur. For the information system to be informed that pain has been experienced, there needs to be an input to signal that, but the input signal cannot transmit actual knowledge of pain to the information system, so the information system has to map an assertion that there was pain to the input, an assertion which it cannot back up because it is nothing more than a mapping. The information system has no means to know anything about the pain - all it can know is that there is an input from something which relates to a warning of potential damage being done.
I explained that the brainstem nuclei generate the felt body states, the foundational feelings of pain or pleasure, etc., by mapping the afferent sensory flow from internal and external body senses. From these nuclei, the emotional and hormonal responses are mediated, via signals to the insular cortex and thalamic nuclei. The insular cortex refines and differentiates those basal feelings, relating them to contextual activity elsewhere in the brain. It also feeds forwards to higher cortical areas. This is all described in more detail in Damasio's 'Self Comes To Mind' (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Comes-Mind-Constructing-Conscious/dp/0099498022/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378378387&sr=1-1&keywords=self+comes+to+mind) (chapter 3 onwards).

You can describe all that in as much detail as you like, but it never gets to the point where feelings interface with the information system of the brain. The processor of a computer could be feeling all manner of sensations as it crunches through the code of an AGI system which matches the intelligence of a human (such programs will soon exist - my work is to build one), but there is no way for those feelings to be read by the program running in the machine. There is no "read qualia" machine code instruction, and even if there was one, it would be impossible to test the truth of any information supplied through it because they would be nothing more than assertions that there are feelings being experienced.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 05/09/2013 18:43:58
Come on : if that was the case : how ,on earth , was it possible then that the early muslims "invented " and practiced science ,mainly thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology on the subject .?


"Thanks to" or "despite"?

The essence of science is that there is no supernatural or revealed authority: the very opposite of all religions.

I thought you could read well .Did you understand what i said here above at least ? That was so simple though .
You are asking me about an issue which was largely debatted in that other thread " What's the real origin of the scientific method ?" you even happened to participate in , ironically enough .
So, be serious and stop this uninformed non-sense of yours ,please , if you wanna be taken seriously at least
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 05/09/2013 19:09:28
Besides, and regardless of what the soul might be , i think that the soul "resides " in our whole beings , in every cell , atom or organ of ours , not just in the brain : the soul is "located " within and without in fact (Extended sense of reality or the extended consciousness via the "reading" of peoples ' minds,via some sort of telepathy ...)   ,and has no specific "location " ,due to its immaterial nature which escapes space -time= that's no contradiction in fact  .

That's lovely, but it still has to interact with the information system of the brain which does all the thinking mechanically. When you damage the structure of the brain, you can see the thinking go wrong. When you look at a species with inferior wiring, you see a reduction in thinking ability. If the "soul" is to think, it is tied to a mechanical system which does all the work for it and without which the soul can do nothing. This mechanical thinking system, the information system, constructs information about the soul and the feelings that are experienced by it, so it needs to be able to get that knowledge from the soul somehow. All matter and energy may be conscious, as may a fabric of space or something outside of space entirely, but you still have to propose a means by which this consciousness can interface with the information system of the brain which asserts that consciousness is real. How can the mechanical information system ever know? The way to try to find out is to try to follow back the claims generated by the information system to see how they are formed and what they're based on; to see on what basis they are labelled as true.

(I am well aware of some  silly childish games you have been playing here = irrelevent though =Grow up )

A mechanical thinking system ? Come on,be serious  .Is the thought process mechanical ?If it is  mechanical, how would you explain human creativity, innovations, imagination,progress   ...?
You seem to confuse the correlations or interactions between the 2 different "systems " : brain and mind ,with causation : i think that mind (mind is not just semantics, not just a word we invented ) and brain are 2 totally different "things" which do work together as one = a combination of dualism and monism then .
The brain  does not cause the mind  ; they just correlate or interacte with each other : how ? Beat me : i dunno .
The mind is the one which is doing the most important work : thinking , feeling , experiencing , seeing ....= even seeing is not done by the brain, it's in fact done by the mind .
How can a  biological or mechanical system for that matter ever be able to think ,feel , experience or even see  things ....the developers of the so-called artificial intelligence have been having a hard time to make "sentient " machines that can at least "see " ...They will never be able to make those machines think, feel, experience or see things ...the way we do at least = machines can only simulate that .to some degree at least = they can never be conscious, ever .
I think that our biological neurological system is just a tool to report sensory "inputs " ( I do reject this materialistic mechanical reductionistic computer analogy )or  stimuli to our mind which acts upon that by sending ,somehow, feedbacks to the biological system to make it take action ...I dunno .

Don't you realise the fact that  your childish materialistic interpretations of scientific studies are just that = materialistic  childish  interpretations ?

When i was a child , i also used to 'think " that verything was  made of matter (not to mention that quantum physics have proven the fact that "matter is not really made of solid matter :) , i am way beyond that childish stage you are still stuck in .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 05/09/2013 21:51:41
But we don't even know that we have consciousness ourselves. Our brains generate data that claim we have it, and then we believe those claims. But the claims are generated by an information system which is not competent to make such a judgement.
I think here we have the point where we differ, and it looks purely semantic. I'm simply saying that the sensation we have, that feeling, of awareness and self, is what we call consciousness. Whatever it's provenance, whether based on valid or invalid data (and I don't think it is at all what it subjectively feels like, so I agree it doesn't exist as what it feels like), whether you call it an illusion or a fabrication, that feeling or sensation is consciousness. Like many human concepts, it has an emergent quality itself, a kind of uncertainty principle, so that the closer you look at it, the more you try to define it, the vaguer it gets - because it's just a feeling associated with a set of brain states.

I've encountered much the same problem with free will. At a macro scale, events are pretty much causal and deterministic (although often unpredictable), so a dualistic definition or explanation is untenable. To me, free will is the feeling that we have a choice, that we could have done something different. It's a real sensation, but it's not what it seems to be (what you do is causal, you can't 'go back' and do it differently; that unique set of circumstances can only happen once). But we are each unique in our genetics, development, and experiences, so, if unconstrained and uncoerced, our actions, though deterministic, are uniquely the product of our individuality - it seems to me that's as 'free' as it gets, and 'will' is just a subjective sense of personal agency. The common usage is just a social convenience, to cover our ignorance of the detailed causality of our actions and provide a hook for the similarly vague concept of moral responsibility. But I guess that's a whole other story, off topic.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 05/09/2013 23:07:01

You are asking me about an issue which was largely debatted in that other thread " What's the real origin of the scientific method ?" you even happened to participate in , ironically enough .
So, be serious and stop this uninformed non-sense of yours ,please , if you wanna be taken seriously at least

For as long as you argue by assertion, refer to supernatural authority, or refuse to define the subject you want to discuss, that won't happen. At least not in a science forum.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 06/09/2013 19:05:00
(I am well aware of some  silly childish games you have been playing here = irrelevent though =Grow up )

What games? Where is any of it irrelevant? What has growing up got to do with the price of fish?

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A mechanical thinking system ? Come on,be serious  .Is the thought process mechanical ?If it is  mechanical, how would you explain human creativity, innovations, imagination,progress   ...?

Have you heard of the invention of the computer? Have you seen what a calculator can do for arithmetic and mathematics? The damn thing can outthink us in many calculations. What do you suppose happens when you take the same idea of mechanical computation and extend it into linguistics and general thought? We will have machines some day that can outthink us in any discussion on any subject, and all the thinking they do will be cause-and-effect mechanical. The alternative to a mechanical thinking machine would be a magical one. You clearly believe that the brain is a magical computer which therefore doesn't depend on mechanisms, but whenever the brain makes mistakes it displays the mechanical nature of the functionality within.

Creativity and innovations - problem solving. A machine needs to identify a problem and then calculate potential solutions. It took half a billion years for our brains to evolve to the point where they could do innovative and creative things, but we will program machines to match our abilities within a mere hundred years of the building of the first computers. Some creativity is guided by feelings, so when it comes to the arts it will be hard for machines to create things that satisfy us until we can find out what the algorithms of human aesthetics are. Some of these are known - we know that the golden ratio makes things better looking, so machines can already create arrangements of things that look more pleasing than random arrangements on that basis.

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You seem to confuse the correlations or interactions between the 2 different "systems " : brain and mind ,with causation : i think that mind (mind is not just semantics, not just a word we invented ) and brain are 2 totally different "things" which do work together as one = a combination of dualism and monism then .
The brain  does not cause the mind  ; they just correlate or interacte with each other : how ? Beat me : i dunno .

Here you are trying to tell me about the workings of a system which you don't understand. I at least come to this with an understanding of the mechanisms of computation, but all you have to offer is "dont know"/magic. Who is the one playing a childish game here?

Quote
The mind is the one which is doing the most important work : thinking , feeling , experiencing , seeing ....= even seeing is not done by the brain, it's in fact done by the mind .

Is that a fact! Wow - you're good!

Quote
How can a  biological or mechanical system for that matter ever be able to think ,feel , experience or even see  things ....the developers of the so-called artificial intelligence have been having a hard time to make "sentient " machines that can at least "see " ...They will never be able to make those machines think, feel, experience or see things ...the way we do at least = machines can only simulate that .to some degree at least = they can never be conscious, ever .

I am one of the developers of artificial intelligence and my aim is not to make machines sentient. It appears to be impossible to make machines sentient, and it also appears to be impossible for us to be sentient because we are machines. It will be possible to make machines think though, and they already do. Thinking is just mechanical calculation. Machines can see too, and cameras are able to take photographs automatically whenever the subject smiles. That is machine vision.

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I think that our biological neurological system is just a tool to report sensory "inputs " ( I do reject this materialistic mechanical reductionistic computer analogy )or  stimuli to our mind which acts upon that by sending ,somehow, feedbacks to the biological system to make it take action ...I dunno .

You can reject it all you like, but you're not qualified to make such a judgement (and when I say qualified, I'm not talking about certificates, but knowledge of the subject). You aren't interested in doing the work to learn about how computation works because you already have an answer that satisfies you, and that is belief in magic.

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Don't you realise the fact that  your childish materialistic interpretations of scientific studies are just that = materialistic  childish  interpretations ?

Belief in magic is childish. Science is about the elimination of magic in order to understand how things really work.

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When i was a child , i also used to 'think " that verything was  made of matter (not to mention that quantum physics have proven the fact that "matter is not really made of solid matter :) , i am way beyond that childish stage you are still stuck in .

That is hilarious. I'm going to print that out and put it up on the wall.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 06/09/2013 19:07:32
Strong Refutation of materialism in science ,materialism as a dogmatic conservative belief or "religion" , especially concerning that materialistic dogmatic magical approach of consciousness , the latter as a so-called emergent property from the complexity of the evolved brain : Enjoy,folks :

Just try to read the following strong refutation of materialism in science which gets confused with science by many people  ,  especially concerning the materialistic dogmatic magical approach of consciousness, the latter  as a so-called emergent property from the complexity of the evolved brain  ....written by a physicist :

http://www.superconsciousness.com/topics/science/why-consciousness-not-brain
   
Why Consciousness is Not the Brain
 FALL 2010


 
The Science of Premonitions
Author: Larry Dossey

Excerpted from The Science of Premonition: How Knowing the Future Can Help Us Avoid Danger, Maximize Opportunities and Create a Better Life by Larry Dossey. Copyright 2009 by Larry Dossey. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Physicist Freeman Dyson believes the cosmos is suffused with consciousness, from the grandest level to the most minute dimensions. If it is, why aren’t we aware of it?
For more articles about "Science", Click Here

“We don’t know who first discovered water, but we can be sure that it wasn’t a fish,” the old saw reminds us. Continual exposure to something reduces our awareness of its presence. Over time, we become blind to the obvious. We swim in a sea of consciousness, like a fish swims in water. And like a fish that has become oblivious to his aqueous environment, we have become dulled to the ubiquity of consciousness.

Why Consciousness is Not the Brain - The Science of Premonitions - Larry Dossey

In science, we have largely ignored how consciousness manifests in our existence. We’ve done this by assuming that the brain produces consciousness, although how it might do so has never been explained and can hardly be imagined. The polite term for this trick is “emergence.” At a certain stage of biological complexity, evolutionary biologists claim, consciousness pops out of the brain like a rabbit from a magician’s hat. Yet this claim rests on no direct evidence whatsoever. As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry A. Fodo flatly states, “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. So much for our philosophy of consciousness.”

In spite of the complete absence of evidence, the belief that the brain produces consciousness endures and has ossified into dogma. Many scientists realize the limitations of this belief. One way of getting around the lack of evidence is simply to declare that what we call consciousness is the brain itself. That way, nothing is produced, and the magic of “emergence” is avoided. As astronomer Carl Sagan expressed his position, “My fundamental premise about the brain is that its workings – what we sometimes call mind – are a consequence of anatomy and physiology, and nothing more.” Nobelist Francis Crick agreed, saying “[A] person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make up and influence them.”

This “identity theory” – mind equals brain – has led legions of scientists and philosophers to regard consciousness as an unnecessary, superfluous concept. Some go out of their way to deny the existence of consciousness altogether, almost as if they bear a grudge against it. Tufts University cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett says, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.” Dennett includes himself in this extraordinary claim, and he seems proud of it.

Consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body, and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain.

Others suggest that there are no mental states at all, such as love, courage, or patriotism, but only electrochemical brain fluxes that should not be described with such inflated language. They dismiss thoughts and beliefs for the same reasons. This led Nobel neurophysiologist Sir John Eccles to remark that “professional philosophers and psychologists think up the notion that there are no thoughts, come to believe that there are no beliefs, and feel strongly that there are no feelings.” Eccles was emphasizing the absurdities that have crept into the debates about consciousness. They are not hard to spot. Some of the oddest experiences I recall are attending conferences where one speaker after another employs his consciousness to denounce the existence of consciousness, ignoring the fact that he consciously chose to register for the meeting, make travel plans, prepare his talks, and so on.

Many scientists concede that there are huge gaps in their knowledge of how the brain makes consciousness, but they are certain they will be filled in as science progresses. Eccles and philosopher of science Karl Popper branded this attitude “promissory materialism.” “[P]romissary materialism [is] a superstition without a rational foundation,” Eccles says. “[It] is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists . . .who confuse their religion with their science. It has all the features of a messianic prophecy.”

The arguments about the origins and nature of consciousness are central to premonitions. For if the promissory materialists are correct – if consciousness is indeed identical with the brain – the curtain closes on premonitions. The reason is that the brain is a local phenomenon – i.e., it is localized to the brain and body, and to the present. This prohibits premonitions in principle, because accordingly the brain cannot operate outside the body and the here-and-now. But consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body, and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain.

In science, we have largely ignored how consciousness manifests in our existence. We’ve done this by assuming that the brain produces consciousness, although how it might do so has never been explained and can hardly be imagined.

These assertions are not hyperbolic, but conservative. They are consistent with the entire span of human history, throughout which all cultures of which we have record believed that human perception extends beyond the reach of the senses. This belief might be dismissed as superstition but for the fact that modern research has established its validity beyond reasonable doubt to anyone whose reasoning has not clotted into hardened skepticism. To reiterate a single example – the evidence supporting foreknowledge – psi researchers Charles Honorton and Diane Ferrari examined 309 precognition experiments carried out by sixty-two investigators involving 50,000 participants in more than two million trials. Thirty percent of these studies were significant in showing that people can describe future events, when only five percent would be expected to demonstrate such results by chance. The odds that these results were not due to chance was greater than 10 to the twentieth power to one.

One of the first modern thinkers to endorse an outside-the-brain view of consciousness was William James, who is considered the father of American psychology. In his 1898 Ingersoll Lecture at Harvard University, James took a courageous stand against what he called “the fangs of cerebralism and the idea that consciousness is produced by the brain. He acknowledged that arrested brain development in childhood can lead to mental retardation, that strokes or blows to the head can abolish memory or consciousness, and that certain chemicals can change the quality of thought. But to consider this as proof that the brain actually makes consciousness, James said, is irrational.

Why Consciousness is Not the Brain - The Science of Premonitions - Larry Dossey

Why irrational? Consider a radio, an invention that was introduced during James’s lifetime, and which he used to illustrate the mind-brain relationship. If one bangs a radio with a hammer, it ceases to function. But that does not mean that the origin of the sounds was the radio itself; the sound originated from outside it in the form of an electromagnetic signal. The radio received, modified, and amplified the external signal into something recognizable as sound. Just so, the brain can be damaged in various ways that distort the quality of consciousness – trauma, stroke, nutritional deficiencies, dementia, etc. But this does not necessarily mean the brain “made” the consciousness that is now disturbed, or that consciousness is identical to the brain.

British philosopher Chris Carter endorses this analogy. Equating mind and brain is irrational, he says as listening to music on a radio, smashing the radio’s receiver, and thereby concluding that the radio was producing the music.

To update the analogy, consider a television set. We can damage a television set so severely that we lose the image on the screen, but this doesn’t prove that the TV actually produced the image. We know that David Letterman does not live behind the TV screen on which he appears; yet the contention that brain equals consciousness is as absurd as if he did.

My conclusion is that consciousness is not a thing or substance, but is a nonlocal phenomenon. Nonlocal is merely a fancy word for infinite. If something is nonlocal, it is not localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to specific points in time, such as the present.

The radio and TV analogies can be misleading, however, because consciousness does not behave like an electromagnetic signal. Electromagnetic (EM) signals display certain characteristics. The farther away they get from their source, the weaker they become. Not so with consciousness; its effects do not attenuate with increasing distance. For example, in the hundreds of healing experiments that have been done in both humans and animals, healing intentions work equally well from the other side of the earth as at the bedside of the sick individual. Moreover, EM signals can be blocked partially or completely, but the effects of conscious intention cannot be blocked by any known substance. For instance, sea water is known to block EM signals completely at certain depths, yet experiments in remote viewing have been successfully carried out beyond such depths, demonstrating that the long-distance communication between the involved individuals cannot depend on EM-type signals. In addition, EM signals require travel time from their source to a receiver, yet thoughts can be perceived simultaneously between individuals across global distances. Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future. In precognitive remoteviewing experiments – for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University – the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent. Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions. Electromagnetic signals are not capable of these feats. From these differences, we can conclude that consciousness is not an electric signal.

Then what is it? My conclusion is that consciousness is not a thing or substance, but is a nonlocal phenomenon. Nonlocal is merely a fancy word for infinite. If something is nonlocal, it is not localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to specific points in time, such as the present. Nonlocal events are immediate; they require no travel time. They are unmediated; they require no energetic signal to “carry” them. They are unmitigated; they do not become weaker with increasing distance. Nonlocal phenomena are omnipresent, everywhere at once. This means there is no necessity for them to go anywhere; they are already there. They are infinite in time as well, present at all moments, past present and future, meaning they are eternal.

Researcher Dean Radin, whose presentiment experiments provide profound evidence for future knowing, believes that the nonlocal events in the subatomic, quantum domain underlie the nonlocal events we experience at the human level. He invokes the concept of entanglement as a bridging hypothesis uniting the small- and large-scale happenings. Quantum entanglement and quantum nonlocality are indeed potent possibilities that may eventually explain our nonlocal experiences, but only further research will tell. Meanwhile, there is a gathering tide of opinion favoring these approaches. As physicist Chris Clarke, of the University of Southampton, says, “On one hand, Mind is inherently non-local. On the other, the world is governed by a quantum physics that is inherently non-local. This is no accident, but a precise correspondence ...[Mind and the world are] aspects of the same thing...The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe...We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture...Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.”

When scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind.

Whatever their explanation proves to be, the experiments documenting premonitions are real. They must be reckoned with. And when scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind. This view will affirm that consciousness is fundamental, omnipresent and eternal – a model that is as cordial to premonitions as the materialistic, brain-based view is hostile.


 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 06/09/2013 19:18:46
(I am well aware of some  silly childish games you have been playing here = irrelevent though =Grow up )

What games? Where is any of it irrelevant? What has growing up got to do with the price of fish?

Quote
A mechanical thinking system ? Come on,be serious  .Is the thought process mechanical ?If it is  mechanical, how would you explain human creativity, innovations, imagination,progress   ...?

Have you heard of the invention of the computer? Have you seen what a calculator can do for arithmetic and mathematics? The damn thing can outthink us in many calculations. What do you suppose happens when you take the same idea of mechanical computation and extend it into linguistics and general thought? We will have machines some day that can outthink us in any discussion on any subject, and all the thinking they do will be cause-and-effect mechanical. The alternative to a mechanical thinking machine would be a magical one. You clearly believe that the brain is a magical computer which therefore doesn't depend on mechanisms, but whenever the brain makes mistakes it displays the mechanical nature of the functionality within.

Creativity and innovations - problem solving. A machine needs to identify a problem and then calculate potential solutions. It took half a billion years for our brains to evolve to the point where they could do innovative and creative things, but we will program machines to match our abilities within a mere hundred years of the building of the first computers. Some creativity is guided by feelings, so when it comes to the arts it will be hard for machines to create things that satisfy us until we can find out what the algorithms of human aesthetics are. Some of these are known - we know that the golden ratio makes things better looking, so machines can already create arrangements of things that look more pleasing than random arrangements on that basis.

Quote
You seem to confuse the correlations or interactions between the 2 different "systems " : brain and mind ,with causation : i think that mind (mind is not just semantics, not just a word we invented ) and brain are 2 totally different "things" which do work together as one = a combination of dualism and monism then .
The brain  does not cause the mind  ; they just correlate or interacte with each other : how ? Beat me : i dunno .

Here you are trying to tell me about the workings of a system which you don't understand. I at least come to this with an understanding of the mechanisms of computation, but all you have to offer is "dont know"/magic. Who is the one playing a childish game here?

Quote
The mind is the one which is doing the most important work : thinking , feeling , experiencing , seeing ....= even seeing is not done by the brain, it's in fact done by the mind .

Is that a fact! Wow - you're good!

Quote
How can a  biological or mechanical system for that matter ever be able to think ,feel , experience or even see  things ....the developers of the so-called artificial intelligence have been having a hard time to make "sentient " machines that can at least "see " ...They will never be able to make those machines think, feel, experience or see things ...the way we do at least = machines can only simulate that .to some degree at least = they can never be conscious, ever .

I am one of the developers of artificial intelligence and my aim is not to make machines sentient. It appears to be impossible to make machines sentient, and it also appears to be impossible for us to be sentient because we are machines. It will be possible to make machines think though, and they already do. Thinking is just mechanical calculation. Machines can see too, and cameras are able to take photographs automatically whenever the subject smiles. That is machine vision.

Quote
I think that our biological neurological system is just a tool to report sensory "inputs " ( I do reject this materialistic mechanical reductionistic computer analogy )or  stimuli to our mind which acts upon that by sending ,somehow, feedbacks to the biological system to make it take action ...I dunno .

You can reject it all you like, but you're not qualified to make such a judgement (and when I say qualified, I'm not talking about certificates, but knowledge of the subject). You aren't interested in doing the work to learn about how computation works because you already have an answer that satisfies you, and that is belief in magic.

Quote
Don't you realise the fact that  your childish materialistic interpretations of scientific studies are just that = materialistic  childish  interpretations ?

Belief in magic is childish. Science is about the elimination of magic in order to understand how things really work.

Quote
When i was a child , i also used to 'think " that verything was  made of matter (not to mention that quantum physics have proven the fact that "matter is not really made of solid matter :) , i am way beyond that childish stage you are still stuck in .

That is hilarious. I'm going to print that out and put it up on the wall.


Haha : you do seem to have a sense of humor though, after all  : good , because i thought you would react angrily at my latest words here above : i am delighted by the fact that i failed to predict your behavior : nice .
Ok, Mr. Einstein :

Just try to refute the above refutation of materialism in science , especially concerning that magical dogmatic materialistic approach of consciousness, here above , written by a physicist :

I would love to see you trying to refute that refutation : impress me .Make my day .
Thanks , appreciate .

P.S.: As i said earlier ,in another thread  , to dlorde : you , mr . David Cooper, is the true materialist here ,together with Dawkins and co club  ,dlorde and many other less true materialists do have a certain materialistic  vision ,combined  with  a sort of romantic magical materialism as well .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 06/09/2013 19:34:21
I think here we have the point where we differ, and it looks purely semantic. I'm simply saying that the sensation we have, that feeling, of awareness and self, is what we call consciousness.

If there really are feelings, that would indeed be consciousness. Mechanical awareness (as in a security light with a sensor which detects when it's dark and switches it on) is different from conscious awareness where there is a feeling of existing; a feeling of being aware. Consciousness is all about feelings.

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Whatever it's provenance, whether based on valid or invalid data (and I don't think it is at all what it subjectively feels like, so I agree it doesn't exist as what it feels like), whether you call it an illusion or a fabrication, that feeling or sensation is consciousness.

Well, no. If it's an illusion and the feelings aren't real, then there is no consciousness. A novel asserts the existence of characters who live out adventures and experience feelings, but all of it is fiction - there were no feelings. A machine (whether silicon or biological) which generated fictions of feelings is not creating feeling - there is no consciousness, but merely a machine generating accounts of consciousness that aren't true.

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Like many human concepts, it has an emergent quality itself, a kind of uncertainty principle, so that the closer you look at it, the more you try to define it, the vaguer it gets - because it's just a feeling associated with a set of brain states.

If the feelings are to be real, they have to be experienced by something, and that isn't something that can emerge out of complexity. If we can't point to something of substance (which isn't to restrict it to matter or energy, both of which may just be twists of a fabric of space) and say that it experiences the feelings, we're left with nothing experiencing the feelings, and if nothing experiences them, they can't be felt and can't be feelings.

On the free will point, there isn't such a thing, but there could indeed be a feeling of there being such a thing. That can be stuck in the pot with all the other qualia, but the big question is how to get an information system to access qualia and know anything of them. If it can't, any information it has about them is made up, unless there is some kind of intelligent sentience system which is capable of doing all the work of an information system and can directly manipulate the data in the information system to ensure that the claims about sentience contained in it are true, but an intelligent sentience system would then need to be an information system itself and would need to speak the same language as the other information system in order to know how to manipulate its data, so it doesn't take us any further on: the interface problem is merely transferred into the intelligent sentience system where the sentience side of things has to be converted into data by the information system side of things. There will always be a division between these two things because sentience and data belong to different systems - data requires representation and calculation apparatus, while sentience requires direct feeling without any representation. To translate direct experience of feelings into data about feelings appears to be impossible because the translation has to be done by the information system and the information system can't access the sensations.

That is the sticking point with consciousness. If there is a solution to this that makes consciousness as possible as it feels to us, it's going to take a radical change in approach to the way we look at computation, but so far the only alternative approach that has been suggested by anyone is the childish one of magic, though of course it may be that science is indeed just a pile of pants and that magic really is king.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 06/09/2013 21:28:08
Well, no. If it's an illusion and the feelings aren't real, then there is no consciousness. A novel asserts the existence of characters who live out adventures and experience feelings, but all of it is fiction - there were no feelings. A machine (whether silicon or biological) which generated fictions of feelings is not creating feeling - there is no consciousness, but merely a machine generating accounts of consciousness that aren't true.
So what is your position on feelings and consciousness?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 06/09/2013 21:35:37
I think here we have the point where we differ, and it looks purely semantic. I'm simply saying that the sensation we have, that feeling, of awareness and self, is what we call consciousness.

If there really are feelings, that would indeed be consciousness. Mechanical awareness (as in a security light with a sensor which detects when it's dark and switches it on) is different from conscious awareness where there is a feeling of existing; a feeling of being aware. Consciousness is all about feelings.

Quote
Whatever it's provenance, whether based on valid or invalid data (and I don't think it is at all what it subjectively feels like, so I agree it doesn't exist as what it feels like), whether you call it an illusion or a fabrication, that feeling or sensation is consciousness.

Well, no. If it's an illusion and the feelings aren't real, then there is no consciousness. A novel asserts the existence of characters who live out adventures and experience feelings, but all of it is fiction - there were no feelings. A machine (whether silicon or biological) which generated fictions of feelings is not creating feeling - there is no consciousness, but merely a machine generating accounts of consciousness that aren't true.

Quote
Like many human concepts, it has an emergent quality itself, a kind of uncertainty principle, so that the closer you look at it, the more you try to define it, the vaguer it gets - because it's just a feeling associated with a set of brain states.

If the feelings are to be real, they have to be experienced by something, and that isn't something that can emerge out of complexity. If we can't point to something of substance (which isn't to restrict it to matter or energy, both of which may just be twists of a fabric of space) and say that it experiences the feelings, we're left with nothing experiencing the feelings, and if nothing experiences them, they can't be felt and can't be feelings.

On the free will point, there isn't such a thing, but there could indeed be a feeling of there being such a thing. That can be stuck in the pot with all the other qualia, but the big question is how to get an information system to access qualia and know anything of them. If it can't, any information it has about them is made up, unless there is some kind of intelligent sentience system which is capable of doing all the work of an information system and can directly manipulate the data in the information system to ensure that the claims about sentience contained in it are true, but an intelligent sentience system would then need to be an information system itself and would need to speak the same language as the other information system in order to know how to manipulate its data, so it doesn't take us any further on: the interface problem is merely transferred into the intelligent sentience system where the sentience side of things has to be converted into data by the information system side of things. There will always be a division between these two things because sentience and data belong to different systems - data requires representation and calculation apparatus, while sentience requires direct feeling without any representation. To translate direct experience of feelings into data about feelings appears to be impossible because the translation has to be done by the information system and the information system can't access the sensations.

That is the sticking point with consciousness. If there is a solution to this that makes consciousness as possible as it feels to us, it's going to take a radical change in approach to the way we look at computation, but so far the only alternative approach that has been suggested by anyone is the childish one of magic, though of course it may be that science is indeed just a pile of pants and that magic really is king.

Right : you know : i read your replies with great interest , i mean it , simply because you are the only true materialist here , in the right materialistic sense at least .
A true materialist in the above mentioned sense without that other magical romantic thinking of some so-called materialists such as our   dlorde   here  .

If you happen to be right about the "fact " that we are just machines which seem to need those sophisticated evolutionary so-called built-in in our systems illusions such as consciousness, feelings , emotions ....in order to survive, then you or others for that matter can be able some day to create  conscious  artificial intelligent machines exactly like us ,and maybe even some conscious intelligent machines that would even surpass us = the next level of evolution as some scientists like to call it .

But i , to be honest , no offense , do not only doubt such a "possibility probability " , but i do also think it is a childish one, sorry .
But then again, who knows .
Take care
All the best
Kind regards


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 06/09/2013 21:42:53
Just try to refute the above refutation of materialism in science , especially concerning that magical dogmatic materialistic approach of consciousness, here above , written by a physicist :

I would love to see you trying to refute that refutation : impress me .Make my day .

I have nothing to offer that can impress you as I don't have a solution to the problem of consciousness. I agree with his main objection, but he offers no solution other than to move the problem elsewhere and pretend that that fixes it.

Quote
But consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body, and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain.

I don't see the evidence of it operating beyond the brain, but at the same time I see no reason why it shouldn't. This universe could be virtual and our consciousness could lie outside it, but this doesn't address the fundamental problem - it merely moves it elsewhere (the calculations will still need to be done somewhere, and for the claims about feelings to be true they will need to be generated by a calculating information system which has some way of accessing the experiencing of sensations - how it does that is something that still needs to be explained). Cutting up brains and looking for mechanisms in them may never reveal anything because the real mechanisms could be hidden and the apparent mechanisms of the brain may not be used when the brain is actually "running".

Quote
To reiterate a single example – the evidence supporting foreknowledge – psi researchers Charles Honorton and Diane Ferrari examined 309 precognition experiments carried out by sixty-two investigators involving 50,000 participants in more than two million trials. Thirty percent of these studies were significant in showing that people can describe future events, when only five percent would be expected to demonstrate such results by chance. The odds that these results were not due to chance was greater than 10 to the twentieth power to one.

I very much doubt that that is serious research, though I'm basing my initial judgement on the fact that I haven't heard of it before. It ought to be big news if it's true, so is it being suppressed or is it just being ignored because it's a pile of pants? Where can I read more about it? Has it been published in a serious science journal?

Quote
As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry A. Fodo flatly states, “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. So much for our philosophy of consciousness.”

That doesn't really matter. It could easily be the case that everything is conscious and experiences qualia all the time. The real problem is how anything can then express the thought that it is conscious and not merely get stuck at the point of feeling conscious.

Quote
This “identity theory” – mind equals brain – has led legions of scientists and philosophers to regard consciousness as an unnecessary, superfluous concept. Some go out of their way to deny the existence of consciousness altogether, almost as if they bear a grudge against it. Tufts University cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett says, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.” Dennett includes himself in this extraordinary claim, and he seems proud of it.

It is a superfluous concept in some ways, but we are set up in such a way as to believe the claims our brains generate about feelings and we can even imagine that we feel them directly. If the feelings aren't real, then we are deluded zombies, but we're pretty determined not to believe that's the case, as any well-deluded zombie should be. This nihilism would be a good solution to the whole problem if it wasn't for the fact that the illusion feels too damned good. How can the "I" in the machine be fooled into thinking it exists and into feeling sensations if there is no "I" in the machine to fool? If it was easy to dismiss the whole idea of the "I", we would just junk it and accept that we don't exist; that there are merely machines in existence which generate superfluous fictions about "I"s and the imaginary feelings they supposedly experience.

I certainly don't wake up every day to think, "Oh yes - I don't exist and all these feelings are fake." They feel too real. But if they are to be real, there has to be an explanation as to how they work, and maybe the only possible explanation for them is magic. Most of the things that used to be regarded as magic have been shown not to be magic at all, but as mechanistic. We're assuming that this will go on being the case with everything that has yet to be understood, though that may be a mistake. Then again, it also seems reasonable to suppose that even magic ought to run on some kind of mechanism, so it feels like a very poor explanation of anything just to stop at the point where you declare it to be magic and give up on looking for a mechanism.

Quote
Some of the oddest experiences I recall are attending conferences where one speaker after another employs his consciousness to denounce the existence of consciousness, ignoring the fact that he consciously chose to register for the meeting, make travel plans, prepare his talks, and so on.

That just shows poor judgement on the part of this physicist, because they wouldn't be employing their consciousness to denounce anything - they'd simply be mechanically denouncing it using machinery which generates fictions about feelings as it grinds through all the necessary computations.

Quote
Many scientists concede that there are huge gaps in their knowledge of how the brain makes consciousness, but they are certain they will be filled in as science progresses. Eccles and philosopher of science Karl Popper branded this attitude “promissory materialism.” “[P]romissary materialism [is] a superstition without a rational foundation,” Eccles says. “[It] is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists . . .who confuse their religion with their science. It has all the features of a messianic prophecy.”

I can see no way in which it can be filled in, but I still leave the door open to a way being found - it may be that there's another possible way of looking at computation waiting to be discovered which will open the door to some kind of sentience-based processing taking place in some weird quantum soup outside of the universe, though having looked into things quantum I can't find anything there that goes against normal reason (most of the odd things are really just badly described), and reason continues to appear to bar the way to dealing with the key difficulty of turning direct experience of feelings into data about feelings.

Quote
Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future. In precognitive remoteviewing experiments – for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University – the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent.

Sounds like more fake science.

Quote
Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions.

And some more. Where can I read more about these experiments?

Quote
The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe...We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture...Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.”

You can make it as quantum as you like, but you still need to account for the translation of experience of sensation to data about sensation. I keep coming back to that because it is THE problem with consciousness. "That hurt" is data. When we think about whether something hurt, we are processing data. When something actually hurts (if such a thing is even possible), it isn't happening in data - something is directly experiencing pain. To communicate the idea that pain was felt, even just to think about the idea that pain was felt, we have to move from experience of sensation to processing of information, and that's where we hit the crucial disconnect.

Quote
When scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind.

It will be a nonlocal picture in which the fundamental problem is not addressed either. The physicist is not proposing a solution to the problem, but a way of fiddling around moving it somewhere else rather than addressing the central problem.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 06/09/2013 21:43:50
Well, no. If it's an illusion and the feelings aren't real, then there is no consciousness. A novel asserts the existence of characters who live out adventures and experience feelings, but all of it is fiction - there were no feelings. A machine (whether silicon or biological) which generated fictions of feelings is not creating feeling - there is no consciousness, but merely a machine generating accounts of consciousness that aren't true.
So what is your position on feelings and consciousness?

He explained that : evolutionary sophisticated built-in in our mechanical systems useful pragmatic illusions we take for real = that's the right materialistic approach interpretation explanation at the same time , in the right materialistic sense ,without magical romantic thinking then ,if i am not mistaken at least , but i think i am not .
You should try to join his club , if you wanna be consistent with yourself ,as a so-called materialist , at least .
Good luck indeed
Kind regards
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 06/09/2013 21:49:10
Well, no. If it's an illusion and the feelings aren't real, then there is no consciousness. A novel asserts the existence of characters who live out adventures and experience feelings, but all of it is fiction - there were no feelings. A machine (whether silicon or biological) which generated fictions of feelings is not creating feeling - there is no consciousness, but merely a machine generating accounts of consciousness that aren't true.
So what is your position on feelings and consciousness?

I'm in two positions. In one of them I see consciousness as impossible. In the other, I refuse to see it as impossible and hope someone will come up with a completely new way of looking at the problem with some approach in which data and sentience can be mixed together in the same system and can speak the same language. I can't see any way of doing it, but that isn't the same thing as saying it's impossible. I keep hoping that a clue will jump out of some conversation which will lead to a breakthrough, and that clue is maybe as likely to come from a fruitcake as a scientist. If there's a solution, it will be found by someone who's looking in from an angle that normal people don't explore.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 06/09/2013 21:53:04
Just try to refute the above refutation of materialism in science , especially concerning that magical dogmatic materialistic approach of consciousness, here above , written by a physicist :

I would love to see you trying to refute that refutation : impress me .Make my day .

I have nothing to offer that can impress you as I don't have a solution to the problem of consciousness. I agree with his main objection, but he offers no solution other than to move the problem elsewhere and pretend that that fixes it.

Quote
But consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body, and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain.

I don't see the evidence of it operating beyond the brain, but at the same time I see no reason why it shouldn't. This universe could be virtual and our consciousness could lie outside it, but this doesn't address the fundamental problem - it merely moves it elsewhere (the calculations will still need to be done somewhere, and for the claims about feelings to be true they will need to be generated by a calculating information system which has some way of accessing the experiencing of sensations - how it does that is something that still needs to be explained). Cutting up brains and looking for mechanisms in them may never reveal anything because the real mechanisms could be hidden and the apparent mechanisms of the brain may not be used when the brain is actually "running".

Quote
To reiterate a single example – the evidence supporting foreknowledge – psi researchers Charles Honorton and Diane Ferrari examined 309 precognition experiments carried out by sixty-two investigators involving 50,000 participants in more than two million trials. Thirty percent of these studies were significant in showing that people can describe future events, when only five percent would be expected to demonstrate such results by chance. The odds that these results were not due to chance was greater than 10 to the twentieth power to one.

I very much doubt that that is serious research, though I'm basing my initial judgement on the fact that I haven't heard of it before. It ought to be big news if it's true, so is it being suppressed or is it just being ignored because it's a pile of pants? Where can I read more about it? Has it been published in a serious science journal?

Quote
As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry A. Fodo flatly states, “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. So much for our philosophy of consciousness.”

That doesn't really matter. It could easily be the case that everything is conscious and experiences qualia all the time. The real problem is how anything can then express the thought that it is conscious and not merely get stuck at the point of feeling conscious.

Quote
This “identity theory” – mind equals brain – has led legions of scientists and philosophers to regard consciousness as an unnecessary, superfluous concept. Some go out of their way to deny the existence of consciousness altogether, almost as if they bear a grudge against it. Tufts University cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett says, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.” Dennett includes himself in this extraordinary claim, and he seems proud of it.

It is a superfluous concept in some ways, but we are set up in such a way as to believe the claims our brains generate about feelings and we can even imagine that we feel them directly. If the feelings aren't real, then we are deluded zombies, but we're pretty determined not to believe that's the case, as any well-deluded zombie should be. This nihilism would be a good solution to the whole problem if it wasn't for the fact that the illusion feels too damned good. How can the "I" in the machine be fooled into thinking it exists and into feeling sensations if there is no "I" in the machine to fool? If it was easy to dismiss the whole idea of the "I", we would just junk it and accept that we don't exist; that there are merely machines in existence which generate superfluous fictions about "I"s and the imaginary feelings they supposedly experience.

I certainly don't wake up every day to think, "Oh yes - I don't exist and all these feelings are fake." They feel too real. But if they are to be real, there has to be an explanation as to how they work, and maybe the only possible explanation for them is magic. Most of the things that used to be regarded as magic have been shown not to be magic at all, but as mechanistic. We're assuming that this will go on being the case with everything that has yet to be understood, though that may be a mistake. Then again, it also seems reasonable to suppose that even magic ought to run on some kind of mechanism, so it feels like a very poor explanation of anything just to stop at the point where you declare it to be magic and give up on looking for a mechanism.

Quote
Some of the oddest experiences I recall are attending conferences where one speaker after another employs his consciousness to denounce the existence of consciousness, ignoring the fact that he consciously chose to register for the meeting, make travel plans, prepare his talks, and so on.

That just shows poor judgement on the part of this physicist, because they wouldn't be employing their consciousness to denounce anything - they'd simply be mechanically denouncing it using machinery which generates fictions about feelings as it grinds through all the necessary computations.

Quote
Many scientists concede that there are huge gaps in their knowledge of how the brain makes consciousness, but they are certain they will be filled in as science progresses. Eccles and philosopher of science Karl Popper branded this attitude “promissory materialism.” “[P]romissary materialism [is] a superstition without a rational foundation,” Eccles says. “[It] is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists . . .who confuse their religion with their science. It has all the features of a messianic prophecy.”

I can see no way in which it can be filled in, but I still leave the door open to a way being found - it may be that there's another possible way of looking at computation waiting to be discovered which will open the door to some kind of sentience-based processing taking place in some weird quantum soup outside of the universe, though having looked into things quantum I can't find anything there that goes against normal reason (most of the odd things are really just badly described), and reason continues to appear to bar the way to dealing with the key difficulty of turning direct experience of feelings into data about feelings.

Quote
Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future. In precognitive remoteviewing experiments – for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University – the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent.

Sounds like more fake science.

Quote
Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions.

And some more. Where can I read more about these experiments?

Quote
The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe...We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture...Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.”

You can make it as quantum as you like, but you still need to account for the translation of experience of sensation to data about sensation. I keep coming back to that because it is THE problem with consciousness. "That hurt" is data. When we think about whether something hurt, we are processing data. When something actually hurts (if such a thing is even possible), it isn't happening in data - something is directly experiencing pain. To communicate the idea that pain was felt, even just to think about the idea that pain was felt, we have to move from experience of sensation to processing of information, and that's where we hit the crucial disconnect.

Quote
When scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind.

It will be a nonlocal picture in which the fundamental problem is not addressed either. The physicist is not proposing a solution to the problem, but a way of fiddling around moving it somewhere else rather than addressing the central problem.


Thank you for your reply i will read carefully  later on , later alligator ...kidding

You are an honest consistent  guy with yourself ,a guy with integrity ,without self-deceit ,without self-delusions , without magical thinking , or self-illusions : i do respect and salute that in you, as a person , i mean it  .


Take care

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 06/09/2013 21:54:14
If you happen to be right about the "fact " that we are just machines which seem to need those sophisticated evolutionary so-called built-in in our systems illusions such as consciousness, feelings , emotions ....in order to survive, then you or others for that matter can be able some day to create  conscious  artificial intelligent machines exactly like us ,and maybe even some conscious intelligent machines that would even surpass us = the next level of evolution as some scientists like to call it .

Not quite. We could make machines which copy us right down to the generation of fake claims of consciousness and the ability of the machines to get so stuck in their thinking that they believe non-existent feelings exist and that an "I" is in there feeling them, but they would not actually be conscious.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 06/09/2013 22:31:56
Thank you for your reply i will read carefully  later on , later alligator ...kidding

You are an honest consistent  guy with yourself ,a guy with integrity ,without self-deceit ,without self-delusions , without magical thinking , or self-illusions : i do respect and salute that in you, as a person , i mean it  .


Take care
Thanks for that, but the reality is that we're all stuck here. None of us want magic in our model, but we have yet to find a way to remove it without becoming nihilists, and nihilism feels highly unsatisfactory - you only have to pinch yourself to provide yourself with a serious objection to it. We feel as if we are substantially more than soulless machines making false assertions about feelings that don't exist. But we shouldn't be surprised that this problem won't break open for us because it has always been the biggest puzzle of them all and has blocked the way of anyone who has tried to tackle it. It is important though that we pin down and understand the fundamental problem before we waste time trying to solve it, and that is what I have attempted to do. When I look at the writings of other people on consciousness though, most of them appear to be completely bonkers, so the odds tell me that it's likely that I am completely bonkers too and am just too stupid to realise it. The most bonkers ones do all have something in common though, and that is that they make the mistake of thinking consciousness can emerge out of complexity without depending on an injection of magic, and that appears to be the mainstream "scientific" position on consciousness. These people need to ask themselves what they are causing to suffer when they torture a biological machine, because if it isn't the atoms or smaller particles, and if it isn't the energy locked up in the system, and if it isn't the fabric of space in from which these other things might be built, then what is it? Sentient geometrical arrangements or sentient pluralities just don't do it for me. Torturing a mere pattern and trying to make it suffer is pretty way out. Even so, it's not beyond possibility that there could be sentiences elsewhere linking in to biological machines and being sentient for them without it happening by magic, as would be the case if this world is virtual and the real us are sitting somewhere on the outside with all our inputs and outputs wired into it, so when you think of it like that it doesn't really matter so much that they're wanting consciousness to emerge out of complexity. Yes, that's a point I have always missed in the past, right up to the moment of writing this. They can make the link to something sentient in any way they like and it doesn't really matter. What matters is how that sentience is supposed to interface with an information system to inform the information system as to its existence (the existence of sentience). That is the key problem which needs to be tackled if any real progress is ever to be made towards understanding consciousness as a real phenomenon. If anyone can crack this single little problem and find a way to turn experience of sensation into knowledge of sensation, the whole thing will open up and we will be able to work out what we really are: we will be able to point to the soul (meaning the sentient "I" in the machine - no other baggage attached beyond being something that can feel).
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 06/09/2013 23:45:19
We could make machines which copy us right down to the generation of fake claims of consciousness and the ability of the machines to get so stuck in their thinking that they believe non-existent feelings exist and that an "I" is in there feeling them, but they would not actually be conscious.

So your definition of "conscious" is...?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 07/09/2013 12:54:03
Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future. In precognitive remoteviewing experiments – for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University – the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent.

Sounds like more fake science.
PEAR was, initially at least, a serious attempt to investigate a wide range of claimed paranormal phenomena, from remote viewing to mentally biasing mechanical and electronic randomisers, precognition, etc. They did thousands of experiments over many years, with annual reports & reviews, and, in general, reported a slight (but significant) excess of anomalous results. Their methodologies and analyses were often criticised, and attempts at replication were less successful. Mainstream consensus is that nothing of interest was demonstrated (http://www.skepdic.com/pear.html).

Quote
Quote
Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions.

And some more. Where can I read more about these experiments?
This may be a reference to Daryl Bem's experiments on 'Retroactive Facilitation of Recall'. His methodology and analyses were criticised, particularly when he modified and added new analyses after the data was obtained. Several attempted replications were unsuccessful (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0033423).

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 07/09/2013 13:05:32
So what is your position on feelings and consciousness?

I'm in two positions. In one of them I see consciousness as impossible. In the other, I refuse to see it as impossible and hope someone will come up with a completely new way of looking at the problem with some approach in which data and sentience can be mixed together in the same system and can speak the same language. I can't see any way of doing it, but that isn't the same thing as saying it's impossible. I keep hoping that a clue will jump out of some conversation which will lead to a breakthrough, and that clue is maybe as likely to come from a fruitcake as a scientist. If there's a solution, it will be found by someone who's looking in from an angle that normal people don't explore.

Thanks for such a concise summary.

I suspect that we'll need a combined approach to get close to understanding it - a synthesis of investigating the progressive increase in consciousness & awareness in animal and infant developmental studies, large scale emulation projects (Blue Brain, etc.), and scanner studies of different conscious states and their transitions. 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 07/09/2013 23:57:48
So your definition of "conscious" is...?

That's difficult due to ambiguity. I'd like to say that being conscious means you are experiencing phenomena relating to consciousness, namely qualia (which can include a feeling of existing or of understanding something), but you could be doing that while at the same time being officially unconscious from the point of view of anyone observing you from the outside and finding you completely unresponsive.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 08/09/2013 00:23:17
I don't see a problem with ambiguity. If you use a word to mean two different things, just tell us both meanings!

What I do see as a problem is that you have defined conscious in terms of consciousness and not being unconscious. So you would define a cow as exhibiting or experiencing bovine phenomena, and not being an uncow. Not a particularly useful contribution to a discussion on the evolution or ecological function of a cow.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 08/09/2013 00:34:40
PEAR was, initially at least, a serious attempt to investigate a wide range of claimed paranormal phenomena, from remote viewing to mentally biasing mechanical and electronic randomisers, precognition, etc. They did thousands of experiments over many years, with annual reports & reviews, and, in general, reported a slight (but significant) excess of anomalous results. Their methodologies and analyses were often criticised, and attempts at replication were less successful. Mainstream consensus is that nothing of interest was demonstrated (http://www.skepdic.com/pear.html).
...
This may be a reference to Daryl Bem's experiments on 'Retroactive Facilitation of Recall'. His methodology and analyses were criticised, particularly when he modified and added new analyses after the data was obtained. Several attempted replications were unsuccessful (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0033423).

Thanks for hunting that out and confirming my (/our) expectations.

I suspect that we'll need a combined approach to get close to understanding it - a synthesis of investigating the progressive increase in consciousness & awareness in animal and infant developmental studies, large scale emulation projects (Blue Brain, etc.), and scanner studies of different conscious states and their transitions. 

The Blue Brain type of approach may get somewhere if it ever gets to the point where it starts reporting feelings, and then it might be possible to trace back those claims to see what evidence they're based on, but it could take thousands of years to untangle the functionality of the neural nets. I don't expect to find out the answer unless we can find ways to extend our lives considerably, though there's always the chance that someone will find an explanation for consciousness (of a kind that enables it to be real) just by thinking their way into the problem in an unusual way. Maybe exploring Buddhist meditation would help...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 08/09/2013 00:40:08
I don't see a problem with ambiguity. If you use a word to mean two different things, just tell us both meanings!

That's what I did, in effect. I just phrased it in the manner I thought it. You should be able to untangle the two resulting definitions from it yourself.

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What I do see as a problem is that you have defined conscious in terms of consciousness and not being unconscious.

No, I very specifically mentioned qualia. No qualia, no consciousness.

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So you would define a cow as exhibiting or experiencing bovine phenomena, and not being an uncow. Not a particularly useful contribution to a discussion on the evolution or ecological function of a cow.

No. you're again missing out the key bit about it mooing.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 08/09/2013 20:00:07
Thank you for your reply i will read carefully  later on , later alligator ...kidding

You are an honest consistent  guy with yourself ,a guy with integrity ,without self-deceit ,without self-delusions , without magical thinking , or self-illusions : i do respect and salute that in you, as a person , i mean it  .


Take care
Thanks for that, but the reality is that we're all stuck here. None of us want magic in our model, but we have yet to find a way to remove it without becoming nihilists, and nihilism feels highly unsatisfactory - you only have to pinch yourself to provide yourself with a serious objection to it. We feel as if we are substantially more than soulless machines making false assertions about feelings that don't exist. But we shouldn't be surprised that this problem won't break open for us because it has always been the biggest puzzle of them all and has blocked the way of anyone who has tried to tackle it. It is important though that we pin down and understand the fundamental problem before we waste time trying to solve it, and that is what I have attempted to do. When I look at the writings of other people on consciousness though, most of them appear to be completely bonkers, so the odds tell me that it's likely that I am completely bonkers too and am just too stupid to realise it. The most bonkers ones do all have something in common though, and that is that they make the mistake of thinking consciousness can emerge out of complexity without depending on an injection of magic, and that appears to be the mainstream "scientific" position on consciousness. These people need to ask themselves what they are causing to suffer when they torture a biological machine, because if it isn't the atoms or smaller particles, and if it isn't the energy locked up in the system, and if it isn't the fabric of space in from which these other things might be built, then what is it? Sentient geometrical arrangements or sentient pluralities just don't do it for me. Torturing a mere pattern and trying to make it suffer is pretty way out. Even so, it's not beyond possibility that there could be sentiences elsewhere linking in to biological machines and being sentient for them without it happening by magic, as would be the case if this world is virtual and the real us are sitting somewhere on the outside with all our inputs and outputs wired into it, so when you think of it like that it doesn't really matter so much that they're wanting consciousness to emerge out of complexity. Yes, that's a point I have always missed in the past, right up to the moment of writing this. They can make the link to something sentient in any way they like and it doesn't really matter. What matters is how that sentience is supposed to interface with an information system to inform the information system as to its existence (the existence of sentience). That is the key problem which needs to be tackled if any real progress is ever to be made towards understanding consciousness as a real phenomenon. If anyone can crack this single little problem and find a way to turn experience of sensation into knowledge of sensation, the whole thing will open up and we will be able to work out what we really are: we will be able to point to the soul (meaning the sentient "I" in the machine - no other baggage attached beyond being something that can feel).

Hi, dude :

Look, i do agree with most of what you were saying , form the materialistic point of view at least ,so :
Help me out here ,in order to make dlorde and alcanverd see the light haha :

They both talk about man at least as just a biological evolutionary mechanical process ,while mainly dlorde sees human consciousness or the mind , feelings , emotions ....the human cultural ,ethical, political, economic ,social ...evolution as  kindda independent processes , in the same sense Dawkins says that the human mind is an independent "thing " or rather process which can and must "revolt against the selfish mechanical tyranny of our genes " : selfish is a metaphor ...


They can't have it both ways : these friends of ours seem to be schizophrenic when it comes to body and mind :  either we are just machines , then  it's pretty almost impossible to explain consciousness, feelings , emotions ....because i do not see how the latters can rise from mechanical systems , or we have  just   been confusing those illusions of consciousness, feelings , emotions,pain  ...with reality .
Either way ,we are stuck in this , as you put it earlier .

If our ethics , cultures , societies, ....evolved "independently " from our mechanical bodies , via the interactions between our minds and the environment + via some biological influences ( The fact that our thought process has a biological neurological basis is evidence enough for the fact that our minds get at least influenced by biology, a fact they seem to ignore  ) ,so, if our ethics , societies, cultures ....evolved differently or "independently " , "idependently " ,to some degree at least , how ,on earth , did they do just that .

Thanks, appreciate indeed

Take care .


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 08/09/2013 20:35:30
...mainly dlorde sees human consciousness or the mind , feelings , emotions ....the human cultural ,ethical, political, economic ,social ...evolution as  kindda independent processes...
What on Earth are you on about now?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 08/09/2013 20:38:18
@ David Cooper :

Please , do tell me what you do think about the following < thanks, appreciate indeed :


There is no place for free will, good or evil , emotions , feelings,consciousness  ....as such at least whatsoever  in the materialistic interpretation of evolution, or rather  they are meaningless in the materialistic evolutionary terms
You've confused the categories there - that's either carelessness or lack of understanding. Free will and good & evil are cultural constructs, the others evolved for very good reasons (literally life or death reasons)
.

(Good and evil do exist both within us and without though ,despite what materialists might say on the subject , from their materialistic world view .
There are  in fact no free will as such , no good and evil as such ....= just illusions , if we would apply to them the right materialistic interpretation at least : free will , good or evil ...cannot rise from our mechanical biological systems : Dawkins and co are therefore not the right representatives of the right materialism : only David Cooper is ...here at least .)

They are not different categories , not in the sense that the one comes from Mars and the other comes from Venus at least , no : they are only different categories which take place at different levels of man : the one is biological and the other is a matter of consciousness shaped by the environment and by world views , not to mention that consciousness has a biological sort of basis also it cannot escape from  .
What you cannot understand is how consciousness or the mind ( I see the human mind or consciousness as a whole process which contains intelligence , emotions, feelings , imagination ...) can rise from those biological mechanical processes ? or as Dawkins put it , we can "revolt against the selfish mechanical tyranny of our genes " by deliberately modifying our selfish behavior via our free will : how, on earth, are we supposed to do just that , if we are just machines = we cannot have a free will = free will is an illusion ,according to this mechanical deterministic materialistic view of the universe , man, life , nature ...

How did our mind get to become such an "idependent " process which could defy and rise above its mechanical basis then ?

How can't you get just that ?

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only Dawkins and co club are able to provide the right materialistic interpretation of evolution , as explained above, in the sense that there are in fact no such "things" such as free will, feelings , altruism, emotions, ....= just useful pragmatic survival strategies or built-in in our mechanical systems illusions we get fooled  by by confusing them with reality , no matter how real they might ever appear to be to us ,once again =David Cooper was explaining just that to you , in another thread as well , better than i can ever do .
Yes, and no; perhaps if I make a simple analogy: consider a magician, an illusionist; he develops a range of illusions, 'The Vanishing Rabbit', 'Sawing A Woman In Half', 'Water Into Wine', etc. Now, these all involve a carefully arranged and choreographed set of activities with real objects. But they are not what they seem. There are things happening that give the appearance of the activities described, but none of the described activities real - the rabbit doesn't really vanish, the woman isn't really sawn in half, the water doesn't really turn to wine. Sadly, many people believe they really happen, via paranormal means. When the magician or the people want to discuss them, they use the names of the illusions to identify what they're talking about.


You do not realise the fact that you are the one who's trying to make consciousness rise from our  mechanical biological process via that emergence  magical trick, like an illusionist who apparently makes a rabbit appear from nowwhere .

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Useful or pragmatic are  not always  synonymous of the truth though
Are they ever?  Ah, but what is truth?

Exactly .
The truth is a dynamic process .The Truth with a big T is only to be known after death .

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No, sorry , those were just rational justifications for my potential behavior you were trying to develop
Yes, that's how discussions on science forums go; you're expected to provide rational justifications for your argument or position.
What i meant was : you were just using some romantic magical thinking...
OK, so you said 'rational justification' when you meant 'romantic magical thinking'; it's probably nothing to worry about, everyone has senior moments now and then.

No, you were just trying to "rationalize " your claims , as we all ,sometimes, try to rationalize our   bad behaviors in order to avoid responsibility, accountability , guilt ..

You were doing just that via magical thinking : get the pic ?

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Arguments from incredulity, anecdotes, unsupported assertions, 'no true Scotsman (materialist)' fallacies, special pleading, appeals to what is 'beyond logic, rationality, and science', etc., may be entertaining, but are insubstantial.


No, it's exactly the other way around : your magical romantic thinking contradicts the materialistic mechanical reductionistic interpretation of evolution
You still seem confused - as a response, that's not 'exactly the other way round', it's a complete non-sequitur.

You do not realise that you were using some magical romantic thinking , dude , in relation to ethics , consciousness, feelings , emotions, good and evil ,free will ....= how can they rise from our mechanical biological systems via the natural selection of evolution then ? as social mental cultural constructs ? How ? = only you ,Dawkins and co  , as  illusionists , can explain just that via some mysterious magical tricks   .


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No, you should just see them as useful pragmatic survival strategies illusions ,as they actually are in fact , according to the materialistic interpretation of evolution ,once again , David Cooper tried to explain to you .
I can see them however I wish; but as I said, I think it's a valid viewpoint (are you having trouble following these threads?), I just like to acknowledge the subjective experience.

I made a  mistake though when i used to say that Dawkins and co are the real true materialists : they are not , in fact : simply because they do think like yourself via that magical romantic side when it comes to mind and body , cultures, societies , ethics ,free will, good and evil ...

The only real materialist here i have seen is : David Cooper :

So, let's just all move to that thread concerning consciousness , in order to have David Cooper's perspectives on these subjects .

Deal ?

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 08/09/2013 20:42:59
...mainly dlorde sees human consciousness or the mind , feelings , emotions ....the human cultural ,ethical, political, economic ,social ...evolution as  kindda independent processes...
What on Earth are you on about now?

Well, you seem to have succeeded indeed in making consciousness, feelings , free will, good and evil, emotions, ethics , cultures, societies, politics, economics , religions or spirituality ...rise from our so-called exclusively mechanical biological systems via the natural selection of evolution, via some emergence magical tricks or magical thinking only you ,Dawkins and co , as bright illusionists , can accomplish :

See my reply to you as displayed  here above , i requested David Cooper to comment on .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 08/09/2013 20:50:26
In other words ,and in short :

How can even science itself ,or any other form of human knowledge  for that matter , to mention just that , how can they ever rise from those evolutionary  exclusively mechanical processes of ours ?

Only some illusionists here such as  our  dlorde can explain just that , i see :

Our dlorde here mainly seems to have surpassed even that big illusionist : David Copperfield .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 08/09/2013 21:04:22
You do not realise the fact that you are the one who's trying to make consciousness rise from our  mechanical biological process via that emergence  magical trick, like an illusionist who apparently makes a rabbit appear from nowwhere .

This from someone who claims it's beyond logic, reason, and science?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 08/09/2013 21:12:54
... you seem to have succeeded indeed in making consciousness, feelings , free will, good and evil, emotions, ethics , cultures, societies, politics, economics , religions or spirituality ...rise from our so-called exclusively mechanical biological systems via the natural selection of evolution, via some emergence magical tricks or magical thinking only you ,Dawkins and co , as bright illusionists , can accomplish
If I seem to have succeeded, what is the problem? :)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 08/09/2013 21:18:23
How can even science itself ,or any other form of human knowledge  for that matter , to mention just that , how can they ever rise from those evolutionary  exclusively mechanical processes of ours ?

Only some illusionists here such as  our  dlorde can explain just that , i see :

Our dlorde here mainly seems to have surpassed even that big illusionist : David Copperfield .
I've given my preferred hypothesis, and I'm open to new evidence as and when it becomes available.

I notice you've gone very quiet about your own... 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 08/09/2013 21:46:46
So you would define a cow as exhibiting or experiencing bovine phenomena, and not being an uncow. Not a particularly useful contribution to a discussion on the evolution or ecological function of a cow.

No. you're again missing out the key bit about it mooing.

That's my boy!!! You have defined a cow by what it does, which is a whole lot different from "not being an uncow" because I can apply the moo test to any external object and thus identify a cow with no previous knowledge of what it is, or what it is like to be one.

So, what does a conscious being do, objectively, that distinguishes it from all non-conscious entities?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 08/09/2013 22:03:13
... you seem to have succeeded indeed in making consciousness, feelings , free will, good and evil, emotions, ethics , cultures, societies, politics, economics , religions or spirituality ...rise from our so-called exclusively mechanical biological systems via the natural selection of evolution, via some emergence magical tricks or magical thinking only you ,Dawkins and co , as bright illusionists , can accomplish
If I seem to have succeeded, what is the problem? :)

That was sacrastic ironic meant though , no offense .
Thanks, later

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 08/09/2013 22:18:40
That was sacrastic ironic meant though , no offense .

None taken; I'm getting used to it.

Maybe you could enlighten this thread with some of the scientific research you referred to, but failed to produce, on another thread:
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Many scientific research proved the fact that consciousness could not or cannot be produced by the brain...


 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 09/09/2013 00:32:55
I believe there are things that can be said to "exist" which are in a sense immaterial, such as an isosceles triangle, as well as abstract or qualitative relationships among things - goodness, evil, beauty, meaningfulness, etc.

I don't think consciousness itself falls into that category but is an emergent property of a biological process, much the way a tornado is an emergent state of certain physical environmental conditions of matter and energy. Just my opinion, but it seems to me that if consciousness were truly immaterial, it would not be so strongly altered by physical factors like anesthetics and other drugs, sleep or lack of it, diseases like Alzheimer's, brain trauma, oxygen deprivation,  genetic defects, etc.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 09/09/2013 00:41:22
... it seems to me that if consciousness were truly immaterial, it would not be so strongly altered by physical factors like anesthetics and other drugs, sleep or lack of it, diseases like Alzheimer's, brain trauma, oxygen deprivation,  genetic defects, etc.
If it were truly immaterial how could it be affected by physical factors at all? [and conversely, how could it affect the physical, if that is being proposed?]
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 09/09/2013 03:45:39






Bombastic talk again : did you ever meet a dog , cat , chimp ....who is or rather which is self-aware ? in the sense that it is aware of its existence , of itself ? that it is aware of its inner life or at least has one ?
A dog might have dreams ,for example ,but when even humans dream (i am not talking here about day dreaming of humans at least  ) , they are unconscious , let alone that they would be self-aware while sleeping and dreaming  at least .
The fact that some chimps might "recognize" themselves in the mirror , apparently it seems , or maybe that's just our human interpretation of their behavior in front of the mirror, does not prove conclusively that they might have or experience some degree of self-awarness, i guess, i do not know for sure thus either, but i do not think any non-human living organism for that matter is self-aware , simply because any degree of self-awarness implies some corresponding degree of intellectual process at least  .
Animals are "conscious" (a reduced form of consciousness , compared to that extended one  of man = there is no comparison between the 2 in fact ) : they experience feel pain, experience feel hunger , anger , sadness, joy ....but animals or any other non-human  living organism can never be self-aware in the above mentioned sense at least .our consciousness, ...


A book I happen to be reading mentions an interesting experiment with chimps. Chimp A sees something threatening but is in no danger himself. Chimp B is in danger, but chimp B cannot see what chimp A can see. Chimp A will signal Chimp B to alert him if he knows that Chimp B cannot see what he can see, but not if he thinks he can. A hall mark of consciousness is not just being self aware, but knowing that others are also aware, and being able to imagine or see something from the perspective of another conscious being. That may not be calculus or poetry, but it is thinking about thinking or awareness of awareness, which is rather sophisticated.

There are also examples of gorillas lying as when KoKo the gorilla told his caretakers that he did not rip the sink off the wall, his pet kitten did it.  Lying, too is advanced thinking. It required the animal to predict his caretaker's reaction to the damaged sink (she'll be mad), to be aware of what someone else knows and doesn't know, and imagine a series of alternate past events that didn't actually happen, but could have. Admittedly, it was not the most convincing lie, although my daughter also blamed things on the cat when she was little.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 09/09/2013 10:42:26
A hall mark of consciousness is not just being self aware, but knowing that others are also aware, and being able to imagine or see something from the perspective of another conscious being. That may not be calculus or poetry, but it is thinking about thinking or awareness of awareness, which is rather sophisticated
.... 
Lying, too is advanced thinking.

Even some birds show evidence of theory of mind. The European Magpie can pass the mirror test, showing some sense of self-awareness; the Western Scrub Jay will pretend to hide food if it sees another bird watching, or will hide it then come back and move it when the other bird isn't watching - but only if it has previously stolen food itself; the Little Green Bee-eater shows awareness of what its predators can and can't see. 

I think it's a mistake to see consciousness and self awareness as an all-or-nothing trait. Animals appear to have evolved to emphasize aspects and levels of consciousness, self awareness, and theory of mind, appropriate to their social and environmental contexts. There must be a dynamic balance between the resources required to support such complex behaviours (computational resources, energy consumption, etc.) and the conferred reproductive & survival advantages.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 17:08:46
In his "Selfish Gene " , Dawkins thinks that we are just machines or robots driven by DNA through the natural selection of evolution ,while he also thinks at the same time = a paradox , that we can "revolt against the selfish tyranny of our genes ,and against the "fact " that we were born selfish ,by consciously modifying our selfish behavior ....: selfish gene as a metaphor though " :
Just tell me how are we supposed to do just the latter ,if we are indeed just machines ? : The following are quotes from Dawkins' above mentioned book by the way :



PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION
THIS book should be read almost as though it were science fiction. It is designed to appeal to the imagination. But it is not science fiction: it is science. Cliche or not, 'stranger than fiction' expresses exactly how I feel about the truth. We are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment. Though I have known it for years, I never seem to get fully used to it. One of my hopes is that I may have some success in astonishing others.
Three imaginary readers looked over my shoulder while I was writing, and I now dedicate the book to them. First the general reader, the layman. For him I have avoided technical jargon almost totally, and where I have had to use specialized words I have defined them. I now wonder why we don't censor most of our jargon from learned journals too. I have assumed that the layman has no special knowledge, but I have not assumed that he is stupid. Anyone can popularize science if he oversimplifies. I have worked hard to try to popularize some subtle and complicated ideas in non-mathematical language, without losing their essence. I do not know how far I have succeeded in this, nor how far I have succeeded in another of my ambitions: to try to make the book as entertaining and gripping as its subject matter deserves. I have long felt that biology ought to seem as exciting as a mystery story, for a mystery story is exactly what biology is. I do not dare to hope that I have conveyed more than a tiny fraction of the excitement which the subject has to offer.
My second imaginary reader was the expert. He has been a harsh critic, sharply drawing in his breath at some of my analogies and figures of speech. His favourite phrases are 'with the exception of'; 'but on the other hand', and 'ugh'. I listened to him attentively, and even completely rewrote one chapter entirely for his benefit, but in the end I have had to tell the story my way. The expert will still not be totally happy with the way I put things. Yet my greatest hope is that even he will find something new here; a new way of looking at familiar ideas perhaps; even stimulation of new ideas of his own. If this is too high an aspiration, may I at least hope that the book will entertain him on a train?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 17:24:46
........train?
xxii Preface to first edition
The third reader I had in mind was the student, making the transition from layman to expert. If he still has not made up his mind what field he wants to be an expert in, I hope to encourage him to give my own field of zoology a second glance. There is a better reason for studying zoology than its possible 'usefulness', and the general likeableness of animals. This reason is that we animals are the most complicated and perfectly-designed pieces of machinery in the known universe. Put it like that, and it is hard to see why anybody studies anything else! For the student who has already committed himself to zoology, I hope my book may have some educational value. He is having to work through the original papers and technical books on which my treatment is based. If he finds the original sources hard to digest, perhaps my non-mathematical interpretation may help, as an introduction and adjunct.
There are obvious dangers in trying to appeal to three different kinds of reader. I can only say that I have been very conscious of these dangers, but that they seemed to be outweighed by the advantages of the attempt.
I am an ethologist,and this is a book about animal behaviour. My debt to the ethological tradition in which I was trained will be obvious. In particular, Niko Tinbergen does not realize the extent of his influence on me during the twelve years I worked under him at Oxford. The phrase 'survival machine', though not actually his own, might well be. But ethology has recently been invigorated by an invasion of fresh ideas from sources not conventionally regarded as ethological. This book is largely based on these new ideas. Their originators are acknowledged in the appropriate places in the text; the dominant figures are G. C. Williams, J. Maynard Smith, W. D. Hamilton, and R. L. Trivers.
Various people suggested titles for the book, which I have gratefully used as chapter titles: 'Immortal Coils', John Krebs; 'The Gene Machine', Desmond Morris; 'Genesmanship', Tim Clutton-Brock and Jean Dawkins, independently with apologies to Stephen Potter.
Imaginary readers may serve as targets for pious hopes and aspirations, but they are of less practical use than real readers and critics. I am addicted to revising, and Marian Dawkins has been subjected to countless drafts and redrafts of every page. Her considerable knowledge of the biological literature and her understanding of theoretical issues, together with her ceaseless encouragement and moral support, have been essential to me. John Krebs
Preface to first edition xxiii
too read the whole book in draft. He knows more about the subject than I do, and he has been generous and unstinting with his advice and suggestions. Glenys Thomson and Walter Bodmer criticized my handling of genetic topics kindly but firmly. I fear that my revision may still not fully satisfy them, but I hope they will find it somewhat improved. I am most grateful for their time and patience. John Dawkins exercised an unerring eye for misleading phraseology, and made excellent constructive suggestions for re-wording. I could not have wished for a more suitable 'intelligent layman' than Maxwell Stamp. His perceptive spotting of an important general flaw in the style of the first draft did much for the final version. Others who constructively criticized particular chapters, or otherwise gave expert advice, were John Maynard Smith, Desmond Morris, Tom Maschler, Nick Blurton Jones, Sarah Kettlewell, Nick Humphrey, Tim Clutton-Brock, Louise Johnson, Christopher Graham, Geoff Parker, and Robert Trivers. Pat Searle and Stephanie Verhoeven not only typed with skill, but encouraged me by seeming to do so with enjoyment. Finally, I wish to thank Michael Rodgers of Oxford University Press who, in addition to helpfully criticizing the manuscript, worked far beyond the call of duty in attending to all aspects of the production of this book.
RICHARD DAWKINS 19761976
1
WHY ARE PEOPLE?
Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they will ask, in order to assess the level of our civilization, is: 'Have they discovered evolution yet?' Living organisms had existed on earth, without ever knowing why, for over three thousand million years before the truth finally dawned on one of them. His name was Charles Darwin. To be fair, others had had inklings of the truth, but it was Darwin who first put together a coherent and tenable account of why we exist. Darwin made it possible for us to give a sensible answer to the curious child whose question heads this chapter. We no longer have to resort to superstition when faced with the deep problems: Is there a meaning to life? What are we for? What is man? After posing the last of these questions, the eminent zoologist G. G. Simpson put it thus: 'The point I want to make now is that all attempts to answer that question before 1859 are worthless and that we will be better off if we ignore them completely.'*
Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun, but the full implications of Darwin's revolution have yet to be widely realized. Zoology is still a minority subject in universities, and even those who choose to study it often make their decision without appreciating its profound philosophical significance. Philosophy and the subjects known as 'humanities' are still taught almost as if Darwin had never lived. No doubt this will change in time. In any case, this book is not intended as a general advocacy of Darwinism. Instead, it will explore the consequences of the evolution theory for a particular issue. My purpose is to examine the biology of selfishness and altruism.
Apart from its academic interest, the human importance of this subject is obvious. It touches every aspect of our social lives, our loving and hating, fighting and cooperating, giving and stealing, our
2 Why are people?
greed and our generosity. These are claims that could have been made for Lorenz's On Aggression, Ardrey's The Social Contract, and Eibl-Eibesfeldt's Love and Hate. The trouble with these books is that their authors got it totally and utterly wrong. They got it wrong because they misunderstood how evolution works. They made the erroneous assumption that the important thing in evolution is the good of the species (or the group) rather than the good of the individual (or the gene). It is ironic that Ashley Montagu should criticize Lorenz as a 'direct descendant of the "nature red in tooth and claw" thinkers of the nineteenth century ...'. As I understand Lorenz's view of evolution, he would be very much at one with Montagu in rejecting the implications of Tennyson's famous phrase. Unlike both of them, I think 'nature red in tooth and claw' sums up our modern understanding of natural selection admirably.
Before beginning on my argument itself, I want to explain briefly what sort of an argument it is, and what sort of an argument it is not. If we were told that a man had lived a long and prosperous life in the world of Chicago gangsters, we would be entitled to make some guesses as to the sort of man he was. We might expect that he would have qualities such as toughness, a quick trigger finger, and the ability to attract loyal friends. These would not be infallible deductions, but you can make some inferences about a man's character if you know something about the conditions in which he has survived and prospered. The argument of this book is that we, and all other animals, are machines created by our genes. Like successful Chicago gangsters, our genes have survived, in some cases for millions of years, in a highly competitive world. This entitles us to expect certain qualities in our genes. I shall argue that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behaviour. However, as we shall see, there are special circumstances in which a gene can achieve its own selfish goals best by fostering a limited form of altruism at the level of individual animals. 'Special' and 'limited' are important words in the last sentence. Much as we might wish to believe otherwise, universal love and the welfare of the species as a whole are concepts that simply do not make evolutionary sense.
This brings me to the first point I want to make about what this book is not. I am not advocating a morality based on evolution.* I am saying how things have evolved. I am not saying how we humans
Why are people? 3
morally ought to behave. I stress this, because I know I am in danger of being misunderstood by those people, all too numerous, who cannot distinguish a statement of belief in what is the case from an advocacy of what ought to be the case. My own feeling is that a human society based simply on the gene's law of universal ruthless selfishness would be a very nasty society in which to live. But unfortunately, however much we may deplore something, it does not stop it being true. This book is mainly intended to be interesting, but if you would extract a moral from it, read it as a warning. Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to.
As a corollary to these remarks about teaching, it is a fallacy— incidentally a very common one—to suppose that genetically inherited traits are by definition fixed and unmodifiable. Our genes may instruct us to be selfish, but we are not necessarily compelled to obey them all our lives. It may just be more difficult to learn altruism than it would be if we were genetically programmed to be altruistic. Among animals, man is uniquely dominated by culture, by influences learned and handed down. Some would say that culture is so important that genes, whether selfish or not, are virtually irrelevant to the understanding of human nature. Others would disagree. It all depends where you stand in the debate over 'nature versus nurture' as determinants of human attributes. This brings me to the second thing this book is not: it is not an advocacy of one position or another in the nature/nurture controversy. Naturally I have an opinion on this, but I am not going to express it, except insofar as it is implicit in the view of culture that I shall present in the final chapter. If genes really turn out to be totally irrelevant to the determination of modern human behaviour, if we really are unique among animals in this respect, it is, at the very least, still interesting to inquire about the rule to which we have so recently become the exception. And if our species is not so exceptional as we might like to think, it is even more important that we should study the rule.
The third thing this book is not is a descriptive account of the detailed behaviour of man or of any other particular animal species. I
4 Why are people?
shall use factual details only as illustrative examples. I shall not be saying: 'If you look at the behaviour of baboons you will find it to be selfish; therefore the chances are that human behaviour is selfish also'. The logic of my 'Chicago gangster' argument is quite different. It is this. Humans and baboons have evolved by natural selection. If you look at the way natural selection works, it seems to follow that anything that has evolved by natural selection should be selfish. Therefore we must expect that when we go and look at the behaviour of baboons, humans, and all other living creatures, we shall find it to be selfish. If we find that our expectation is wrong, if we observe that human behaviour is truly altruistic, then we shall be faced with something puzzling, something that needs explaining.
Before going any further, we need a definition. An entity, such as a baboon, is said to be altruistic if it behaves in such a way as to increase another such entity's welfare at the expense of its own. Selfish behaviour has exactly the opposite effect. 'Welfare' is defined as 'chances of survival', even if the effect on actual life and death prospects is so small as to seem negligible. One of the surprising consequences of the modern version of the Darwinian theory is that apparently trivial tiny influences on survival probability can have a major impact on evolution. This is because of the enormous time available for such influences to make themselves felt.
It is important to realize that the above definitions of altruism and selfishness are behavioural, not subjective. I am not concerned here with the psychology of motives. I am not going to argue about whether people who behave altruistically are 'really' doing it for secret or subconscious selfish motives. Maybe they are and maybe they aren't, and maybe we can never know, but in any case that is not what this book is about. My definition is concerned only with whether the effect of an act is to lower or raise the survival prospects of the presumed altruist and the survival prospects of the presumed beneficiary.
It is a very complicated business to demonstrate the effects of behaviour on long-term survival prospects. In practice, when we apply the definition to real behaviour, we must qualify it with the word 'apparently'. An apparently altruistic act is one that looks, superficially, as if it must tend to make the altruist more likely (however slightly) to die, and the recipient more likely to survive. It often turns out on closer inspection that acts of apparent altruism are really selfishness in disguise. Once again, I do not mean that the
Why are people? 5
underlying motives are secretly selfish, but that the real effects of the act on survival prospects are the reverse of what we originally thought.
I am going to give some examples of apparently selfish and apparently altruistic behaviour. It is difficult to suppress subjective habits of thought when we are dealing with our own species, so I shall choose examples from other animals instead. First some miscellaneous examples of selfish behaviour by individual animals.
Blackheaded gulls nest in large colonies, the nests being only a few feet apart. When the chicks first hatch out they are small and defenceless and easy to swallow. It is quite common for a gull to wait until a neighbour's back is turned, perhaps while it is away fishing, and then pounce on one of the neighbour's chicks and swallow it whole. It thereby obtains a good nutritious meal, without having to go to the trouble of catching a fish, and without having to leave its own nest unprotected.
More well known is the macabre cannibalism of female praying mantises. Mantises are large carnivorous insects. They normally eat smaller insects such as flies, but they will attack almost anything that moves. When they mate, the male cautiously creeps up on the female, mounts her, and copulates. If the female gets the chance, she will eat him, beginning by biting his head off, either as the male is approaching, or immediately after he mounts, or after they separate. It might seem most sensible for her to wait until copulation is over before she starts to eat him. But the loss of the head does not seem to throw the rest of the male's body off its sexual stride. Indeed, since the insect head is the seat of some inhibitory nerve centres, it is possible that the female improves the male's sexual performance by eating his head.* If so, this is an added benefit. The primary one is that she obtains a good meal.
The word 'selfish' may seem an understatement for such extreme cases as cannibalism, although these fit well with our definition. Perhaps we can sympathize more directly with the reported cowardly behaviour of emperor penguins in the Antarctic. They have been seen standing on the brink of the water, hesitating before diving in, because of the danger of being eaten by seals. If only one of them would dive in, the rest would know whether there was a seal there or not. Naturally nobody wants to be the guinea pig, so they wait, and sometimes even try to push each other in.
More ordinarily, selfish behaviour may simply consist of refusing
6 Why are people?
to share some valued
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 17:26:49
........resource such as food, territory, or sexual partners. Now for some examples of apparently altruistic behaviour.
The stinging behaviour of worker bees is a very effective defence against honey robbers. But the bees who do the stinging are kamikaze fighters. In the act of stinging, vital internal organs are usually torn out of the body, and the bee dies soon afterwards. Her suicide mission may have saved the colony's vital food stocks, but she herself is not around to reap the benefits. By our definition this is an altruistic behavioural act. Remember that we are not talking about conscious motives. They may or may not be present, both here and in the selfishness examples, but they are irrelevant to our definition.
Laying down one's life for one's friends is obviously altruistic, but so also is taking a slight risk for them. Many small birds, when they see a flying predator such as a hawk, give a characteristic 'alarm call', upon which the whole flock takes appropriate evasive action. There is indirect evidence that the bird who gives the alarm call puts itself in special danger, because it attracts the predator's attention particularly to itself. This is only a slight additional risk, but it nevertheless seems, at least at first sight, to qualify as an altruistic act by our definition.
The commonest and most conspicuous acts of animal altruism are done by parents, especially mothers, towards their children. They may incubate them, either in nests or in their own bodies, feed them at enormous cost to themselves, and take great risks in protecting them from predators. To take just one particular example, many ground-nesting birds perform a so-called 'distraction display' when a predator such as a fox approaches. The parent bird limps away from the nest, holding out one wing as though it were broken. The predator, sensing easy prey, is lured away from the nest containing the chicks. Finally the parent bird gives up its pretence and leaps into the air just in time to escape the fox's jaws. It has probably saved the life of its nestlings, but at some risk to itself.
I am not trying to make a point by telling stories. Chosen examples are never serious evidence for any worthwhile generalization. These stories are simply intended as illustrations of what I mean by altruistic and selfish behaviour at the level of individuals. This book will show how both individual selfishness and individual altruism are explained by the fundamental law that I am calling gene selfishness. But first I must deal with a particular erroneous explanation for altruism, because it is widely known, and even widely taught in schools.
Why are people? 7
This explanation is based on the misconception that I have already mentioned, that living creatures evolve to do things 'for the good of the species' or 'for the good of the group'. It is easy to see how this idea got its start in biology. Much of an animal's life is devoted to reproduction, and most of the acts of altruistic self-sacrifice that are observed in nature are performed by parents towards their young. 'Perpetuation of the species' is a common euphemism for reproduction, and it is undeniably a consequence of reproduction. It requires only a slight over-stretching of logic to deduce that the 'function' of reproduction is 'to' perpetuate the species. From this it is but a further short false step to conclude that animals will in general behave in such a way as to favour the perpetuation of the species. Altruism towards fellow members of the species seems to follow.
This line of thought can be put into vaguely Darwinian terms. Evolution works by natural selection, and natural selection means the differential survival of the 'fittest'. But are we talking about the fittest individuals, the fittest races, the fittest species, or what? For some purposes this does not greatly matter, but when we are talking about altruism it is obviously crucial. If it is species that are competing in what Darwin called the struggle for existence, the individual seems best regarded as a pawn in the game, to be sacrificed when the greater interest of the species as a whole requires it. To put it in a slightly more respectable way, a group, such as a species or a population within a species, whose individual members are prepared to sacrifice themselves for the welfare of the group, may be less likely to go extinct than a rival group whose individual members place their own selfish interests first. Therefore the world becomes populated mainly by groups consisting of self-sacrificing individuals. This is the theory of 'group selection', long assumed to be true by biologists not familiar with the details of evolutionary theory, brought out into the open in a famous book by V. C. Wynne-Edwards, and popularized by Robert Ardrey in The Social Contract. The orthodox alternative is normally called 'individual selection', although I personally prefer to speak of gene selection.
The quick answer of the 'individual selectionist' to the argument just put might go something like this. Even in the group of altruists, there will almost certainly be a dissenting minority who refuse to make any sacrifice. It there is just one selfish rebel, prepared to exploit the altruism of the rest, then he, by definition, is more likely
8 Why are people?
than they are to survive and have children. Each of these children will tend to inherit his selfish traits. After several generations of this natural selection, the 'altruistic group' will be over-run by selfish individuals, and will be indistinguishable from the selfish group. Even if we grant the improbable chance existence initially of pure altruistic groups without any rebels, it is very difficult to see what is to stop selfish individuals migrating in from neighbouring selfish groups, and, by inter-marriage, contaminating the purity of the altruistic groups.
The individual-selectionist would admit that groups do indeed die out, and that whether or not a group goes extinct may be influenced by the behaviour of the individuals in that group. He might even admit that if only the individuals in a group had the gift of foresight they could see that in the long run their own best interests lay in restraining their selfish greed, to prevent the destruction of the whole group. How many times must this have been said in recent years to the working people of Britain? But group extinction is a slow process compared with the rapid cut and thrust of individual competition. Even while the group is going slowly and inexorably downhill, selfish individuals prosper in the short term at the expense of altruists. The citizens of Britain may or may not be blessed with foresight, but evolution is blind to the future.
Although the group-selection theory now commands little support within the ranks of those professional biologists who understand evolution, it does have great intuitive appeal. Successive generations of zoology students are surprised, when they come up from school, to find that it is not the orthodox point of view. For this they are hardly to be blamed, for in the Nuffield Biology Teachers' Guide, written for advanced level biology schoolteachers in Britain, we find the following: 'In higher animals, behaviour may take the form of individual suicide to ensure the survival of the species.' The anonymous author of this guide is blissfully ignorant of the fact that he has said something controversial. In this respect he is in Nobel Prize-winning company. Konrad Lorenz, in On Aggression, speaks of the 'species preserving' functions of aggressive behaviour, one of these functions being to make sure that only the fittest individuals are allowed to breed. This is a gem of a circular argument, but the point I am making here is that the group selection idea is so deeply ingrained that Lorenz, like the author of the Nuffield Guide, evidently did not realize that his statements contravened orthodox Darwinian theory.
Why are people? 9
I recently heard a delightful example of the same thing on an otherwise excellent B.B.C. television programme about Australian spiders. The 'expert' on the programme observed that the vast majority of baby spiders end up as prey for other species, and she then went on to say: 'Perhaps this is the real purpose of their existence, as only a few need to survive in order for the species to be preserved'!
Robert Ardrey, in The Social Contract, used the group-selection theory to account for the whole of social order in general. He clearly sees man as a species that has strayed from the path of animal righteousness. Ardrey at least did his homework. His decision to disagree with orthodox theory was a conscious one, and for this he deserves credit.
Perhaps one reason for the great appeal of the group-selection theory is that it is thoroughly in tune with the moral and political ideals that most of us share. We may frequently behave selfishly as individuals, but in our more idealistic moments we honour and admire those who put the welfare of others first. We get a bit muddled oyer how widely we want to interpret the word 'others', though. Often altruism within a group goes with selfishness between groups. This is a basis of trade unionism. At another level the nation is a major beneficiary of our altruistic self-sacrifice, and young men are expected to die as individuals for the greater glory of their country as a whole. Moreover, they are encouraged to kill other individuals about whom nothing is known except that they belong to a different nation. (Curiously, peace-time appeals for individuals to make some small sacrifice in the rate at which they increase their standard of living seem to be less effective than war-time appeals for individuals to lay down their lives.)
Recently there has been a reaction against racialism and patriotism, and a tendency to substitute the whole human species as the object of our fellow feeling. This humanist broadening of the target of our altruism has an interesting corollary, which again seems to buttress the 'good of the species' idea in evolution. The politically liberal, who are normally the most convinced spokesmen of the species ethic, now often have the greatest scorn for those who have gone a little further in widening their altruism, so that it includes other species. If I say that I am more interested in preventing the slaughter of large whales than I am in improving housing conditions for people, I am likely to shock some of my friends.
10 Why are people?
The feeling that members of one's own species deserve special moral consideration as compared with members of other species is old and deep. Killing people outside war is the most seriously-regarded crime ordinarily committed. The only thing more strongly forbidden by our culture is eating people (even if they are already dead). We enjoy eating members of other species, however. Many of us shrink from judicial execution of even the most horrible human criminals, while we cheerfully countenance the shooting without trial of fairly mild animal pests. Indeed we kill members of other harmless species as a means of recreation and amusement. A human foetus, with no more human feeling than an amoeba, enjoys a reverence and legal protection far in excess of those granted to an adult chimpanzee. Yet the chimp feels and thinks and—according to recent experimental evidence—may even be capable of learning a form of human language. The foetus belongs to our own species, and is instantly accorded special privileges and rights because of it. Whether the ethic of 'speciesism', to use Richard Ryder's term, can be put on a logical footing any more sound than that of 'racism', I do not know. What I do know is that it has no proper basis in evolutionary biology.
The muddle in human ethics over the level at which altruism is desirable—family, nation, race, species, or all living things—is mirrored by a parallel muddle in biology over the level at which altruism is to be expected according to the theory of evolution. Even the group-selectionist would not be surprised to find members of rival groups being nasty to each other: in this way, like trade unionists or soldiers, they are favouring their own group in the struggle for limited resources. But then it is worth asking how the group-selectionist decides which level is the important one. If selection goes on between groups within a species, and between species, why should it not also go on between larger groupings? Species are grouped together into genera, genera into orders, and orders into classes. Lions and antelopes are both members of the class Mammalia, as are we. Should we then not expect lions to refrain from killing antelopes, 'for the good of the mammals'? Surely they should hunt birds or reptiles instead, in order to prevent the extinction of the class. But then, what of the need to perpetuate the whole phylum of vertebrates?
It is all very well for me to argue by reductio ad absurdum, and to point to the difficulties of the group-selection theory, but the
Why are people? 11
apparent existence of individual altruism still has to be explained. Ardrey goes so far as to say that group selection is the only possible explanation for behaviour such as 'stotting' in Thomson's gazelles. This vigorous and conspicuous leaping in front of a predator is analogous to bird alarm calls, in that it seems to warn companions of danger while apparently calling the predator's attention to the stotter himself. We have a responsibility to explain stotting Tommies and all similar phenomena, and this is something I am going to face in later chapters.
Before that I must argue for my belief that the best way to look at evolution is in terms of selection occurring at the lowest level of all. In this belief I am heavily influenced by G. C. Williams's great book Adaptation and Natural Selection. The central idea I shall make use of was foreshadowed by A. Weismann in pre-gene days at the turn of the century—his doctrine of the 'continuity of the germ-plasm'. I shall argue that the fundamental unit of selection, and therefore of self-interest, is not the species, nor the group, nor even, strictly, the individual. It is the gene, the unit of heredity.* To some biologists this may sound at first like an extreme view. I hope when they see in what sense I mean it they will agree that it is, in substance, orthodox, even if it is expressed in an unfamiliar way. The argument takes time to develop, and we must begin at the beginning, with the very origin of life itself.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 09/09/2013 17:33:12
Look, i do agree with most of what you were saying , form the materialistic point of view at least ,so :
Help me out here ,in order to make dlorde and alcanverd see the light haha :

Do you need anyone else to see the light? None of us can see how consciousness works, but maintaining a diversity of approach is a good thing as it makes it more likely that someone will trip over something useful. What matters from my point of view is that more people understand the problem with translating experience of qualia into data about qualia because if they are aware of this issue they may find some kind of solution which looks completely imposible right up to the point where it jumps out and hits you across the face with a wet fish. If you understand the key problem and know what you're actually looking for, you're more likely to recognise the solution if you stumble upon it. Beyond that, there is no need to evangelise any specific position.

Also, attempts to make people change position are almost always doomed to have the opposite effect, so it's counterproductive to go down that road. People need to make their own journey and not be pushed. It is sufficient to set out an argument and then leave it there. If people take it on board to any degree, they may gain. If they find a fault in it and destroy it, you gain instead by having a faulty argument destroyed, thereby liberating you to find a better approach.

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What you cannot understand is how consciousness or the mind ( I see the human mind or consciousness as a whole process which contains intelligence , emotions, feelings , imagination ...) can rise from those biological mechanical processes ? or as Dawkins put it , we can "revolt against the selfish mechanical tyranny of our genes " by deliberately modifying our selfish behavior via our free will : how, on earth, are we supposed to do just that , if we are just machines = we cannot have a free will = free will is an illusion ,according to this mechanical deterministic materialistic view of the universe , man, life , nature ...

People often put ideas across rather badly, framing them in ways that imply that they believe things they don't altogether believe in, so it's always hard to work out what their true position is. Dawkins in the context above is really talking about the ability of our intelligence to override the less intelligent evolved rules of behaviour programmed into our DNA. Our genes set up certain behaviours in us which are not always ideal, but they also generate a general purpose computer in our heads that can do a better job, and when it recognises that there are better ways to do some things (such as suppressing violent instincts in order to create a safer society in which random death by violence is massively less likely), instinctive behaviours can be overridden. He may attribute this to free will as a shorthand, but if you were to pick the point apart with him, he would probably agree that there is no such thing as free will and give a longer, more accurate account.

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"...consciousness, feelings , free will, good and evil, emotions, ethics , cultures, societies, politics, economics , religions or spirituality..."

There are a lot of diversions there which don't really have anything to do with consciousness. Free will is not free at all, even if qualia are real: extreme pain, if pain is real, may force you to try to act to try to reduce it in any way you can find, but there is no free will involved in that. Ethics is really just about weighing up the harm people do and minimising it within a system where some harm is necessarily allowed in order to make life fun: if you want the freedom to enjoy walking through a park, it has to be allowable for people to disturb others by walking about through a park. Some people are unable to weigh up the balance properly and will think they are allowed to push other people out of their way rather than walking round them, and some may think it's okay to stick a knife in them at the same time, but there's nothing supernaturally evil going on - all that's happening is that there are faults in the algorithms they run, and these may be caused by genetic errors, errors in the construction of the brain, or a violent upbringing which has taught the individual in question that no one else seems to care about the rules, so why should they.

Politics is an attempt to run things well and to apply morality through law, but it's all mechanistic, some of it being driven by instincts (homosexuality is not acceptable because we're programmed to find it disgusting), some is driven by cultural beliefs (homosexuality is not acceptable because this Holy book says so), and some of it is driven by direct thinking which may be right or wrong (homosexuality is not acceptable because it spreads disease; or homosexuality is acceptable because it does immense harm to people to prevent them from being the people they cannot help but be).

Religion is a kind of science in which magic is allowed as an explanation, but most of it is based on sense on some level. It began with things like hearing an echo coming out of an empty cave: you shout into it and a spirit shouts back at you. That isn't stupidity, but an attempt to understand something which happens to be wrong. Explorers used to write "here be dragons" on maps whenever they ran into a thunderstorm, and they weren't stupid either - they heard the dragons roaring and saw the fire that they breathed. That isn't part of a religion, but it works in the same way - it's an attempt at a scientific explanation that has gone wrong due to a bad assumption. A lot of religious beliefs are based on feelings, such as love and awe. These feelings may or may not be real, so exploring beliefs based on feelings really doesn't address the issue of consciousness itself - it is merely a diversion. What matters to us in this discussion is whether the feelings are real or not, and we can explore that best by looking at the most stark of qualia, pain. Pain drives behaviour more strongly than any other quale, although it only does so if pain isn't a fiction. We need to see a full cause-and-effect model of the process by which pain can drive something in order to see it as more than a fiction, and if someone can do that we will then be able to build similar models for all other qualia and explain the whole lot, but there's no point in trying to understand the whole mess in one go until we can explain the clearest case.

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How can even science itself ,or any other form of human knowledge  for that matter , to mention just that , how can they ever rise from those evolutionary  exclusively mechanical processes of ours ?

Evolution appears to have built the first information systems in the form of DNA. A second kind of information has then evolved in the form of brains, and one species has ended up with a universal computer which can turn itself to any task. Some of the programming of that computer has evolved to do what it does, but it has reached the point where the rest of the programming can be done through learning. Science comes out of the programming of this computer to try to model the world around it. None of that requires consciousness, but if consciousness is useful as part of the mechanism for some reason, there is no reason why evolution shouldn't have taken a pathway that includes it. We just don't know what its role is because it appears to be superfluous.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 17:36:07
At the very end of that book of his ,and after proving the "fact " that the apparent altruistic behavior is just selfishness in disguise ,even at the level of humans ,   Dawkins went on concluding that :
true altruism has never existed neither in nature nor in the history of the world .
But , we , as humans , are the only species that can revolt against the selfish tyranny of our genes, and against the "fact " that we were born as selfish creatures , by being able to deliberately and consciously modify our selfish behavior  by becoming truely altruistic , by teaching altruism, generosity ...blablabla ...


How , on earth, are we supposed to do just the latter , if we are just machines then ?

How, on earth, did we get to possess such unique property or quality to behave independently from our mechanical systems then ?
How, on earth, did those properties or qualities rise from our mechanical systems then , in the first place to begin with ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 17:42:05
Hi, David Cooper : see this :  the hidden truth of mind science , consciousness , and the quantum universe: interesting , despite the fact that it contains some minor bullshit as well :

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 09/09/2013 17:42:22
That's my boy!!! You have defined a cow by what it does, which is a whole lot different from "not being an uncow" because I can apply the moo test to any external object and thus identify a cow with no previous knowledge of what it is, or what it is like to be one.

So, what does a conscious being do, objectively, that distinguishes it from all non-conscious entities?

It experiences qualia. It is of course possible that a rock does too, as may all matter/energy/other. For things to experience qualia need not be problematic - they can just be something that happens. The difficulty only occurs when we try to imagine them as being part of a response and control system. We can build response and control systems which do not involve qualia in their chains of causation, but we can't work out how to build any that do involve qualia, even though we have biological machines which insist that qualia are involved in their response and control mechanisms.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 17:45:05
I think that the next level of human evolution will occur at the level of human consciousness indeed .Exciting .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 17:46:45
The "Nature " of Consciousness :

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 09/09/2013 17:54:40
A hall mark of consciousness is not just being self aware, but knowing that others are also aware, and being able to imagine or see something from the perspective of another conscious being.

That isn't a hallmark of consciousness (regardless of this label that is usually attached to it), but an indication that a certain level of intelligence has been reached. A machine can be programmed to recognise other machines and to judge that they have a different perspective on things, but with no consciousness being involved. It's important not to be misled by the labels where someone has incorrectly attached the word "consciousness" to something. "Self aware" does not require consciousness, but a lot of people assume that consciousness is tied up in the idea of awareness. A security lamp that switches on when a cat walks past at night is "aware" of the cat, but there is no concsiousness involved. Consciousness is not awareness, but a feeling of awareness; a feeling of understanding something; a feeling of some kind or other. It is always a feeling.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 09/09/2013 18:13:00
At the very end of that book of his ,and after proving the "fact " that the apparent altruistic behavior is just selfishness in disguise ,even at the level of humans ,   Dawkins went on concluding that :
true altruism has never existed neither in nature nor in the history of the world .
But , we , as humans , are the only species that can revolt against the selfish tyranny of our genes, and against the "fact " that we were born as selfish creatures , by being able to deliberately and consciously modify our selfish behavior  by becoming truely altruistic , by teaching altruism, generosity ...blablabla ...


How , on earth, are we supposed to do just the latter , if we are just machines then ?

How, on earth, did we get to possess such unique property or quality to behave independently from our mechanical systems then ?
How, on earth, did those properties or qualities rise from our mechanical systems then , in the first place to begin with ?

You've just posted three long extracts from Dawkins followed by the above in order to repeat a question you've already asked. I attempted to answer it in a post that appeared 3 minutes before you posted the above. They are mechanical processes running at a different level. The genes run at one level and determine a lot of our behaviour, but the rest happen in the general purpose computer through mechanical thought, and the ideas generated there are able to override the rough-and-ready directly-evolved behaviour control mechanisms programmed into the DNA.

[By the way, my internet connection is too slow for watching video. Even if that was not a barrier to me, it is sad in this day and age that so much content of the Internet is now being put out there in a form that can only be accessed at the speed of a snail. Video is a major step backwards for the communication of ideas, except where the visuals are important to the points being put across. Sometimes they are, but a diagram will often do just as well. Sometimes there is no substitute for video, but this is rare.]
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 19:05:15
Look, i do agree with most of what you were saying , form the materialistic point of view at least ,so :
Help me out here ,in order to make dlorde and alcanverd see the light haha :

Do you need anyone else to see the light? None of us can see how consciousness works, but maintaining a diversity of approach is a good thing as it makes it more likely that someone will trip over something useful.

( I made a mistake when i said that consciousness contains feelings , emotions, intelligence ....I intended to say the mind does ,in fact )

(We use words such as consciousness, mind , spirit , soul , awareness, self-awareness , conscious, unconscious, self-consciousness ...without specifying what we mean by just that .)

Indeed : that's 1 of the reasons why i am here .
I just do not buy that exclusive magical dogmatic ossified materialistic mechanical reductionistic approach of consciousness, feelings , the thought process, free will, good and evil ...

Materialism as a world view, philosophy, paradigm...should be confined only within  the field of inorganic and organic matter processes though , and even there , materialism holds no water ,as quantum physics had shown : "matter is not made of matter " ,so to speak .




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What matters from my point of view is that more people understand the problem with translating experience of qualia into data about qualia because if they are aware of this issue they may find some kind of solution which looks completely imposible

Yeah, but i do not see how that can be done so far ,especially under that dominating materialistic paradigm in science : we will need some serious shift of paradigm, i think ,in that regard at least .

 Maybe some genius will be able to do just that some day , let's hope so .


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right up to the point where it jumps out and hits you across the face with a wet fish. If you understand the key problem and know what you're actually looking for, you're more likely to recognise the solution if you stumble upon it. Beyond that, there is no need to evangelise any specific position.

Indeed, as long as that materialistic evangelic magical dogmatic materialistic approach of consciousness keeps on calling the shots in science , there will be no solution in sight .

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Also, attempts to make people change position are almost always doomed to have the opposite effect, so it's counterproductive to go down that road. People need to make their own journey and not be pushed. It is sufficient to set out an argument and then leave it there. If people take it on board to any degree, they may gain. If they find a fault in it and destroy it, you gain instead by having a faulty argument destroyed, thereby liberating you to find a better approach.

Yes, new ideas are first opposed , ridiculed ,and then accepted as obvious evidence afterwards : one should keeps on  looking indeed , and should not a -priori exclude any perspective on the subject, unless it turns out to be non-sense as the materialistic approach of our consciousness is  .

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What you cannot understand is how consciousness or the mind ( I see the human mind or consciousness as a whole process which contains intelligence , emotions, feelings , imagination ...) can rise from those biological mechanical processes ? or as Dawkins put it , we can "revolt against the selfish mechanical tyranny of our genes " by deliberately modifying our selfish behavior via our free will : how, on earth, are we supposed to do just that , if we are just machines = we cannot have a free will = free will is an illusion ,according to this mechanical deterministic materialistic view of the universe , man, life , nature ...

People often put ideas across rather badly, framing them in ways that imply that they believe things they don't altogether believe in, so it's always hard to work out what their true position is. Dawkins in the context above is really talking about the ability of our intelligence to override the less intelligent evolved rules of behaviour programmed into our DNA. Our genes set up certain behaviours in us which are not always ideal, but they also generate a general purpose computer in our heads that can do a better job, and when it recognises that there are better ways to do some things (such as suppressing violent instincts in order to create a safer society in which random death by violence is massively less likely), instinctive behaviours can be overridden. He may attribute this to free will as a shorthand, but if you were to pick the point apart with him, he would probably agree that there is no such thing as free will and give a longer, more accurate account.

The problem is ,neither Dawkins or others could  , would  , or did answer is :

How did that intelligence of ours or that ability of ours to override ....rise from our alleged mechanical systems, in the first place to begin with , and how does it  do just that you were saying , in fact ? 

Materialism excludes indeed any potential existence of the free will , but many self-declared materialists scientists whose works i read , do think free will does exist = a paradox .

I do think that free will does exist though, from a non-materialistic perspective, but that's another subject .


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"...consciousness, feelings , free will, good and evil, emotions, ethics , cultures, societies, politics, economics , religions or spirituality..."

There are a lot of diversions there which don't really have anything to do with consciousness. Free will is not free at all, even if qualia are real: extreme pain, if pain is real, may force you to try to act to try to reduce it in any way you can find, but there is no free will involved in that. Ethics is really just about weighing up the harm people do and minimising it within a system where some harm is necessarily allowed in order to make life fun: if you want the freedom to enjoy walking through a park, it has to be allowable for people to disturb others by walking about through a park. Some people are unable to weigh up the balance properly and will think they are allowed to push other people out of their way rather than walking round them, and some may think it's okay to stick a knife in them at the same time, but there's nothing supernaturally evil going on - all that's happening is that there are faults in the algorithms they run, and these may be caused by genetic errors, errors in the construction of the brain, or a violent upbringing which has taught the individual in question that no one else seems to care about the rules, so why should they.

Nature vs nurture : what about our own input ? we cannot be just machines ,no way , otherwise , just try to explain consciousness to me via that mechanical approach of yours = you cannot , unless you do try to kiss your materialism goodbye ...But ,even then, we are stuck in this : i do not think there will be ever any totally scientific answer to the hard problem of consciousness though .
The approach of consciousness relies more heavily on its corresponding world views mainly , so .

You do make it sound as if we are just some unconscious puppets in the hands of unconscious DNA machinery in its interactions with the environment ,nurture .

That's just the mainstream materialistic point of view on the subject i do not share :
we cannot explain human behavior just via biology genetics , environment and nurture ,without the notion of free will at least .
This exclusively biological genetic approach explains some parts of the human condition , human behavior, human suffering ....not all of it .
It cannot explain consciousness, feelings , emotions , love ....not in a million years ,despite what  promissory messianic materialism says on the subject .

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Politics is an attempt to run things well and to apply morality through law, but it's all mechanistic, some of it being driven by instincts (homosexuality is not acceptable because we're programmed to find it disgusting), some is driven by cultural beliefs (homosexuality is not acceptable because this Holy book says so), and some of it is driven by direct thinking which may be right or wrong (homosexuality is not acceptable because it spreads disease; or homosexuality is acceptable because it does immense harm to people to prevent them from being the people they cannot help but be).

You're not explaining anything via this mechanical approach , dude .


How can all that rise from our mechanical systems then ? makes no sense .

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Religion is a kind of science in which magic is allowed as an explanation, but most of it is based on sense on some level. It began with things like hearing an echo coming out of an empty cave: you shout into it and a spirit shouts back at you. That isn't stupidity, but an attempt to understand something which happens to be wrong. Explorers used to write "here be dragons" on maps whenever they ran into a thunderstorm, and they weren't stupid either - they heard the dragons roaring and saw the fire that they breathed. That isn't part of a religion, but it works in the same way - it's an attempt at a scientific explanation that has gone wrong due to a bad assumption. A lot of religious beliefs are based on feelings, such as love and awe. These feelings may or may not be real, so exploring beliefs based on feelings really doesn't address the issue of consciousness itself - it is merely a diversion. What matters to us in this discussion is whether the feelings are real or not, and we can explore that best by looking at the most stark of qualia, pain. Pain drives behaviour more strongly than any other quale, although it only does so if pain isn't a fiction. We need to see a full cause-and-effect model of the process by which pain can drive something in order to see it as more than a fiction, and if someone can do that we will then be able to build similar models for all other qualia and explain the whole lot, but there's no point in trying to understand the whole mess in one go until we can explain the clearest case
.

Funny way of  looking at things : ( Religions did evolve and still do,as the universe is still expanding , as the creation of the universe is still an ongoing dynamic process  , no wonder that early muslims did discover evolution itself , centuries before Darwin was even born, thanks to that evolutionary spirit of Islam mainly .Religions were the first to call for experience , personal experience , observation ...before science learned to ever do so : even science itself did originate from the epistemology of the Qur'an ...)
We always come back to square zero again : how can pain, suffering , consciousness, feelings , the thought process, thoughts ...rise from our alleged mechanical systems ?
Either they are illusions we take for real ,or both mind and body are 2   entirely different "systems " which do interact with each other :
But , we cannot yet explain how they interact with each other : an almost impossible issue .

Mind and body correlate or interact with each other : but materialists do confuse that correlation or interaction with causation .

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How can even science itself ,or any other form of human knowledge  for that matter , to mention just that , how can they ever rise from those evolutionary  exclusively mechanical processes of ours ?

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Evolution appears to have built the first information systems in the form of DNA. A second kind of information has then evolved in the form of brains, and one species has ended up with a universal computer which can turn itself to any task. Some of the programming of that computer has evolved to do what it does, but it has reached the point where the rest of the programming can be done through learning. Science comes out of the programming of this computer to try to model the world around it. None of that requires consciousness, but if consciousness is useful as part of the mechanism for some reason, there is no reason why evolution shouldn't have taken a pathway that includes it. We just don't know what its role is because it appears to be superfluous
.

Wrong : makes no sense to me whatsoever ; evolution cannot explain human consciousness ...pain, suffering ...feelings , love ...no way .

You, guys , just "replaced " the God of religion with other "gods " such as nature , evolution , computation, magical emergence ...

materialism just replaced religious metaphysics or theology with its own  materialism is another kind of ossified irrational exclusive orthodox religion ,which pretends to be scientific , which is absolutely not the case .

Science cannot exist without consciousness either .

Consciousness cannot rise from mechanical systems as you know .

Evolution might "program" our alleged mechanical systems to be flexible, to be able to adapt to new situations , to be able to to learn new things ,skills ...but it cannot explain our consciousness , feelings , thought process ....not just via that materialistic mechanical approach , no way .

You were just using some magical thinking here as well, unfortunately enough, just speculating ...

I do not see any fruitful or constructive insights ever being 'able " to "emerge " from that magical materialism thus ,sorry .

Thanks, appreciate

Take care

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 19:31:51
@ David Cooper ,dlorde :

Please , let's stop deceiving each other , let's be honest :

Why did you ,  ignore what that physicist said  about the dogmatic "religious " orthodox magical ossified exclusive ...materialism in science ?

Can you try to address what he said on that subject at least ?

Especially when it comes to the fact that materialists such as yourselves  do confuse their materialism as a world view , with ...science proper as such , ironically enough .

Worse :

 How can't you , as materialists , realise the fact that you have been deceiving people , in the name of science , by presenting materialistic views as ...scientific facts,or at least as scientific approaches  : materialistic views such as the "fact " that life is just a matter of mechanical biological processes , that the universe is exclusively material, that consciousness can be , some day , (Promissory messianic materialism ) , explained within that materialistic dominating paradigm in science ...?

There are a lots of  legetimate  issues like  that regarding materialism in science and elsewhere  , you just prefer to push under the table and ignore ,as if they do not exist  ....Why is that ? Why , if you are really what you pretend to be , guys : presumabely rational logical scientific people....Why ? Why this deceit , self-deceit , dishonesty or lack of integrity ?

I thought that you, David Cooper , would be courageous enough to be honest and have integrity regarding  these issues of pure materialistic beliefs imposed on and in the name of science  , but i see i made a mistake in that regard at least . 


You can believe whatever you want to believe in ,i have no problems with just that ,  but ,please , just have the decency integrity and honesty not to present them to people as scientific facts , or as scientific approaches at least ...while those materialistic beliefs of yours  , in fact , have nothing to do with science proper ...whatsoever ...

If there is no integrity to be detected in you , guys , regarding these issues , then , any discussions concerning  science ,  materialism and -in science , evolution, consciousness , free will ethics ,...and the rest , would be an utter waste of time , or just deceptive make -believe , ....= the "truth" we seem all to be looking for would be  the main victim, together with science itself, as a result ,unfortunately enough ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 19:53:31
At the very end of that book of his ,and after proving the "fact " that the apparent altruistic behavior is just selfishness in disguise ,even at the level of humans ,   Dawkins went on concluding that :
true altruism has never existed neither in nature nor in the history of the world .
But , we , as humans , are the only species that can revolt against the selfish tyranny of our genes, and against the "fact " that we were born as selfish creatures , by being able to deliberately and consciously modify our selfish behavior  by becoming truely altruistic , by teaching altruism, generosity ...blablabla ...


How , on earth, are we supposed to do just the latter , if we are just machines then ?

How, on earth, did we get to possess such unique property or quality to behave independently from our mechanical systems then ?
How, on earth, did those properties or qualities rise from our mechanical systems then , in the first place to begin with ?

You've just posted three long extracts from Dawkins followed by the above in order to repeat a question you've already asked. I attempted to answer it in a post that appeared 3 minutes before you posted the above. They are mechanical processes running at a different level. The genes run at one level and determine a lot of our behaviour, but the rest happen in the general purpose computer through mechanical thought, and the ideas generated there are able to override the rough-and-ready directly-evolved behaviour control mechanisms programmed into the DNA.

You just have been performing an amazing U boot turn , in total contrast with what you were saying earlier regarding the fact at least that consciousness cannot rise from mechanical systems ....cannot be explained by mechanical systems ...unless ....

What happened ? Why do you, guys , just resort to deliberately contradicting and therefore self-deceiving yourselves and others in the process  , whenever you are cornered via some detected anomalies and holes in your capacity of judgement ,or in your world view on the subject ?

What you said here above makes no sense whatsoever , unless we assume that our consciousness, feelings , free will, thought process ...are just sophisticated illusions we take for real in order to survive : but , if we do just that , then all our knowledge , including the scientific one, including that regarding evolution itself are therefore also just ...illusions , in order to survive , or in order to improve our survival ....Maybe lying to ourselves and to others may lead to the truth , as literature assumes it to be the case , maybe ...

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[By the way, my internet connection is too slow for watching video. Even if that was not a barrier to me, it is sad in this day and age that so much content of the Internet is now being put out there in a form that can only be accessed at the speed of a snail. Video is a major step backwards for the communication of ideas, except where the visuals are important to the points being put across. Sometimes they are, but a diagram will often do just as well. Sometimes there is no substitute for video, but this is rare.

You can try to download those videos and watch them later on .
I think that those kindda videos can shed some sort of light on the subjects they try to cover , videos  lectures , video debates ....but the kings of all human learning , education ....remain represented by books indeed ..by life experiences ....
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 09/09/2013 20:21:42
@ David Cooper ,dlorde :

Please , let's stop deceiving each other , let's be honest :
So you've been deceiving us, not being honest? ohhh... and to think I trusted you...  :)

You're probably confused about our responses because you have this weird idea that you can label us materialists based on our general opinions, then castigate us for not being True Materialiststm according to some straw man absolutist definition you've decided on.

It doesn't work like that. Materialism isn't some kind of fundamentalist religious sect, nor does it (or we) have to conform to your exacting expectations. Learn to live with it.

So, now that Dawkins & co, me, and David Cooper have been excluded from your True Materialiststm club, who is left ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 20:26:37
A hall mark of consciousness is not just being self aware, but knowing that others are also aware, and being able to imagine or see something from the perspective of another conscious being.

That isn't a hallmark of consciousness (regardless of this label that is usually attached to it), but an indication that a certain level of intelligence has been reached. A machine can be programmed to recognise other machines and to judge that they have a different perspective on things, but with no consciousness being involved. It's important not to be misled by the labels where someone has incorrectly attached the word "consciousness" to something. "Self aware" does not require consciousness, but a lot of people assume that consciousness is tied up in the idea of awareness. A security lamp that switches on when a cat walks past at night is "aware" of the cat, but there is no concsiousness involved. Consciousness is not awareness, but a feeling of awareness; a feeling of understanding something; a feeling of some kind or other. It is always a feeling.

If you reduce awareness or self-awareness to just a feeling of ....Then , they might be not real, in the sense that machines , animals ...can have them as well , as illusions of feeling of awareness , self-awareness , without being able to be   aware or self-aware ,in fact .

Self-awarness or awarness can also contain cognitive elements , maybe vague cognitive elements , but nevertheless cognitive ones , otherwise animals would be aware of things and of other beings as well as such , would be aware of themselves and of their own existence as such .

Animals ' or machines ' presumed awareness of the presence of others , or presumed self-awareness are  just that =  illusions= they are not real= their own presence and that of others are real , but their presumed awareness of them is not= they just detect both presences ,including their environment , mechanically , i suppose , i dunno   .
I saw once a video where scientists tried to prove the "fact " that adult chimps  and human kids of a certain age ( The latters at the age past 18 months ) can be able to "recognize " themselves in the mirror when they are put in front of the mirror = Is that an evidence of their self-awareness ?= I do not think so, for the above mentioned intrinsic cognitive elements of the real awareness or self-awareness of adult humans ..

Furthermore , most of the people are what we can call zombies , in the philosophical sense = lacking important degrees of consciousness or self-consciousness ...

Conclusion : The real awareness or self awareness ,  the real consciousness or self-consciousness do exist only at the levels of some adult humans , and they can be improved as well = extended levels of awareness , self-awareness, consciousness, self-consciousness ...they can be extended via meditation , personal experiences , ....via prayers ...via hard work ...via certain world views ...

Conciousness, self-consciousness, awareness, self-awareness ...might be just evolutionary mechanical sophisticated illusions we take for real as well , but they cannot rise from mechanical systems , let alone that you can try to explain them via mechanical materialistic approaches = you just confuse your materialistic views with science proper,sorry .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 09/09/2013 20:36:14
Self-awarness or awarness can also contain cognitive elements , maybe vague cognitive elements , but nevertheless cognitive ones ...
I don't think that word means what you think it means...

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Conciousness, self-consciousness, awareness, self-awareness ...might be just evolutionary mechanical sophisticated illusions we take for real as well , but they cannot rise from mechanical systems
So how does that work  - they might be mechanical illusions, but they can't arise from mechanical systems?

Shurely shome mishtake...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 09/09/2013 20:59:07
I just do not buy that exclusive magical dogmatic ossified materialistic mechanical reductionistic approach of consciousness, feelings , the thought process, free will, good and evil ...

And I don't buy into magic. How does magic work without a mechanism? The problem we have at the moment is that we can't find a solution that doesn't have some magic in it where a mechanism cannot be though up to account for how it does what it does. If we are to have some magic left though, our aim should be to try to keep the magical part to the minimum with as much as possible being explained through clear mechanisms.

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Materialism as a world view, philosophy, paradigm...should be confined only within  the field of inorganic and organic matter processes though , and even there , materialism holds no water ,as quantum physics had shown : "matter is not made of matter " ,so to speak .

Quantum physics doesn't eliminate the stuff of which we are made - it merely tells a different story of its nature, but one in which there is still stuff.

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The problem is ,neither Dawkins or others could  , would  , or did answer is :

How did that intelligence of ours or that ability of ours to override ....rise from our alleged mechanical systems, in the first place to begin with , and how does it  do just that you were saying , in fact ?

By a very long, slow process of evolution in which accidental advances are selected for. We have two systems for controlling how we relate to other people. One of them is primitive and based on programmed behaviours (instinctive ones), so if someone annoys you you might get angry with them, and then if you see them get upset or scared you are (hopefully) triggered into losing the anger and being nice to them again. We have a second system for doing the same job where we point out the thing the other person has done that has annoyed us instead of unleashing anger upon them, and then we talk our way to a resolution. This second way of dealing with situations is the computer side - we calculate our way to solutions in a way that is not limited by pre-programmed ways of behaving fixed by our genes. We have also evolved to be able to let this more advanced system override the more primitive one, though some of us are more successful than others at doing so, and of course some of us calculate better than others too, but the two different systems are there, they are distinct from each other, and the newer computational system is superior in enough individuals for us to have evolved a preference for allowing it to override the primitive system because it enhances our survival chances.

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Materialism excludes indeed any potential existence of the free will , but many self-declared materialists scientists whose works i read , do think free will does exist = a paradox .

Can you demonstrate your free will through a simple example of how you apply it? I can't demonstrate mine because I don't have any - I always try to do the best thing, and when I can't identify a best thing to do I have to struggle to find a way to make a random decision instead. If you have a choice between eating an orange and a lemon, your free will is powerless to make you pick the lemon other than as a futile attempt to prove that you have free will, in which case the decision is fully determined by that objective.

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Nature vs nurture : what about our own input ? we cannot be just machines ,no way , otherwise , just try to explain consciousness to me via that mechanical approach of yours = you cannot , unless you do try to kiss your materialism goodbye ...

If consciousness is real, there will be a way to fit it into the mechanical system. There is no reason why qualia shouldn't be real parts of a mechanical system, but there is a serious difficulty in seeing how they fit usefully in the chain of causation and in how the idea of their existence is communicated which needs to be accounted for.

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You do make it sound as if we are just some unconscious puppets in the hands of unconscious DNA machinery in its interactions with the environment ,nurture .

DNA has handed over control to reasoning performed by a computer. DNA merely codes for the construction of the computer and builds some default functionality into it, some of which can be overridden if the computations determine that it should be.

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That's just the mainstream materialistic point of view on the subject i do not share :
we cannot explain human behavior just via biology genetics , environment and nurture ,without the notion of free will at least .

Free will is a dead duck. There isn't any, as you'll eventually realise if you try to illustrate a case in which you can demonstrate any.

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This exclusively biological genetic approach explains some parts of the human condition , human behavior, human suffering ....not all of it .
It cannot explain consciousness, feelings , emotions , love ....not in a million years ,despite what  promissory messianic materialism says on the subject .

If qualia are involved in the mechanism, all of those things will be compatible with materialism.

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Politics is an attempt to run things well and to apply morality through law, but it's all mechanistic, some of it being driven by instincts (homosexuality is not acceptable because we're programmed to find it disgusting), some is driven by cultural beliefs (homosexuality is not acceptable because this Holy book says so), and some of it is driven by direct thinking which may be right or wrong (homosexuality is not acceptable because it spreads disease; or homosexuality is acceptable because it does immense harm to people to prevent them from being the people they cannot help but be).

You're not explaining anything via this mechanical approach , dude .

How can all that rise from our mechanical systems then ? makes no sense .

I'm showing you how politics works. Some people try to ban things that disgust them; some people try to ban things that go against a set of rules that they've bought into; some people try to ban things that they think are dangerous; and some can balance things up in such a way that they recognise that some dangers are not bad enough to justify banning them because a ban can result in greater damage. All of that is mechanistic, and politics is just a fight between rival ideas of how things should be done.

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Funny way of  looking at things : ( Religions did evolve and still do,as the universe is still expanding , as the creation of the universe is still an ongoing dynamic process  , no wonder that early muslims did discover evolution itself , centuries before Darwin was even born, thanks to that evolutionary spirit of Islam mainly .Religions were the first to call for experience , personal experience , observation ...before science learned to ever do so : even science itself did originate from the epistemology of the Qur'an ...)

Religion is a primitive form of science. Not all the primitivity has been removed from science even now, as you are aware - there is still some magic in there in places which needs to be eliminated.

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We always come back to square zero again : how can pain, suffering , consciousness, feelings , the thought process, thoughts ...rise from our alleged mechanical systems ?
Either they are illusions we take for real ,or both mind and body are 2   entirely different "systems " which do interact with each other :
But , we cannot yet explain how they interact with each other : an almost impossible issue .

That is indeed the problem, but there are only three possible solutions:-

(1): There is no such thing as consciousness.

(2): It works by magic.

(3): There is a mechanism behind consciousness which can account for it fully.

I think most of us would like (3) to be the case, but if there is no such solution we're left with just two nasty alternatives.

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Evolution appears to have built the first information systems in the form of DNA. A second kind of information has then evolved in the form of brains, and one species has ended up with a universal computer which can turn itself to any task. Some of the programming of that computer has evolved to do what it does, but it has reached the point where the rest of the programming can be done through learning. Science comes out of the programming of this computer to try to model the world around it. None of that requires consciousness, but if consciousness is useful as part of the mechanism for some reason, there is no reason why evolution shouldn't have taken a pathway that includes it. We just don't know what its role is because it appears to be superfluous
.

Wrong : makes no sense to me whatsoever ; evolution cannot explain human consciousness ...pain, suffering ...feelings , love ...no way .

It isn't wrong. It won't explain qualia, of course, but it will (if qualia are really part of the process) account for how they are used in the system to make it do what it does.

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You, guys , just "replaced " the God of religion with other "gods " such as nature , evolution , computation, magical emergence ...

I'm not giving you any magical emergence or gods. Evolution is a process by which complex functionality can come into being through as series of small steps without being designed. Any accidental step that leads to a survival advantage is likely to be retained and then be built upon by further accidental steps, and we have a chain of species to look at which serve as examples of different steps in evolved intelligence. We aren't massively different in the brain department from other apes, but we have reached the point where our brains have become full general intelligence systems which can be turned to any task. Other species can't do this as they are at least one step short of having that capability.

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materialism just replaced religious metaphysics or theology with its own  materialism is another kind of ossified irrational exclusive orthodox religion ,which pretends to be scientific , which is absolutely not the case .

Materialism is the rejection of magic. Not all materialists manage to recognise where there is still magic in their model, but that is their aim nonetheless.

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Science cannot exist without consciousness either .

An intelligent computer can do science.

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Consciousness cannot rise from mechanical systems as you know .

Consciousness would need to exist in some form already and merely be incorporated into mechanical systems.

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Evolution might "program" our alleged mechanical systems to be flexible, to be able to adapt to new situations , to be able to to learn new things ,skills ...but it cannot explain our consciousness , feelings , thought process ....not just via that materialistic mechanical approach , no way .

The energy out of which a rock is made may be experiencing feelings all the time. That may be a standard property of all stuff, and a whole range of qualia may be available states of feeling for that stuff. That is not problematic. What is problematic is how you build it into a response-and-control system and get it to serve a clear purpose there as part of the chain of causation, plus how these feelings can lead to true data about feelings being generated by information systems.

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You were just using some magical thinking here as well, unfortunately enough, just speculating ...

Where have I used magical thinking?

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I do not see any fruitful or constructive insights ever being 'able " to "emerge " from that magical materialism thus ,sorry .

I see nothing useful coming out of magical thinking of any kind - it is a non-explanation which denies mechanism. Your alternative to materialism-with-a-bit-of-magic-built-in is to ditch all the materialism and just have the magic. My alternative to it is to ditch all the magic and just have the materialism. My materialism has room for qualia in it, but I am stuck at the point where I try to fit qualia into the model to make them non-superfluous and to allow their existence to be recognised by the information system.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 09/09/2013 21:19:55
@ David Cooper ,dlorde :

Please , let's stop deceiving each other , let's be honest :

Why did you ,  ignore what that physicist said  about the dogmatic "religious " orthodox magical ossified exclusive ...materialism in science ?

If I ignore things, it's usually where the point is put across so badly that I'd rather wait for it to be made again in a better form. Sometimes I can't work out what the question is, but I assume that if there is a decent question there and I don't answer it it will come back later on expressed in a more intelligible form and without being spread across many paragraphs of unnecessary bloat.

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Can you try to address what he said on that subject at least ?

Especially when it comes to the fact that materialists such as yourselves  do confuse their materialism as a world view , with ...science proper as such , ironically enough .

That is a case in point. Where's the actual question?

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Worse :

 How can't you , as materialists , realise the fact that you have been deceiving people , in the name of science , by presenting materialistic views as ...scientific facts,or at least as scientific approaches  : materialistic views such as the "fact " that life is just a matter of mechanical biological processes , that the universe is exclusively material, that consciousness can be , some day , (Promissory messianic materialism ) , explained within that materialistic dominating paradigm in science ...?

I'm not deceiving anyone. When I say something can be done mechanistically, it's because I can see the mechanism myself. When I can't see the whole mechanism, I point out that there's a bit of mechanism missing, and where it's not only missing but looks impossible to fit into the model, I make a point of saying so.

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There are a lots of  legetimate  issues like  that regarding materialism in science and elsewhere  , you just prefer to push under the table and ignore ,as if they do not exist  ....Why is that ? Why , if you are really what you pretend to be , guys : presumabely rational logical scientific people....Why ? Why this deceit , self-deceit , dishonesty or lack of integrity ?

I never push the gaps in understanding under the table. I always focus on mechanism and insist that any missing bits are flagged up. In the case of intelligence and all the things we do that depend upon it (politics, morality, etc.) I can see an entire mechanism behind them which does not need to involve consciousness. There may be an alternative mechanism behind them which does involve consciousness too, but there are difficulties with building the model for that.

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I thought that you, David Cooper , would be courageous enough to be honest and have integrity regarding  these issues of pure materialistic beliefs imposed on and in the name of science  , but i see i made a mistake in that regard at least .  [/b]

You are making the mistake now of thinking I'm being dishonest about this. I'm telling you how I see it, and up to a point I'm willing to take you through chunks of mechanism which you think have to rely on magic, although I am not going to go into so much detail as to give away industrial secrets relating to my AGI work.

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You can believe whatever you want to believe in ,i have no problems with just that ,  but ,please , just have the decency integrity and honesty not to present them to people as scientific facts , or as scientific approaches at least ...while those materialistic beliefs of yours  , in fact , have nothing to do with science proper ...whatsoever ...

If I have said something is a fact, I will back it up. All you have to do is point to one of my claimed facts and tell me why it's wrong.

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If there is no integrity to be detected in you , guys , regarding these issues , then , any discussions concerning  science ,  materialism and -in science , evolution, consciousness , free will ethics ,...and the rest , would be an utter waste of time , or just deceptive make -believe , ....= the "truth" we seem all to be looking for would be  the main victim, together with science itself, as a result ,unfortunately enough ...

It's no use just flinging a whole lot of concepts around and asserting that they work by magic. You need to focus down on something specific that I have said which you disagree with and tell me where I've gone wrong.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 09/09/2013 21:20:11
@ David Cooper ,dlorde :

Please , let's stop deceiving each other , let's be honest :
So you've been deceiving us, not being honest? ohhh... and to think I trusted you...  :)

You're probably confused about our responses because you have this weird idea that you can label us materialists based on our general opinions, then castigate us for not being True Materialiststm according to some straw man absolutist definition you've decided on.

It doesn't work like that. Materialism isn't some kind of fundamentalist religious sect, nor does it (or we) have to conform to your exacting expectations. Learn to live with it.

That says a lot about you .

What's wrong about objectivity , honesty , integrity, decency ?

I am mainly trying to be objective with you , guys (Objectivity is not as easy to achieve as you might think : total objectivity is even a myth )

I am trying to be honest with myself and with you , guys , as a result,that's all  .

"Searching for the truth and science as a means to approach the truth or reality " require some degrees of objectivity , integrity at least , honesty , ....Don't you agree ?

You can believe in whatever you wanna believe in, i have no problem with that , once again , but , please do not present your own beliefs as scientific facts or as scientific approaches : just present them as your beliefs ,as they actually are = that i can respect : That's what i meant by objectivity , honesty, decency, integrity ...

Just try to be objective , honest ,decent ,  with integrity enough to be willing to separate science proper from your beliefs , as i try to do in relation to mine as well , as much as possible though .

What's wrong with that either ?

Those who do not detect dishonesty both in themselves and in others , please do rise : those who do not sin , please , go ahead and throw stones at the other sinners ...Get the metaphor or pic ? 

Have you not ever experienced either the conscious or the sub-conscious self-deceit ? =That amazing intrinsic capacity or property of the human mind by the way , we can never be totally free from, even Dawkins himself talked about in his "Selfish Gene " by the way , a self-deceit capacity and property of our minds we seem to have developed in ourselves , both consciously and sub-consciously , via evolution .
 Have you not ever experienced  deliberate or sub-conscious self-deceit or conscious , sub-conscious deceit of others ? = we all have , without any exception , including Mother Theresa ....haha = there are neither secular no religious saints out there , inclluding prophets even , to some degree at least .


You know : There  was  even a guy who won the Nobel prize for literature :Atheist writer French  Albert Camus , just essentially because he tried to be as honest , as objective , as decent with himself and others in his masterpiece novel as possible : The fall or "La Chute " in French : That novel had so much impact on me during my immoral Don _Juan like materialist existence previously , that it made me change my life course : how about just that ? An atheist inspired me to change my life radically : nice , isn't it ?

The story of the genesis of that novel goes a bit like this :

Albert Camus wrote a philosophical essay condemning in it the suspicious double morality or double face of existentialists prominent figures such as Sartre and co , in the sense that they hold the following fundamentally hypocrit contradictory "convictions " :

They were  Stalinian Marxists  , and they pretended  to stand for the absolute freedom of the individual, at the same time  = a paradox = Marxism as a very negation of any degree of human liberty .

Sartre and co , reacted so violently as to express explicit doubts regarding the very integrity or knowledge of Camus in relation to philosophy in general .

Camus went through a devastating self-doubt process , a devastating crisis of identity which scarred his soul for life , as he put it :

His brilliant answer to Sartre and co was in the shape of that novel of his ( He got the nobel prize for his whole oeuvre in fact ) : try to read that novel where he used the Cartesian doubt , combined with the secular version of confession , combined with Pascal's philosophy ....combined with the mirror technique in literature ...combined with telling "lies " in order to get to the "truth " in literature ....and you will discover what i was talking about ...This was just an analogy , no comparison with this "conflict " of ours we have ...though .

Dawkins 30th edition of his "Selfish Gene " i did download from internet also told the stories of many people who went through devastating   despair , depression ... doubt , self-doubt ...phases ,after reading the "truths " contained in that book ....by the way .

Anyway :

Look, let's be honest indeed and stop deceiving each other , even sub-consciously , if we can at least : as much as possible though , in order to have constructive discussions we can learn from , what's wrong about that ?

What i meant : i said it clearly : you are dishonest enough to present your materialistic views as scientific facts , or at least as scientific approaches ....

I am not immune to that either ,in relation to my own beliefs : i just do no present my own beliefs as scientific facts , or as scientific approaches at least ...

And i cannot say that i can be  objective, honest , decent , with integrity ...all the time , no way : nobody can say just that about himself/herself , otherwise they would be lying obviously .

What's wrong about what i said here above and in my other post you responded to , that it made you say these irrational things of yours then ?

Thanks , appreciate

Kind regards

Take care
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 09/09/2013 21:33:29
You've just posted three long extracts from Dawkins followed by the above in order to repeat a question you've already asked. I attempted to answer it in a post that appeared 3 minutes before you posted the above. They are mechanical processes running at a different level. The genes run at one level and determine a lot of our behaviour, but the rest happen in the general purpose computer through mechanical thought, and the ideas generated there are able to override the rough-and-ready directly-evolved behaviour control mechanisms programmed into the DNA.

You just have been performing an amazing U boot turn , in total contrast with what you were saying earlier regarding the fact at least that consciousness cannot rise from mechanical systems ....cannot be explained by mechanical systems ...unless ....

I haven't made any U-turn. You're just having difficulty understanding what you're reading.

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What happened ? Why do you, guys , just resort to deliberately contradicting and therefore self-deceiving yourselves and others in the process  , whenever you are cornered via some detected anomalies and holes in your capacity of judgement ,or in your world view on the subject ?

Where's the contradiction?

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What you said here above makes no sense whatsoever , unless we assume that our consciousness, feelings , free will, thought process ...are just sophisticated illusions we take for real in order to survive : but , if we do just that , then all our knowledge , including the scientific one, including that regarding evolution itself are therefore also just ...illusions , in order to survive , or in order to improve our survival ....Maybe lying to ourselves and to others may lead to the truth , as literature assumes it to be the case , maybe ...

The machine exists. It may not exist in the form we think it exists in, but it exists in some form and it functions mechanically. It doesn't need consciousness to function unless that has somehow been built into the mechanism. Either way though, there is the DNA specifying the build of the brain and some of its functionality, and then the brain performs calculations which can be used to steer the behaviour of the machine. The involvement of consciousness in that is unimportant to the issue of how there can be two systems in the machine with one (the newer one which is programmed by interactions with the external world) able to override the other (the primitive one programmed directly by genes).
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 09/09/2013 22:44:36
What's wrong about objectivity , honesty , integrity, decency ?
Nothing at all, they are laudable aims.

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"Searching for the truth and science as a means to approach the truth or reality " require some degrees of objectivity , integrity at least , honesty , ....Don't you agree ?
Science doesn't claim to search for truth, or even reality; nevertheless, it does help to have objectivity, integrity, and honesty in scientific work and in general.

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please do not present your own beliefs as scientific facts or as scientific approaches : just present them as your beliefs ,as they actually are = that i can respect : That's what i meant by objectivity , honesty, decency, integrity ...
That's my intent. By all means point out any examples where you think I go astray.

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What's wrong about what i said here above and in my other post you responded to , that it made you say these irrational things of yours then ?
What irrational things do you mean? if you have a problem with something I said, quote it and explain the problem.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 10/09/2013 13:59:28
A hall mark of consciousness is not just being self aware, but knowing that others are also aware, and being able to imagine or see something from the perspective of another conscious being.

That isn't a hallmark of consciousness (regardless of this label that is usually attached to it), but an indication that a certain level of intelligence has been reached. A machine can be programmed to recognise other machines and to judge that they have a different perspective on things, but with no consciousness being involved. It's important not to be misled by the labels where someone has incorrectly attached the word "consciousness" to something. "Self aware" does not require consciousness, but a lot of people assume that consciousness is tied up in the idea of awareness. A security lamp that switches on when a cat walks past at night is "aware" of the cat, but there is no concsiousness involved. Consciousness is not awareness, but a feeling of awareness; a feeling of understanding something; a feeling of some kind or other. It is always a feeling.

I don't know if the cat and lamp post is the best analogy. Even if the lamp post is set up to turn on all the other lamp posts in the yard that do not sense the cat, they essentially become parts of the same machine. Not to mention the fact that the lamp post is not really "aware" of a cat, or the significance of cats, it's detecting something like movement and is as likely to be set off by rustling leaves. In the chimp experiment, the threat was someone dressed as a veterinarian with a large needle, that all the chimps were afraid of because of past painful vaccinations. 

I suspect whatever experiment is offered up, someone will claim they can replicate the details of it with computers, or that the experiment cannot prove what the chimp is actually "feeling," therefore it cannot tell us anything about true consciousness, whose definition, like the word "feeling," remains elusive and constantly changing.

As flawed as these experiments may be, I still feel they contribute something to the bulk of evidence supporting a biological basis of consciousness. And certainly the explanations are more reasonable than claiming the consciousness springs from nothing at all, which reminds me of the spontaneous generation arguments hundreds of years ago.

Recently there was news about the first brain to brain interface, in which a researcher at the University of Washington was able to move another scientist's hand across campus. That isn't exactly a Vulcan mind meld, but it's pretty cool, and it does make you wonder if these methods will become sophisticated enough to allow someone to experience another person's consciousness. But I am also afraid that if you were able to do that and hooked a person up to a chimp, DonQuixote would claim they were only experiencing the "illusion" of the chimp's consciousness.

Nevertheless, experiments can invalidate certain claims. DonQuixote asserted earlier that his consciousness or cognitive understanding informs his emotional responses, but fMRI imaging has shown that is not the actual sequence of events, make of that what you will. And you are probably also aware of FMRI imaging that demonstrates the brain deciding to act before the subject is aware that he has decided to do something. Until we can do mind melds, we may be limited in explaining the qualitative aspects of feelings, but we can certainly find out what happens when inside the brain.

But again, no matter what research methodology or evidence is offered up, no matter how much science progresses towards understanding phenomena which were once thought to be not only unmeasurable, but untraceable and undefinable, it's never enough for those who cannot or do not want to believe that we are physical beings and mortal. 

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 10/09/2013 17:36:14
What's wrong about objectivity , honesty , integrity, decency ?
Nothing at all, they are laudable aims.

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"Searching for the truth and science as a means to approach the truth or reality " require some degrees of objectivity , integrity at least , honesty , ....Don't you agree ?
Science doesn't claim to search for truth, or even reality; nevertheless, it does help to have objectivity, integrity, and honesty in scientific work and in general.

Ok, we do agree with each other on that at least : that was my core point .
Besides, I am not gonna argue with you concerning the fact that science tries to approach the truth , reality though .

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please do not present your own beliefs as scientific facts or as scientific approaches : just present them as your beliefs ,as they actually are = that i can respect : That's what i meant by objectivity , honesty, decency, integrity ...
That's my intent. By all means point out any examples where you think I go astray.

Well, see that post of mine to you and to Cooper as well on the subject , Cooper did try to address his own way at least .

I will add the following objection too to all that :

How can you consider the following as a scientific approach , and not as a materialistic view point :

Our alleged evolved ability to  rebel against our genes ,via our evolved brain , and therefore to be independent in that regard at least : how can our mechanical brain accomplish such a performance   then ? How can a mechanical system such as our brain generate such independence ?

How can that alleged independence "emerge " from our complex evolved so-called mechanical brain then ?

You tell me ...


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What's wrong about what i said here above and in my other post you responded to , that it made you say these irrational things of yours then ?
What irrational things do you mean? if you have a problem with something I said, quote it and explain the problem.

See that post of yours here above ,as a reply to mine on the subject thus :

(So , you have been deceiving us , I trusted you ....learn to live with it ....things like that .... ).

P.S.: I have been honest with you, guys , all the way and all along so far though.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 10/09/2013 17:48:01
...if you were able to do that and hooked a person up to a chimp, DonQuixote would claim they were only experiencing the "illusion" of the chimp's consciousness.

That would be a fun experiment, though any feelings involved in the human triggered by the inputs from the chimp would depend on human feelings which might be nothing like those experienced by the chimp. It is interesting though that our friend DonQuichotte thinks chimps lack consciousness. There's a biological machine which is almost the same as us and superior intellectually to some people, and yet chimps supposedly lack consciousness while people have it. All these mechanisms which we have that are driven by likes and dislikes, by discomfort and pleasure, are unnecessary in all other creatures? They are all zombies? Why do we have them if all other creatures have no need of them?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 10/09/2013 17:51:06
A hall mark of consciousness is not just being self aware, but knowing that others are also aware, and being able to imagine or see something from the perspective of another conscious being.

That isn't a hallmark of consciousness (regardless of this label that is usually attached to it), but an indication that a certain level of intelligence has been reached. A machine can be programmed to recognise other machines and to judge that they have a different perspective on things, but with no consciousness being involved. It's important not to be misled by the labels where someone has incorrectly attached the word "consciousness" to something. "Self aware" does not require consciousness, but a lot of people assume that consciousness is tied up in the idea of awareness. A security lamp that switches on when a cat walks past at night is "aware" of the cat, but there is no concsiousness involved. Consciousness is not awareness, but a feeling of awareness; a feeling of understanding something; a feeling of some kind or other. It is always a feeling.

I don't know if the cat and lamp post is the best analogy. Even if the lamp post is set up to turn on all the other lamp posts in the yard that do not sense the cat, they essentially become parts of the same machine. Not to mention the fact that the lamp post is not really "aware" of a cat, or the significance of cats, it's detecting something like movement and is as likely to be set off by rustling leaves. In the chimp experiment, the threat was someone dressed as a veterinarian with a large needle, that all the chimps were afraid of because of past painful vaccinations. 

I suspect whatever experiment is offered up, someone will claim they can replicate the details of it with computers, or that the experiment cannot prove what the chimp is actually "feeling," therefore it cannot tell us anything about true consciousness, whose definition, like the word "feeling," remains elusive and constantly changing.

As flawed as these experiments may be, I still feel they contribute something to the bulk of evidence supporting a biological basis of consciousness. And certainly the explanations are more reasonable than claiming the consciousness springs from nothing at all, which reminds me of the spontaneous generation arguments hundreds of years ago.

Recently there was news about the first brain to brain interface, in which a researcher at the University of Washington was able to move another scientist's hand across campus. That isn't exactly a Vulcan mind meld, but it's pretty cool, and it does make you wonder if these methods will become sophisticated enough to allow someone to experience another person's consciousness. But I am also afraid that if you were able to do that and hooked a person up to a chimp, DonQuixote would claim they were only experiencing the "illusion" of the chimp's consciousness.

Nevertheless, experiments can invalidate certain claims. DonQuixote asserted earlier that his consciousness or cognitive understanding informs his emotional responses, but fMRI imaging has shown that is not the actual sequence of events, make of that what you will. And you are probably also aware of FMRI imaging that demonstrates the brain deciding to act before the subject is aware that he has decided to do something. Until we can do mind melds, we may be limited in explaining the qualitative aspects of feelings, but we can certainly find out what happens when inside the brain.

But again, no matter what research methodology or evidence is offered up, no matter how much science progresses towards understanding phenomena which were once thought to be not only unmeasurable, but untraceable and undefinable, it's never enough for those who cannot or do not want to believe that we are physical beings and mortal.

I am gonna respond only to what you said about me , to some extent at least :
First of all , I cannot say i understand what consciousness is or how it operates ,let alone that i can do just that in relation to awareness ...I just said things in that regard without really thinking about what i was saying .

Second : i am well aware of those experiments that show that one can predict the potential "decisions " of a subject , 6 secs before he/she  can do that himself/herself : but , those experiments were just conducted at the level of the brain only = our decisions do involve sub-conscious as well as conscious elements though : so , just studying the brain only in that regard would only give us incomplete and non-conclusive results on the subject at hand .

But then again, our Cooper or dlorde here would say that mechanical systems or programmed machines can make "decisions" also ,even though they cannot be conscious ...But , i think that our decision -making process is in a way different than those of machines, in the sense that our mind did not "emerge " from our evolved brain = our mind has some degree of independence= our mind is not mechanical  ...I dunno ...The notion of human free will is a very nasty elusive deceptive one  humanity has been struggling with for so long now that there seems to be no end in sight to it,so... We cannot pretend to solve that human free will issue .....for the time being at least though .

Which brings us back to square zero again ,regarding the issue of the brain and consciousness :

I assume that they are both different "systems " which do correlate and interact with each other ,materialists mainly do confuse with ..causation though .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 10/09/2013 18:10:42
How can you consider the following as a scientific approach , and not as a materialistic view point :

Our alleged evolved ability to  rebel against our genes ,via our evolved brain , and therefore to be independent in that regard at least : how can our mechanical brain accomplish such a performance   then ? How can a mechanical system such as our brain generate such independence ?

How can that alleged independence "emerge " from our complex evolved so-called mechanical brain then ?

It might be more correct to say that the genes aren't overridden - they program for a system which is capable of calculating intelligently, so the genes are still winning out. It's only the simpler systems which aren't able to calculate intelligently that are being overridden by the newer system involving complex thinking. When you look at it like that, it's not so very different from two competing instincts, one which tries to make an animal run away from a possible danger while another instinct makes it stay where it is in order to continue feeding on some good fruit that's growing on a bush. If the fear outweighs the desire to eat, the animal will run away. When you add some decent calculation into the equation and make it a person feeding from a bush covered in fruit while a lion is approaching, that person can override the fear based on the knowledge that there is a hidden ravine between him and the lion which it won't be able to cross. Knowledge and understanding overrides the fear and may even remove the fear altogether. This could happen in many animals too, their knowledge of things unseen being used to override/modify their feelings. It's a small step from there to more complex thoughts also being able to override instinctive behaviours, so it isn't such a jump to get to the point where we can reject our instinct to be violent and suppress those desires deliberately in order to live in a more peaceful, safe society.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 10/09/2013 18:11:00
I think we are approaching DQ's definition of consciousness as "that which is unique to humans".

Problem is that we can trace a continuum of evolution that suggests a common ancestor with some nonhuman species - gorillas, orangutans, etc., so he needs to tell us whether this mysterious attribute occurred at the moment of divergence or some time later in the hominid line, and why, if it is so closely associated with a purely genetic origin, it is itself not genetic and therefore mechanistic in origin.

It's also slightly odd that although we exploit various animals, the only ones that fully and willingly integrate into human society as partners are dogs, which are very different from the apes we resemble. Can it be that they share our consciousness, whatever that means? 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 10/09/2013 18:35:27
How can you consider the following as a scientific approach , and not as a materialistic view point :

Our alleged evolved ability to  rebel against our genes ,via our evolved brain , and therefore to be independent in that regard at least : how can our mechanical brain accomplish such a performance   then ? How can a mechanical system such as our brain generate such independence ?

How can that alleged independence "emerge " from our complex evolved so-called mechanical brain then ?

It might be more correct to say that the genes aren't overridden - they program for a system which is capable of calculating intelligently, so the genes are still winning out. It's only the simpler systems which aren't able to calculate intelligently that are being overridden by the newer system involving complex thinking. When you look at it like that, it's not so very different from two competing instincts, one which tries to make an animal run away from a possible danger while another instinct makes it stay where it is in order to continue feeding on some good fruit that's growing on a bush. If the fear outweighs the desire to eat, the animal will run away. When you add some decent calculation into the equation and make it a person feeding from a bush covered in fruit while a lion is approaching, that person can override the fear based on the knowledge that there is a hidden ravine between him and the lion which it won't be able to cross. Knowledge and understanding overrides the fear and may even remove the fear altogether. This could happen in many animals too, their knowledge of things unseen being used to override/modify their feelings. It's a small step from there to more complex thoughts also being able to override instinctive behaviours, so it isn't such a jump to get to the point where we can reject our instinct to be violent and suppress those desires deliberately in order to live in a more peaceful, safe society.

That might be relatively true ,if we eliminate the hard problem of human consciousness from the "equation " ,but we can't ...

The human mind or the human consciousness are no mechanical processes : no one has been able to prove just that = makes no sense whatsoever either , unless we confine ourselves within the narrow exclusive boundaries key holes or tunnel visions of the mechanical materialism on the subject .

Our consciousness or mind might be just sophisticated built -in in our evolutionary alleged mechanical systems illusions survival strategies , but then again , that would imply that all our knowledge , including the scientific one, including that concerning evolution itself ...to mention just that ...that would imply explicitly that they are all just illusions = a paradox .

At the other hand , If consciousness is real , you cannot "build " it in mechanical systems it cannot rise from = i do not see how one can do just that in fact , no matter how you try to "incorporate or integrate " consciousness in mechanical systems ,via trying to find out how the mechanical data gets translated or converted to consciousness, as you put it at least  : maybe our consciousness just gets informed somehow ,don't tell me how, i dunno, via our sensory "inputs " about some data it acts upon as a result by triggering the response to that data generated by our senses, to action , i dunno - I am as in the dark in this as we all are : we are stuck in this, for the time being at least .


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 10/09/2013 18:58:38
The human mind or the human consciousness are no mechanical processes : no one has been able to prove just that = makes no sense whatsoever either , unless we confine ourselves within the narrow exclusive boundaries key holes or tunnel visions of the mechanical materialism on the subject .

The problem is that we have a mechanical biological machine that acts mechanically without appearing to need consciousness. A simple example is with pain where an input signalling potential damage feeds into some part of the brain where pain is perhaps experienced, then a signal goes on from there to trigger an action to respond to it, but the part of that model where pain is experienced is superfluous as the input signal might as well just become the output signal without any pain being generated in the middle. That doesn't mean that pain isn't generated somewhere along the way, but with humans at least there is also data generated which asserts that there was some pain generated. If that is really happening (i.e. pain is being felt and the information is being informed of that), then there has to be a mechanism of some kind which generates that information, so putting consciousness into the model requires it to tie into the whole system mechanically.

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At the other hand , If consciousness is real , you cannot "build " it in mechanical systems it cannot rise from = i do not see how one can do just that in fact , no matter how you try to "incorporate or integrate " consciousness in mechanical systems ,via trying to find out how the mechanical data gets translated or converted to consciousness, as you put it at least  : maybe our consciousness just gets informed somehow ,don't tell me how, i dunno, via our sensory "inputs " about some data it acts upon as a result by triggering the response to that data generated by our senses, to action , i dunno - I am as in the dark in this as we all are : we are stuck in this, for the time being at least .

It is not beyond possibility that consciousness is not found within the biological machines that we see. They could be more like books. You read a book and get caught up in the story and feel for the characters in it. This universe might be a virtual realm that holds interactive stories, and consciousnesses on the outside (the real us) get tied into it such that they can feel for the machines which they are in control of. But the key thing here is that controlling aspect. If our feelings are causing those machines to behave differently depending on how we feel, there must be a causation mechanism involved by which those feelings lead to the machines being steered in their behaviour. You can try to replace mechanism with magic, but in doing so you can only hide mechanism - there must still be a mechanism by which any magic operates, so it is not a good answer to anything.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 10/09/2013 19:43:20
The human mind or the human consciousness are no mechanical processes : no one has been able to prove just that = makes no sense whatsoever either , unless we confine ourselves within the narrow exclusive boundaries key holes or tunnel visions of the mechanical materialism on the subject .

The problem is that we have a mechanical biological machine that acts mechanically without appearing to need consciousness. A simple example is with pain where an input signalling potential damage feeds into some part of the brain where pain is perhaps experienced, then a signal goes on from there to trigger an action to respond to it, but the part of that model where pain is experienced is superfluous as the input signal might as well just become the output signal without any pain being generated in the middle. That doesn't mean that pain isn't generated somewhere along the way, but with humans at least there is also data generated which asserts that there was some pain generated. If that is really happening (i.e. pain is being felt and the information is being informed of that), then there has to be a mechanism of some kind which generates that information, so putting consciousness into the model requires it to tie into the whole system mechanically.

Pain is real ,not an illusion,  dude :

You cannot build the human real feeling of pain in a machine either ,no matter how hard you try to do just that, you can just make it simulate that = you cannot make any mechanical system generate a totally different process than his ,no way  .

Consciousness is immaterial = you cannot decide to turn it into a mechanical process , by somehow changing its immaterial nature via some magical trick , just in order to make it fit into your world view ...no way .

what if consciousness is primordial ? What if consciousness is the real boss  that 's in charge of our whole system ,and our biology is just its executive power ,relatively speaking ,so to speak ?
What if brain and mind are 2 different systems in relation to their entirely different natures that  do interact with each other , but do not cause each other ?
How they might correlate with each other is still a mystery indeed .

But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial consciousness or the mind in any mechanical system for that matter , no way : you cannot include consciosness which is immaterial within a mechanical system .

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At the other hand , If consciousness is real , you cannot "build " it in mechanical systems it cannot rise from = i do not see how one can do just that in fact , no matter how you try to "incorporate or integrate " consciousness in mechanical systems ,via trying to find out how the mechanical data gets translated or converted to consciousness, as you put it at least  : maybe our consciousness just gets informed somehow ,don't tell me how, i dunno, via our sensory "inputs " about some data it acts upon as a result by triggering the response to that data generated by our senses, to action , i dunno - I am as in the dark in this as we all are : we are stuck in this, for the time being at least .

It is not beyond possibility that consciousness is not found within the biological machines that we see. They could be more like books. You read a book and get caught up in the story and feel for the characters in it. This universe might be a virtual realm that holds interactive stories, and consciousnesses on the outside (the real us) get tied into it such that they can feel for the machines which they are in control of. But the key thing here is that controlling aspect. If our feelings are causing those machines to behave differently depending on how we feel, there must be a causation mechanism involved by which those feelings lead to the machines being steered in their behaviour. You can try to replace mechanism with magic, but in doing so you can only hide mechanism - there must still be a mechanism by which any magic operates, so it is not a good answer to anything.

Do not confuse the ordinary "magical" tricks (That's no magic in fact : that can be explained by certain corresponding mechanisms indeed )   conducted by illusionists, no matter how sophisticated they might ever be,  with the hard problem of consciousness .

You do not realise the fact that you are the one who's trying to introduce magic into a mechanical system , by trying to make consciousness fit into it .

It would take an act of magic indeed haha to do just that = cannot be done in fact .


What if consciousness is immaterial and therefore it behaves via non-mechanical processes then ?

How the alleged mechanical brain interacts with the non-mechanical consciousness is yet another mystery we cannot explain either .

We cannot prove all the above  to be the case either , as we cannot try to explain how the different systems : consciousness and brain , do interact with each other , without causing each other = the executive power does not get caused by the legislative one = the legislative power does not create the executive power , so to speak , physically , or vice versa = the ordinary executive power is made of already existing people and vice versa  = this is just an analogy , no comparison though .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 10/09/2013 19:52:55
Many scientific studies have come  across that mysterious healing power of the mind in relation to the body they cannot explain :

See just this scientific study on the subject concerning :

Placebo-Cracking the Code = They have cracked no code in fact :

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/placebo-cracking-code/

P.S.: Humanity today still cannot seem to be able to find its way concerning its attempts to figure out what ,on earth, the nature or function of human consciousness are :

We are all stuck in this dead-end street = cul de sac , as the French say .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 10/09/2013 20:11:58
How can you consider the following as a scientific approach , and not as a materialistic view point :
I've no idea - did someone say that?

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Our alleged evolved ability to  rebel against our genes ,via our evolved brain , and therefore to be independent in that regard at least : how can our mechanical brain accomplish such a performance   then ? How can a mechanical system such as our brain generate such independence ?

How can that alleged independence "emerge " from our complex evolved so-called mechanical brain then ?

You tell me ...
In brief, the success of a more nuanced approach to behaviour drove the evolution of the neocortex in mammals. It provides an extra level of behavioural complexity and subtlety, and can modify, redirect, or suppress many of the simpler behavioural responses from the 'earlier' parts of the brain.

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See that post of yours here above ,as a reply to mine on the subject thus :

(So , you have been deceiving us , I trusted you ....learn to live with it ....things like that .... ).
'Learn to live with it' is common-sense recommendation. I don't see any irrationality there. For the rest, it was a light-hearted comment on your extraordinary "let's stop deceiving each other , let's be honest", with it's implications of deceit and dishonesty. I added a smiley specifically so you wouldn't misread it...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 10/09/2013 20:22:45
our Cooper or dlorde here would say that mechanical systems or programmed machines can make "decisions" also ,even though they cannot be conscious ...
As it happens, I wouldn't say that, and I'd appreciate you quoting what I actually do say rather than putting words in my mouth.

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.. i think that our decision -making process is in a way different than those of machines, in the sense that our mind did not "emerge " from our evolved brain = our mind has some degree of independence= our mind is not mechanical  ...I dunno
Is this an 'argument from incredulity' or a circular argument ? I have a sneaking suspicion it's both.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 10/09/2013 20:48:54
Pain is real ,not an illusion,  dude :

How can you be so sure that it's real? You could just be a machine being tricked into generating data that asserts that it's real. This possibility must be seriously considered until we can find some useful way of fitting pain into the model.

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You cannot build the human real feeling of pain in a machine either ,no matter how hard you try to do just that, you can just make it simulate that = you cannot make any mechanical system generate a totally different process than his ,no way  .

I'm using the word "mechanical" in a wider sense than normal, taking my lead in that regard from the words "mechanism" and "mechanistic". The point of using these words is to point to chains of cause and effect which make up the process by which things function. If pain is to cause a response, that is an act of causation. It is mechanistic. Mechanical. If you deny its mechanical nature, you are taking away its ability to cause anything. If pain can't cause a response, it can have no role in the response system.

[Note: in English, "it can have no role" actually means "it cannot have any role". I used the first of these phrase formulae above for stylistic reasons because that is the normal way to express things, though it may be unclear to someone whose first language is not English.]

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Consciousness is immaterial = you cannot decide to turn it into a mechanical process , by somehow changing its immaterial nature via some magical trick , just in order to make it fit into your world view ...no way .

I don't care what label you want to attach to it in the way of material/immaterial - what matters is its role as part of a mechanism.

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what if consciousness is primordial ? What if consciousness is the real boss  that 's in charge of our whole system ,and our biology is just its executive power ,relatively speaking ,so to speak ?
What if brain and mind are 2 different systems in relation to their entirely different natures that  do interact with each other , but do not cause each other ?
How they might correlate with each other is still a mystery indeed .

What if the real boss is something else and somewhere else? Well, how does it link up with the biological machine to make that machine function? How can the machine act without being caused to act by the real boss elsewhere? The chains of causation (i.e. the mechanism) cannot simply be ignored by having two systems and trying to link them by magic.

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But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial consciousness or the mind in any mechanical system for that matter , no way : you cannot include consciosness which is immaterial within a mechanical system .

Let me translate your words above into another form for you:-

But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial cause in the same system as the material effect of that cause, no way : you cannot include an immaterial cause with a mechanical effect.

In other words, consciousness cannot control a biological machine. There is no way in which your immaterial desires can make your body act on them, so if the delicious smell of that bread makes you want to eat some, your body will not respond to that drive which is thus rendered irrelevant. Qualia can have no role in the system because you have banned them from interacting with the mechanical system.

[Note: the above does not represent my view of things, but is a logical extension of your view.]

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Do not confuse the ordinary "magical" tricks (That's no magic in fact : that can be explained by certain corresponding mechanisms indeed )   conducted by illusionists, no matter how sophisticated they might ever be,  with the hard problem of consciousness .

When I talk of magic, I'm referring to the Harry Potter variety: not simple tricks, but supernatural powers. But even then, these powers if they were to be real would still have a hidden mechanism by which they operate, so the distinction is really about whether they can be explained by known laws of physics or unknown ones. Magicians act within known laws. Wizards (of the kind found in fiction) need to use laws outside of known physics.

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You do not realise the fact that you are the one who's trying to introduce magic into a mechanical system , by trying to make consciousness fit into it .

No, I'm trying to eliminate all the magic by aiming to identify the full chain of causation in the system. Consciousness cannot drive anything without causation, and causation = mechanism.

The model has to take the form: A causes B, B causes C, C causes D, D causes E, E causes F. To add non-mechanistic consciousness into that system you would need to add something to say: A doesn't cause X, X doesn't cause Y, Y doesn't cause Z, Z doesn't cause F, and then assert that the "X doesn't cause Y" part of it has a key role in the chain "A causes F". It clearly doesn't. It has no role in the chain "A causes F" at all.

If it is to have a role, we have to rewrite the chain as: A causes X, X causes Y, Y causes Z, Z causes F. We now have a new model for the chain "A causes F" with consciousness as part of a replacement mechanism, but we still have a mechanistic system. The problem now though is that if the chain "A causes B, B causes C, C causes D, D causes E, E causes F" still looks valid, the new chain must either override it or be overridden by it whenever they disagree. Only one of them can be valid while the other is wrong, unless they always happen to agree by chance such that it's impossible to identify which one would override the other, though in such a case it would render consciousness redundant. It would also prevent the system from reporting that it has consciousness unless the system which has no knowledge of consciousness happens to generate fictions about consciousness which happen by luck to be true.

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What if consciousness is immaterial and therefore it behaves via non-mechanical processes then ?

You would have non-mechanical causes which are unable to cause their mechanical effects.

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We cannot prove all the above  to be the case either , as we cannot try to explain how the different systems : consciousness and brain , do interact with each other , without causing each other = the executive power does not get caused by the legislative one = the legislative power does not create the executive power , so to speak , physically , or vice versa = the ordinary executive power is made of already existing people and vice versa  = this is just an analogy , no comparison though .

That might or might not make sense, depending on what it means.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 11/09/2013 04:51:22
Consciousness is immaterial = you cannot decide to turn it into a mechanical process , by somehow changing its immaterial nature via some magical trick , just in order to make it fit into your world view ...no way


....But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial consciousness or the mind in any mechanical system for that matter , no way : you cannot include consciosness which is immaterial within a mechanical system .

Let me translate your words above into another form for you:-

But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial cause in the same system as the material effect of that cause, no way : you cannot include an immaterial cause with a mechanical effect.

In other words, consciousness cannot control a biological machine. There is no way in which your immaterial desires can make your body act on them, so if the delicious smell of that bread makes you want to eat some, your body will not respond to that drive which is thus rendered irrelevant. Qualia can have no role in the system because you have banned them from interacting with the mechanical system.


It would seem that it has to work both ways. If consciousness is immaterial, truly separate, different, than there is no way it should control or affect biological or physical activities. You cannot have your metaphysical cake and eat it too.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 11/09/2013 19:26:56
...if you were able to do that and hooked a person up to a chimp, DonQuixote would claim they were only experiencing the "illusion" of the chimp's consciousness.

That would be a fun experiment, though any feelings involved in the human triggered by the inputs from the chimp would depend on human feelings which might be nothing like those experienced by the chimp. It is interesting though that our friend DonQuichotte thinks chimps lack consciousness. There's a biological machine which is almost the same as us and superior intellectually to some people, and yet chimps supposedly lack consciousness while people have it. All these mechanisms which we have that are driven by likes and dislikes, by discomfort and pleasure, are unnecessary in all other creatures? They are all zombies? Why do we have them if all other creatures have no need of them?

I never said that chimps lacked consciousness : they have a lesser degree of consciousness , compared to humans , for example (There is no comparison between the 2 in fact , in that regard at least ):there are degrees and levels of consciousness we can find in all creatures , including maybe in the inorganic matter or atoms , as some might say :

There are even many levels of human consciousness as well , few people can pretend to achieve .

Man's consciousness is unique , in the sense that it is not matched by that of any other living organism or inorganic matter .

Your wicked denigrating statement that some chimps are intellectually more superior to some humans ...is worst than racism by the way :

In fact , superior or inferior judgements of value have no meaning , in evolutionary terms .





Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 11/09/2013 19:39:38

I never said that chimps lacked consciousness : they have a lesser degree of consciousness , compared to humans , for example (There is no comparison between the 2 in fact , in that regard at least ):there are degrees and levels of consciousness we can find in all creatures ,......

.........In fact , superior or inferior judgements of value have no meaning , in evolutionary terms .

So, ignoring the fact that you refuse to define consciouness, (a) how do you measure it and (b) how do you reconcile your two statements above?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 11/09/2013 19:40:11
Consciousness is immaterial = you cannot decide to turn it into a mechanical process , by somehow changing its immaterial nature via some magical trick , just in order to make it fit into your world view ...no way


....But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial consciousness or the mind in any mechanical system for that matter , no way : you cannot include consciosness which is immaterial within a mechanical system .

Let me translate your words above into another form for you:-

But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial cause in the same system as the material effect of that cause, no way : you cannot include an immaterial cause with a mechanical effect.

In other words, consciousness cannot control a biological machine. There is no way in which your immaterial desires can make your body act on them, so if the delicious smell of that bread makes you want to eat some, your body will not respond to that drive which is thus rendered irrelevant. Qualia can have no role in the system because you have banned them from interacting with the mechanical system.


It would seem that it has to work both ways. If consciousness is immaterial, truly separate, different, than there is no way it should control or affect biological or physical activities. You cannot have your metaphysical cake and eat it too.

I am sorry to say that you all sound to me as short sighted people on the issue of consciousness at least , due to your world views on the matter , you do confuse with science proper , wihtout being able to realise that fact , unfortuantely enough .

Your reduced levels of consciousness do the rest ,as a result .

Try to listen to this very interesting interview of a quantum physicist regarding consciousness through  Higgins' field ...:


"The mind of God " expression in the video is just a metaphor though .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 11/09/2013 19:48:16

I never said that chimps lacked consciousness : they have a lesser degree of consciousness , compared to humans , for example (There is no comparison between the 2 in fact , in that regard at least ):there are degrees and levels of consciousness we can find in all creatures ,......

.........In fact , superior or inferior judgements of value have no meaning , in evolutionary terms .

So, ignoring the fact that you refuse to define consciouness, (a) how do you measure it and (b) how do you reconcile your two statements above?

Humans have way too many extended levels of consciousness ,compared to the rest = no comparison , in fact , just an analogy .

There are also humans individuals who can reach more levels of consciousness , than other humans individuals, as this thread shows .= we do not all reach the same levels of human consciousness = some people are able to reach more levels of consciousness than other humans can ever be , as this thread shows , for example ,and once again  .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 11/09/2013 20:14:26
Pain is real ,not an illusion,  dude :

How can you be so sure that it's real? You could just be a machine being tricked into generating data that asserts that it's real. This possibility must be seriously considered until we can find some useful way of fitting pain into the model.

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You cannot build the human real feeling of pain in a machine either ,no matter how hard you try to do just that, you can just make it simulate that = you cannot make any mechanical system generate a totally different process than his ,no way  .

I'm using the word "mechanical" in a wider sense than normal, taking my lead in that regard from the words "mechanism" and "mechanistic". The point of using these words is to point to chains of cause and effect which make up the process by which things function. If pain is to cause a response, that is an act of causation. It is mechanistic. Mechanical. If you deny its mechanical nature, you are taking away its ability to cause anything. If pain can't cause a response, it can have no role in the response system.

[Note: in English, "it can have no role" actually means "it cannot have any role". I used the first of these phrase formulae above for stylistic reasons because that is the normal way to express things, though it may be unclear to someone whose first language is not English.]

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Consciousness is immaterial = you cannot decide to turn it into a mechanical process , by somehow changing its immaterial nature via some magical trick , just in order to make it fit into your world view ...no way .

I don't care what label you want to attach to it in the way of material/immaterial - what matters is its role as part of a mechanism.

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what if consciousness is primordial ? What if consciousness is the real boss  that 's in charge of our whole system ,and our biology is just its executive power ,relatively speaking ,so to speak ?
What if brain and mind are 2 different systems in relation to their entirely different natures that  do interact with each other , but do not cause each other ?
How they might correlate with each other is still a mystery indeed .

What if the real boss is something else and somewhere else? Well, how does it link up with the biological machine to make that machine function? How can the machine act without being caused to act by the real boss elsewhere? The chains of causation (i.e. the mechanism) cannot simply be ignored by having two systems and trying to link them by magic.

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But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial consciousness or the mind in any mechanical system for that matter , no way : you cannot include consciosness which is immaterial within a mechanical system .

Let me translate your words above into another form for you:-

But i cannot see how one can integrate the immaterial cause in the same system as the material effect of that cause, no way : you cannot include an immaterial cause with a mechanical effect.

In other words, consciousness cannot control a biological machine. There is no way in which your immaterial desires can make your body act on them, so if the delicious smell of that bread makes you want to eat some, your body will not respond to that drive which is thus rendered irrelevant. Qualia can have no role in the system because you have banned them from interacting with the mechanical system.

[Note: the above does not represent my view of things, but is a logical extension of your view.]

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Do not confuse the ordinary "magical" tricks (That's no magic in fact : that can be explained by certain corresponding mechanisms indeed )   conducted by illusionists, no matter how sophisticated they might ever be,  with the hard problem of consciousness .

When I talk of magic, I'm referring to the Harry Potter variety: not simple tricks, but supernatural powers. But even then, these powers if they were to be real would still have a hidden mechanism by which they operate, so the distinction is really about whether they can be explained by known laws of physics or unknown ones. Magicians act within known laws. Wizards (of the kind found in fiction) need to use laws outside of known physics.

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You do not realise the fact that you are the one who's trying to introduce magic into a mechanical system , by trying to make consciousness fit into it .

No, I'm trying to eliminate all the magic by aiming to identify the full chain of causation in the system. Consciousness cannot drive anything without causation, and causation = mechanism.

The model has to take the form: A causes B, B causes C, C causes D, D causes E, E causes F. To add non-mechanistic consciousness into that system you would need to add something to say: A doesn't cause X, X doesn't cause Y, Y doesn't cause Z, Z doesn't cause F, and then assert that the "X doesn't cause Y" part of it has a key role in the chain "A causes F". It clearly doesn't. It has no role in the chain "A causes F" at all.

If it is to have a role, we have to rewrite the chain as: A causes X, X causes Y, Y causes Z, Z causes F. We now have a new model for the chain "A causes F" with consciousness as part of a replacement mechanism, but we still have a mechanistic system. The problem now though is that if the chain "A causes B, B causes C, C causes D, D causes E, E causes F" still looks valid, the new chain must either override it or be overridden by it whenever they disagree. Only one of them can be valid while the other is wrong, unless they always happen to agree by chance such that it's impossible to identify which one would override the other, though in such a case it would render consciousness redundant. It would also prevent the system from reporting that it has consciousness unless the system which has no knowledge of consciousness happens to generate fictions about consciousness which happen by luck to be true.

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What if consciousness is immaterial and therefore it behaves via non-mechanical processes then ?

You would have non-mechanical causes which are unable to cause their mechanical effects.

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We cannot prove all the above  to be the case either , as we cannot try to explain how the different systems : consciousness and brain , do interact with each other , without causing each other = the executive power does not get caused by the legislative one = the legislative power does not create the executive power , so to speak , physically , or vice versa = the ordinary executive power is made of already existing people and vice versa  = this is just an analogy , no comparison though .

That might or might not make sense, depending on what it means.


The core point here , we all seem to have forgotten is :

How can a mechanical system create the mind or consciousness ,once again ?

No one has ever been able to answer just that question : so, you guys , just resort to that promissory messianic materialism alternative circle "reasoning "  or exit strategy , instead of acknowledging your obvious impotence on the subject , especially after realising the fact that materialism 's approach of consciousness was / is just a magical "emergence " trick .

What if causation is just an illusion we take for real , as David Hume tried to prove ?

What if there is no such a thing as mechanical systems , when it comes to living organisms , or even when it comes to inorganic matter ?

What if cause and effect were / are just illusions thus ?

If, say , i was experiencing some frustrations at work ...in my family life ...and i happen to meet you , as a friend , in the street : let's say you propose to take me for a drink , in order to chill out and release stress  : then , we start talking about this and that : later on, human consciousness grabs our attention and we focus on it :

As a guy who presumabely works with machines , as opposed to me as just an artist who's no expert on evolution, mechanical systems , biology ...you suddenly make a mistake of saying that some people are lower than chimps intellectually , just because they might be relatively ignorant ,as we all are regarding this or that , regarding some subjects or sciences , relatively speaking : you get a punch in the face while falling on the ground , without realising what hit you : would i have caused your potential self-defence or survival reaction ,as a result , that might have put you in more or less danger ?

Your brain would react to that feeling of pain ,via your sensory "inputs " , by triggering a potential reaction ,would i have caused that ?

Would i have caused any potential lethal threat to your life , depending on your reaction ?

....

I was once crazy about football to the point where i threw my tv set out of the window when i saw the defeat of my preferred club : the tv set almost landed on the head of an innocent pedestrian = I almost killed the guy that way : that episode of my life helped me cure myself from my football fanatism ,later on .

That destroyed tv set of mine on the street stopped functioning of course: take it as a metaphor for the human brain then : did that mean that my tv set created the tv signals it used to receive when it was functioning ?

Get real ,grow up , get  better adults'  behaviours , get  a  better life and better world views via trying to extend your level of consciousness, life experiences ...and relative knowledge ...if you wanna increase your survival and beyond that chances at least ...

Good luck .

 

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 11/09/2013 20:37:22
Action triggered by or in fact as equal to the human mind put in motion via Higgins' field that maybe , just maybe gets in its turn made in motion by a higher power that might hold everything existing together for that matter, our minds that depend on or tend to long for unity with that fundamental root capacity of that higher power or root  Self  , that action might be the core " building block element " of the  "structure "  of the universe , who knows ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 11/09/2013 20:46:40
There is nothing racist in pointing out that people with severe learning disabilities can in many cases be on a lower intellectual level than chimps. It's a measurable fact.

Also, the "Higgins' field" is a snooker table.

And, there is a great danger of someone on this thread turning into a troll, so it's probably time it was locked by a moderator.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 11/09/2013 21:13:20
There is nothing racist in pointing out that people with severe learning disabilities can in many cases be on a lower intellectual level than chimps. It's a measurable fact.

(Who's really intellectually lower than chimps here  is a matter of opinion indeed , and of  whishful thinking as well  = beware of what you might wish for ...= blindness of the heart is what you do seem to share with apparent genuises such as Stephen Hawking : heart's intelligence as the highest form of intelligence or intellect : heart as no emotions, feelings or biological organ ...)

You mean people who are not willing to confuse your  silly childish mechanical world view with science proper ,or rather do not share your own interpretations of science ...and who are not willing to share those silly childish mechanical word views of yours with you ...

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Also, the "Higgins' field" is a snooker table.

That quantum physicist in the above mentioned   video based his assumptions on maths and physics , assumptions i might have distorted .
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And, there is a great danger of someone on this thread turning into a troll, so it's probably time it was locked by a moderator.

Disagreeing with people and with their stupid appaling tendency to impose their world views on them, in the name of science ,are not synonymous of trolling ,dude .

Yeah, just run to mummy , and hide behind her skirt ....and do not forget to take your industrial secrets ' fantasies with you as well, while you are at it ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 11/09/2013 21:34:13
Mummy :

I have just discovered a brilliant fact = we are just machines: I am a genius ,and the rest are so lower than chimps intellectually  haha

You are machines indeed , how can i disagree with that fact , silly me .

What ,on earth, am i doing here talking to ...machines indeed ? haha

Why not talk to my tv set or to my dog instead = that might turn out to be more fruitfuil  and more intelligent than talking to you as self-declared and actual machines  ,who knows .

Pathetic
Sad
Tragic

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 11/09/2013 21:43:27
Final note , after that , just close this thread ,mod , if you wish to do so :
I have no objections :

This western materialistic secular atheistic civilization has been taking over  this planet and humanity for so long now that it is about time indeed to deliver both this planet and humanity from the tyranny of this so-called civilization ,despite the latter's huge material scientific and technological advances , a so-called civilization that has been turning humans into just consumptive superficial hollow machines zombies indeed , with no consciousness whatsoever ,depriving most  humans of their fundamental primary quality of them all = consciousness ,in the process  .

I have the feeling our planet have been taken over by apes, by  western mechanical  Eurocentric mainstream racist paternalistic imperialist white apes zombies , to be more precize ,ironically enough  = the planet of the mechanical white apes zombies ,mechanical white apes  zombies humanity gotta be liberated from, sooner or later= inevitable = just a matter of time thus  .

...........
Real apes  animals out there in your natural habitat : i am sorry for offending you indeed ,by calling others by your names  : i know you would understand ...



Ciao

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 11/09/2013 22:19:44
Your wicked denigrating statement that some chimps are intellectually more superior to some humans ...is worst than racism by the way :

In fact , superior or inferior judgements of value have no meaning , in evolutionary terms .
This is just nonsense - if superior or inferior value judgements have no meaning, how can they be wicked, denigrating, and worse than racism?

Nevertheless, even in healthy individuals at their peak, the average chimp is intellectually superior (i.e. can outperform) the the average human in memory tests (http://www.nature.com/news/2007/071203/full/news.2007.317.html). Of course, humans can outperform chimps in many other intellectual tasks - and, of course, plenty of other animals have better memories than we do. Nothing says human intellect is necessarily special. It's no big deal - a slime-mould can navigate a maze more efficiently than most humans; OTOH it can't write a poem.

It's nothing to do with racism. If you were going to accuse him of anything, it would be specism, but that's something else entirely.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 11/09/2013 22:28:04
Mummy :

I have just discovered a brilliant fact = we are just machines: I am a genius ,and the rest are so lower than chimps intellectually  haha

You are machines indeed , how can i disagree with that fact , silly me .

What ,on earth, am i doing here talking to ...machines indeed ? haha

Why not talk to my tv set or to my dog instead = that might turn out to be more fruitfuil  and more intelligent than talking to you as self-declared and actual machines  ,who knows .

Pathetic
Sad
Tragic
I was wondering when you'd start this again...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 11/09/2013 22:46:44
This western materialistic secular atheistic civilization has been taking over  this planet and humanity for so long now that it is about time indeed to deliver both this planet and humanity from the tyranny of this so-called civilization ,despite the latter's huge material scientific and technological advances , a so-called civilization that has been turning humans into just consumptive superficial hollow machines zombies indeed , with no consciousness whatsoever ,depriving most  humans of their fundamental primary quality of them all = consciousness ,in the process  .

I have the feeling our planet have been taken over by apes, by  western mechanical  Eurocentric mainstream racist paternalistic imperialist white apes zombies , to be more precize ,ironically enough  = the planet of the mechanical white apes zombies ,mechanical white apes  zombies humanity gotta be liberated from, sooner or later= inevitable = just a matter of time thus  .

...........
Real apes  animals out there in your natural habitat : i am sorry for offending you indeed ,by calling others by your names  : i know you would understand ...

So what's the plan? - or was that just more empty rhetoric?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 11/09/2013 23:38:35
Alas, the man has gone from curious eloquence to raving logorrhea. Time to move on.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 12/09/2013 15:46:10
I haven't called in a mod. I just think that when a thread starts attempting to commit suicide repeatedly like this one, it may be kindest just to help it on its way. I've given up a significant amount of my time to share some ideas with someone who was asking for such ideas, and while for a time he appeared to be modifying his position in some places, he now appears to have thrown away all his gains and retreated back into his original position. I have no complaint about that whatsoever, but it's clear that further discussion is pointless because of the trolling style of posts which have now become the main event.

For this reason, I'm out.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 17:08:45
This western materialistic secular atheistic civilization has been taking over  this planet and humanity for so long now that it is about time indeed to deliver both this planet and humanity from the tyranny of this so-called civilization ,despite the latter's huge material scientific and technological advances , a so-called civilization that has been turning humans into just consumptive superficial hollow machines zombies indeed , with no consciousness whatsoever ,depriving most  humans of their fundamental primary quality of them all = consciousness ,in the process  .

I have the feeling our planet have been taken over by apes, by  western mechanical  Eurocentric mainstream racist paternalistic imperialist white apes zombies , to be more precize ,ironically enough  = the planet of the mechanical white apes zombies ,mechanical white apes  zombies humanity gotta be liberated from, sooner or later= inevitable = just a matter of time thus  .

...........
Real apes  animals out there in your natural habitat : i am sorry for offending you indeed ,by calling others by your names  : i know you would understand ...

So what's the plan? - or was that just more empty rhetoric?.

Those were no rhetorics , just facts on the reality ground : materialism has also been hijacking science for more than 5 centuries now , while excluding all non-materialistic paradigms or world views in the process .

Besides, it is a fact that white western Eurocentrism has been taking over this planet and humanity for more than 5 centuries now as well :

I couldn't help but make reference to that  planet of the apes  analogy in that regard ,so.


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 12/09/2013 17:31:58
... it's clear that further discussion is pointless because of the trolling style of posts which have now become the main event.

For this reason, I'm out.

Yup, that about sums it up.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 18:48:58
I haven't called in a mod. I just think that when a thread starts attempting to commit suicide repeatedly like this one, it may be kindest just to help it on its way. I've given up a significant amount of my time to share some ideas with someone who was asking for such ideas, and while for a time he appeared to be modifying his position in some places, he now appears to have thrown away all his gains and retreated back into his original position. I have no complaint about that whatsoever, but it's clear that further discussion is pointless because of the trolling style of posts which have now become the main event.

For this reason, I'm out.

(I think that telling stories can help : they work perfectly when it comes to my kids at least, no offense  )

You do sound to me like those earlier fanatic intolerant exclusive medieval jesuites on a mission who used to think it was a privilege for "primitive " peoples to receive the "light"  of christianity they should be grateful  for  .

Great philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal said once on the subject , or in words to that same effect at least , the following :(He studied western philosophy both in Oxford and in Berlin by the way ,as he was knighted by the Queen of England back then for his brilliant poetry works  ) :

An English Gentleman told me once he hated the jews , because they thought of themselves as the choosen people of God .A belief which implies and maybe justifies contempt of other peoples .
He did not remember that the phrase " White Man's Burden " contains the same belief in a different garb .


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

So,stop this silly paternalism of yours , emotional blackmail or pleading i cannot stand , please : pathetic

Do not flatter yourself too much , dude : you do seem to lack the most important form of intelligence or most important form of intellect of them all , mainly thanks to that mechanical spirit of yours (Heart's intelligence as the highest form of intelligence or intellect , heart as no emotions feelings , or biological organ , once again. Heart as intuition or intuitive insights : informed experienced developed extended intuition, not the ordinary intuition that 's not really reliable though  ) as apparent genuises such as Stephen Hawking , Dawkins  ...do by the way .

Thare are also many other forms of intelligence ...Intelligence is also and certainly a relative concept : we might be relatively  intelligent in some areas  and totally or relatively stupid in other ones   ...
.........
There was a story my grandma used to tell me when i was a kid that goes a bit like this, in order to cheer me out when i was afraid of the dark  :

A pretentious arrogant full of himself scholar wanted to cross a certain river to get to the other part of it via a little boat managed by an old man : when the scholar got on board , he could not stop bragging about his knowledge on this and that , then he turned his attention to the silent humble old man and asked him whether he happened to know about this and that .

The old man said : Look, sir , i do not know much , all i know is how to get people where they wanna go through this river , via this boat , in order to be able to make a decent living .

The scholar responded :  well, you ignorance made you lose  half of your life for nothing .

A storm suddenly turned the little boat upside down ,and both passengers found themselves on water .

The old man asked the pretentious scholar whether he knew how to swim : no , said the latter .

Well, you 're about to lose your whole life ....


...

Another pretentious full of himself scholar was informed by the great wisdom of a buddhist monk he went to see what the guy was all about for himself :

That scholar would not stop bragging about his supposed knowledge ...so, that humble silent monk proposed tea : when the monk was pouring tea for the scholar , he did not stop doing that even when the tea cup was full : the scholar said to him : stop, the cup is overfull and the table is covered by tea , can"t you see that ? Are you stupid ? .

The monk responded : when a tea cup is full, it cannot be filled with anythingelse = you scholar are like that : you gotta be emptied first .
.............
The "value " of that silly IQ test is like trying to "capture "  beauty via measuring
the size of the nose , of the cheeks, the hips .....I did extremely well in that stupid IQ test i do not see any value in though .
...........
Well, there were  no suicide attempts being committed by this or on this thread ,that's a rather  hilarious  peculiar weird way of putting things .

I do appreciate your time spent on this thread i could do perfectly without , i must admit , to be honest , but i do not see it as some kindda altruism, "charity" , goodness ...i should be "grateful " for .... .

You lack also that subtle sensitive humanistic patient ...pedagogy you could accomplish "miracles " by , if you only tried to develop it in yourself = I do not see how a machine like yourself can do just that,maybe you can, who knows  .

If you happened to have expected some reward or reciprocity by spending all that time here as a transaction , in the form or shape of changing my mind on the subject of this thread as a reward for being so "generous " as to shed your mechanical "light " on the supposed " darkness or ignorance of my heart and mind " : just know it does not work like that ,and i do not believe in scratch my back and i will scratch yours either , and i certainly cannot stand arrogant pretentious people who might think they have the monopoly of the truth other people should be grateful for receiving as a privilege  ...

You can keep on talking about your mechanical world view all you want : i cannot share it whith you, not in a million years even : i did specify why ,relatively speaking .

But when one crosses the line of respect , decency, courtesy  ...by calling his opponents names , by stating that as a fact even, by insulting people's relative intelligence ,just because they cannot swallow one's world views on the subject  then , there can be no room for constructive or productive discussions, no room for discussions at all   .

P.S.: Even prophets themselves who were sent to people in order to transmit their received messages to them , those prophets were explicitly ordered to be subtle in that by being patient , gentle kind nice , without hurting people's feelings , without calling people names ...

Who then the hell do you think  you are , in comparison ? That's no comparison in fact , not even remotely close = just an anlogy .

Even prophet Moses himself was not wise or patient open-minded enough  to be able to handle the subtle truths of a wiser guy he met :

That wiser guy, so to speak , said to Moses when the latter insisted on accompanying  him , in order to learn from his superior wisdom ,that wiser guy said : you cannot handle the truth :

Moses promissed to do his best in that regard :

After getting on board of a humble boat owned by some poor guys , that wiser guy damaged  some part of it.

Moses was  outraged : how can you reward the goodness of these poor people who accepted to take us on board for free , by harming their boat , this evil way ? ,he shouted to the wiser guy .

The latter answered : there is a ruthless unjust king out there who likes to rob people from their property , so, i damaged the boat , in order to make that king ignora this boat of these poor people as their only source of living . I told you you cannot handle the truth .

Moses promissed again that he would try to be patient and not object a-priori to any potential future mysterious behaviour of the wiser guy ...

In short : they went through 2 other similar incidents Moses could not understand or handle at first sight , the wiser guy explained his perfectly logical behaviour that seemed mysterious and evil to Moses at first sight .

After the third incident , both went their separate ways , as a result .

Final note :

Who's the wiser guy here , i do not pretend to be just that in fact , maybe you are ,who knows ?

Obvious inevitable solution ? : Let's go our separate ways .

Deal ?



Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 19:01:44
... it's clear that further discussion is pointless because of the trolling style of posts which have now become the main event.

For this reason, I'm out.
Quote
Yup, that about sums it up.

No wonder = very predictable= 2 machanical soul mates agreeing with each other ...no wonder ...

I also happen to agree with the both of you indeed , ironically enough, for opposite totally different reasons = all roads do lead to Rome, so it seems at least .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 19:04:00
I told you you cannot handle the truth , didn't I ? But , i am no wiser guy though .
Try to figure that out, or not , who cares  .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 19:16:52
Great minds discuss ideas
Average minds discuss events
Small minds discuss...people .

So, let's just let some intellectually ( Your reductionistic mechanical approach of human or other intellect can only make you utter such non-sense in that regard ) superior chimp figure that out for us all indeed , from your exclusively mechanical perspective at least , i do not share with you , not even remotely close , no way .

May i have that privilege freedom or right ? i am perfectly entiteld to , ironically enough  haha = It's not up to either of you, guys , or to anyoneelse for that matter to decide just that .

Or , let's just wait for the next level of evolution of man instead : at the level of consciousness indeed ,no chimp can ever dream of ever reaching , not even remotely close, even though chimps seem to share more than 99 % DNA material with us ...........= We are not just DNA or physical brain body  interacting with the environment+ nurture = we are not just mechanical biological processes = we are much much much more than just that in fact , that's way beyond your mechanical reduced imaginations, you have no idea = our minds are way too primordial and fundamental for that = a fact you , hopefully , might be able to figure out for yourselves , some day , or not , who cares ...= you have a lot of catch up to do, a long way to go , a very long journey to take ...to be able to just grasp that fact , and take it from there again ... = a dynamic endless restless journey ...

Good luck indeed, you're gonna certainly need it, even though i do not believe in the existence of such a thing such as ...luck   .
.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 12/09/2013 19:18:07
What is "science proper" ?  How  does science work without empirical evidence and reproducible results? Even physics, one of the most theoretical areas of the physical sciences, uses empirical observations and measurements to confirm mathematical propositions or conclusions generated by thought experiments. It may, as in the case of Einstein and relativity, take technology decades to catch up with theory, but empirical experiments are eventually done. And when there are contradictions, it causes a lot of head scratching and consternation. But they don't just ignore the data.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 12/09/2013 19:24:58
Great minds discuss ideas


A lot of big ideas from great minds were proven wrong by empirical evidence and careful observation of seemingly small and insignificant events.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 19:34:00
Quote
What is "science proper" ?  How  does science work without empirical evidence and reproducible results? Even physics, one of the most theoretical areas of the physical sciences, uses empirical observations and measurements to confirm mathematical propositions or conclusions generated by thought experiments. It may, as in the case of Einstein and relativity, take technology decades to catch up with theory, but empirical experiments are eventually done. And when there are contradictions, it causes a lot of head scratching and consternation. But they don't just ignore the data.

Well, darling :

When you're gonna learn to separate between materialism as just a world view and science , when you will learn to separate science from the materialistic interpretations of science ,when you will learn to separate materialistic  world views and materialistic approaches from  science results and from scientific approaches , then , and only then , you will be able to understand what i was saying all along .

Our physical brain might be just a receiver , in almost the same fashion as the tv set is just a receiver of tv signals, tv signals that stop getting received by that tv set when the tv set or some parts of it at  least cease to function or are damaged ...= no comparison, just an analogy .

Does that mean that the tv set used to create those tv signals or images when it used to function ?


Need more examples or rather analogies?  .Just shoot .


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 19:47:33
Great minds discuss ideas


A lot of big ideas from great minds were proven wrong by
Quote
e
mpirical evidence and careful observation of seemingly small and insignificant events.[/quote
]



Are all your supposed ideas proven empirical ones ? Come on , just get down from your high horse as a human being always should do .

And i was talking  about events in the ordinary trivial sense.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 19:52:41
Mummy :

I have just discovered a brilliant fact = we are just machines: I am a genius ,and the rest are so lower than chimps intellectually  haha

You are machines indeed , how can i disagree with that fact , silly me .

What ,on earth, am i doing here talking to ...machines indeed ? haha

Why not talk to my tv set or to my dog instead = that might turn out to be more fruitfuil  and more intelligent than talking to you as self-declared and actual machines  ,who knows .

Pathetic
Sad
Tragic
I was wondering when you'd start this again...

I might also use other similar or not stuff as well .

Repeating things might make them get through to you .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 12/09/2013 20:15:59
Your wicked denigrating statement that some chimps are intellectually more superior to some humans ...is worst than racism by the way :

In fact , superior or inferior judgements of value have no meaning , in evolutionary terms .
This is just nonsense - if superior or inferior value judgements have no meaning, how can they be wicked, denigrating, and worse than racism?

Nevertheless, even in healthy individuals at their peak, the average chimp is intellectually superior (i.e. can outperform) the the average human in memory tests (http://www.nature.com/news/2007/071203/full/news.2007.317.html). Of course, humans can outperform chimps in many other intellectual tasks - and, of course, plenty of other animals have better memories than we do. Nothing says human intellect is necessarily special. It's no big deal - a slime-mould can navigate a maze more efficiently than most humans; OTOH it can't write a poem.

Only people through mechanical reductionistic world views can say that human intellect is no big deal : come on .

Human intellect makes part of the human mind, the latter as an immaterial process which happens to interact somehow, i dunno how , with the physical brain , the latter as some sort of just a  kindda  receiver .

There are many other animals , insects ...that can hear  what we cannot hear , that can see better than we can ever do  ....Does that mean they are superior to us  ?

We do also surpass them in many other areas they cannot ever approach, not even remotely close .

Birds , for example ,do fly , we do not , not via natural wings at least haha we do not have : does that mean they are syperior to us ?

There was once an experiment conducted with  chimps in France , i guess , who or which or whatever made some paintings that were later on considered by critics as top art , without a-priori knowing of course that they were made by chimps ....Does that mean that  chimps are superior to us  ?

What kindda silly reasoning is this then ?

As some famous scientist i do not recall the name of right now , who happened to write an intrduction to Dawkins ' "Selfish Gene " said i will sum up by this :

All living organisms were / are shaped by the same natural selection of evolution through their genes ...,including man thus = there is no reason to say that any species for that matter is superior or inferior to any other one for that matter , in the materialistic sense at least= i think humans are obviously and essentially way too superior to any other known living species or  known  living organisms on earth at least , despite the fact that many other  living organisms do surpass us in this area or that  .

Our unique unparalleled mind is what makes us human and therefore distinguishes us from other living organisms .

The whole is not the sum of its parts , dude .





Quote
It's nothing to do with racism. If you were going to accuse him of anything, it would be specism, but that's something else entirely.

I said that was worst or worse   than racism : i did not say it was racist or racism .

If i would accuse him of anything , i would rather accuse him of being a total jerk or ***** haha , in that regard at least .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 12/09/2013 20:41:41
Quote
What is "science proper" ?  How  does science work without empirical evidence and reproducible results? Even physics, one of the most theoretical areas of the physical sciences, uses empirical observations and measurements to confirm mathematical propositions or conclusions generated by thought experiments. It may, as in the case of Einstein and relativity, take technology decades to catch up with theory, but empirical experiments are eventually done. And when there are contradictions, it causes a lot of head scratching and consternation. But they don't just ignore the data.

Well, darling :

When you're gonna learn to separate between materialism as just a world view and science , when you will learn to separate science from the materialistic interpretations of science ,when you will learn to separate materialistic  world views and materialistic approaches from  science results and from scientific approaches , then , and only then , you will be able to understand what i was saying all along .

Our physical brain might be just a receiver , in almost the same fashion as the tv set is just a receiver of tv signals, tv signals that stop getting received by that tv set when the tv set or some parts of it at  least cease to function or are damaged ...= no comparison, just an analogy .

Does that mean that the tv set used to create those tv signals or images when it used to function ?


Need more examples or rather analogies?  .Just shoot .




I would be delighted to learn how to separate science from materialism, just explain how science works with out empirical evidence and reproducible results. Think of the money universities could save without all those fancy laboratories and particle accelerators!

I have heard of the radio/receiver analogy for consciousness, and it is an interesting idea. But it remains just an idea until you can tell me something scientifically verifiable about that mysterious transmitter.

In medicine there is something called a "zebra diagnosis." When you hear the sound of hooves, you expect to see a horse. Occasionally though, it turns out to be a zebra. The same set of observations, even though accurate, can lead you to a false conclusion, because you may be missing (or didn't think to look for) some small piece of critical information that makes a difference. Scientists have wandered down dead end paths for that reason. These kind of errors do not invalidate the entire scientific process and empiricism itself. 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 12/09/2013 21:08:45
Quote
Great minds discuss ideas
Average minds discuss events
Small minds discuss...people .

and morons rehash drivel whilst throwing insults at those trying to hold an intelligent discussion.

Though I'm not even sure about the precepts here. Anyone can come up with an idea, but it takes a great mind to suggest a critical experiment (i.e. a series of events) that might support or disprove the idea. And it takes a bold mind to question a popular authority. Which is why I value science way above philosophy, and have no time for the discussion of undefined abstractions. 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 12/09/2013 23:30:31
...there is no reason to say that any species for that matter is superior or inferior to any other one for that matter , in the materialistic sense at least= i think humans are obviously and essentially way too superior to any other known living species or  known  living organisms on earth at least , despite the fact that many other  living organisms do surpass us in this area or that  .

I thought this was worth re-quoting just for surreality :)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 12/09/2013 23:59:27
Some people have a pretty high opinion of homo sapiens. But every other species sees us only as food or the enemy. Now with several million other species out there, the majority opinion among God's creation is clearly against us. And when I encounter a pompous fool, I'm tempted to side with the majority.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 16:37:05
Quote
Great minds discuss ideas
Average minds discuss events
Small minds discuss...people .

and morons rehash drivel whilst throwing insults at those trying to hold an intelligent discussion.

Though I'm not even sure about the precepts here. Anyone can come up with an idea, but it takes a great mind to suggest a critical experiment (i.e. a series of events) that might support or disprove the idea. And it takes a bold mind to question a popular authority. Which is why I value science way above philosophy, and have no time for the discussion of undefined abstractions.


Finished preaching ?

It takes only xerox machines sort of people to repeat or copy  what others might say ,while distorting the actual reality at hand ;but the real xerox machines do make good copies though : see the sifference ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 16:46:08
Some people have a pretty high opinion of homo sapiens. But every other species sees us only as food or the enemy. Now with several million other species out there, the majority opinion among God's creation is clearly against us. And when I encounter a pompous fool, I'm tempted to side with the majority.

I think you really should consider a career , as a wanna -be bombastic materialistic preacher : you might attract some followers ...who knows ?

Beware of temptations : they might be  deceptive , elusive , delusive ..:

The truth is not a matter of the opinion of the majority , is not a matter of some sort of democracy: it takes only 1 single mind to turn even science itself upside down , no matter what  the  overwhelming  majority  in science might  say on the matter .




Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 16:48:47
...there is no reason to say that any species for that matter is superior or inferior to any other one for that matter , in the materialistic sense at least= i think humans are obviously and essentially way too superior to any other known living species or  known  living organisms on earth at least , despite the fact that many other  living organisms do surpass us in this area or that  .

I thought this was worth re-quoting just for surreality:)

What's so surreal about it then ?

Why did you ignore my other quotes ? because you could not answer them maybe ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 13/09/2013 17:41:41
Here's another banana for the troll.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 18:25:36
Quote
What is "science proper" ?  How  does science work without empirical evidence and reproducible results? Even physics, one of the most theoretical areas of the physical sciences, uses empirical observations and measurements to confirm mathematical propositions or conclusions generated by thought experiments. It may, as in the case of Einstein and relativity, take technology decades to catch up with theory, but empirical experiments are eventually done. And when there are contradictions, it causes a lot of head scratching and consternation. But they don't just ignore the data.

Well, darling :

When you're gonna learn to separate between materialism as just a world view and science , when you will learn to separate science from the materialistic interpretations of science ,when you will learn to separate materialistic  world views and materialistic approaches from  science results and from scientific approaches , then , and only then , you will be able to understand what i was saying all along .

Our physical brain might be just a receiver , in almost the same fashion as the tv set is just a receiver of tv signals, tv signals that stop getting received by that tv set when the tv set or some parts of it at  least cease to function or are damaged ...= no comparison, just an analogy .

Does that mean that the tv set used to create those tv signals or images when it used to function ?


Need more examples or rather analogies?  .Just shoot .




I would be delighted to learn how to separate science from materialism, just explain how science works with out empirical evidence and reproducible results. Think of the money universities could save without all those fancy laboratories and particle accelerators!


You're distorting my views : Who said that science can be or rather exist , let alone function without observation, experience, empirical evidence , without verifiable falsifiable reproducible results ? = that's the very definition of science by the way : what has that to do with materialism as a world view then ?

How can you confuse that with materialism as a world view ? : how can you confuse materialism with science ? - you are confirming my earlier and core point on the subject .Thanks for that .

Quote
I have heard of the radio/receiver analogy for consciousness, and it is an interesting idea. But it remains just an idea until you can tell me something scientifically verifiable about that mysterious transmitter.

Nobody can , for the time being at least , if ever : i am no exception to that rule .

That "transmitter " happens to be immaterial though ,that's why i said that that radio or tv set example was just that : an analogy, no comparison  : a logical analogy  , not a scientific one .

Quote
In medicine there is something called a "zebra diagnosis." When you hear the sound of hooves, you expect to see a horse. Occasionally though, it turns out to be a zebra. The same set of observations, even though accurate, can lead you to a false conclusion, because you may be missing (or didn't think to look for) some small piece of critical information that makes a difference. Scientists have wandered down dead end paths for that reason. These kind of errors do not invalidate the entire scientific process and empiricism itself.

Ok, there  is also what we can call learned cultural or other habits of thought and behaviour out there as well that are shaped by their corresponding cultural and other world views via nurture environment , as the case here is in this thread .

(There are also biological social cultural psychological and other factors that do shape our thought and thus our behaviour )
............
Organic chemist Linda Jean Shepherd in her unique book : " Lifting the veil : the feminine face of science " : neo-feminist philosophy of science , ethics ....combined  with the so-called depth Jung's psychology she said she studied for more than 15 years , combined with  the theory of chaos , with physics of chemistry ....

She told the tales of many brilliant mathematicians and scientists who dared to say that intuition, feeling and even love made them discover some breakthroughs in their respective fields .

A great mathematician , for example , even said to her : many great ideas of mine were the products of intuition, feeling ...and that he developed the habit to tell his students : what do you feel   about this ? when he displays certain mathematical equations on the board for them .

Linda Jean left science as a result of what she described in that interesting book of hers concerning her own experiences with science and scientists , what she went through ... ,because of that exclusive rational empirical reductionist approach in science she tried to improve by a more  holistic approach  , because of that ossified dogmatic exclusive bureaucratic hieriarchial , insensitive blind reductionist specialised materialism in science : she said , or in words to that same effect at least,for example  :

We were all raised a certain way , in order to think and behave a certain way , in order to approach a certain level of reality , missing the whole spectrum of other potential levels of reality in the process .

One example among many to illustrate the above she described as follows :

The Indians , from India , to be more precize , used to tame their elephants this way :

They used to tie their new born elephants babies to a soft leaf via a soft rope .

When they grown up to become adult elephants , they would destroy their metal chains tying them to solid big trees , together with the latter sometimes, but , and here where or when the amazing thing happened :

When those same grown -up adult elephants  would be tied to a soft leaf via a soft rope , they do not even try to make the slightest effort to break free from those soft "chains " they could do so easily .

Learned helplessness is also another example of the conditioned behaviour and thought at the level of  humans , and other species ...

Theer are many examples and scientific facts like that ,so  i will leave it at this then .


She said also, for example , that she tried to observe , look at , experience , grasp ..what she sees, experiences ... differently ...


...........

Say,  you decide to travel to a foreign country , you buy a travel guide that tells you where to go in the country of your choice , what to look for , what  to expect to find , to see , what food to eat , what clothes to wear depending on the weather there , what kindda culture and people you would meet and encounter ....

But , say , you decide to overlook some aspects of those info contained in that travel guide , by unlearning some of them , you might stumble across new experiences ,facts , events ...that might startle you , and that travel guide might not turn out to be really accurate .

You would experience things yourself , not what that guide tells you what to experience or find , expect ...

.........

There was an ancient tale of a famous Arab fool that goes a bit as follows :
He was so drunk once that he lost his  home  keys in the street while trying to go back home in that drunk state of his :
A friend of his happened to see him on his knees on the ground searching for something : that friend said : what 's going on ? What are you looking for ? Can i help ? Yes , i lost my keys , the fool responded :
After hours of exhausting search on their knees covering many blocks in the process , that exhausted friend said to the fool : Are you sure  you lost your keys here ,in this area ?

The fool answered : no ,i am not .

"Why didn't you say that ,in the first place to begin with ? , Why did you  let me search all this time on my knees  for nothing ? " said the angry friend .

 "Well i thought i should  better search for them here , because there is street light  only in this area:, responded the fool  .


We might be all behaving like that Arab fool indeed ...who knows .


...

A chinese old tale goes a bit as follows i did extract from "Geography of Thought : or how westerners and Asians think and why ?" by Richard E.Nisbett  , unique book by the way , even though i do not agree much with its core secular liberal so-called evolutionary "geographic " approach :

An old poor chinese farmer lost his only horse once that he used to rely on for farming his poor tiny piece of land .
His tiny village neighbours visited him to express their empathy for his loss .
He said : we do not know whether the loss of my only horse is a good or bad thing .

A week later , the old man's lost horse came back accompanied by another horse as well : a female horse then .

The neighbours were overjoyed : the old farmer said ,once again the same thing .

After a while , the young son of the old farmer injured his knees after falling from the back of his father's returning horse .
The neighbours visited the old man again to express their sorrow for his son's injury  .

The old farmer said the same thing again .

A month or so later , the emperor's army came to towm or to that village , in order to recruit all healthy men and boys by force , by direct order of the emperor himself .

Only the old farmer's son , old men  ,and little kids , together with women girls of course ...were allowed to stay in the village .

The old farmer said the same thing again to the villagers  who rushed to him to express their joy for the fact that his injured son  was not taken by the army ...

This story goes on and on indefinitely ...like that ...

..........

Here is an analogy regarding what you said also :

Logic or reason are also as less infaillible as common sense is by the way , as David Hume used to say .

.......

Take also , for example , this analogy :

As a western lady , i assume , say , you go to the US  where many foreigners taxi-drivers are out there , or  to any foreign country for that matter :

You talk to the first taxi-driver in English after landing in the airport , he/she turns out to be no English speaker , you go to the next one , the same happens, to the third one and so on , the same happens , there is no reason to assume that the next one after all that would also turn out to be no English speaker .

Take care




Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 13/09/2013 18:27:29
If consciousness is immaterial, that is not made of any form of matter and energy, and cannot be studied by any empirical or physical process, how does one know what it is, or isn't, what it can and cannot do, it's effects on other things, or anything about it?  It would seem that one is stuck with the options of 1) a priori reasoning, 2) some intuitive process and/or lucky guess, or 3) divine revelation, all of which are problematic. As powerful as logic and reasoning can be, your subsequent understanding of consciousness will rest on whether or not it is as you originally define it to be, that it has the characteristics you say it does. Lucky guesses and divine revelation will ultimately result in logical fallacies like "appeal to authority," eg something is true because the Bible says so, or the Koran says so, or Jojo's psychic hotline says so.

I guess the forth option is just to say it is unknowable, but that seems rather like just giving up.

If I am overlooking some path to knowledge about something which is immaterial, please fill me in.

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 13/09/2013 18:38:23
Quote from: DonQuichotte

You're distorting my views : Who said that science can be or rather exist , let alone function without observation, experience, empirical evidence , without verifiable falsifiable reproducible results ? = that's the very definition of science by the way : what has that to do with materialism as a world view then ?


Because experiments, observations, measurements, and empirical evidence are all material processes involving material things!
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 18:39:59
Here's another banana for the troll.

Welcome back , Mr . machine jesuit : I am delighted to have you back  .

I thought you said you were gone haha

What happened ? Was i able to trigger some mechanical mechanism in you , somehow ?

I know what particular "buttons " to push in you, don't worry .

If you happen to be looking for just that , all you have to do is just : shoot indeed.

You are welcome .

I would love to conduct some harmless innocent ethical experiments here , to be honest , i must admit .

I love bananas , i have enough of them by the way , thanks .

Can you sink even lower ?I wonder ,  I think you have already reached the bottom : you do not need any further push from anyone for that matter ,  i was not even responsible for , i was not even causing ...

Congratulations .

You are really turning into a real troll now , i see : do not preach what you do not do , Mr.mechanical hypocrit preacher .

Interesting sudden development worth studying carefully indeed .

I feel i am gonna have some real fun here : awesome .


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 18:45:43
Quote from: DonQuichotte

You're distorting my views : Who said that science can be or rather exist , let alone function without observation, experience, empirical evidence , without verifiable falsifiable reproducible results ? = that's the very definition of science by the way : what has that to do with materialism as a world view then ?


Because experiments, observations, measurements, and empirical evidence are all material processes involving material things!

Do not confuse material things, the material nature of science , or the material side of reality with ...materialism as a world view , philosophy , life style, paradigm....= 2 entirely different categories  .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 19:04:04
If consciousness is immaterial, that is not made of any form of matter and energy, and cannot be studied by any empirical or physical process, how does one know what it is, or isn't, what it can and cannot do, it's effects on other things, or anything about it?  It would seem that one is stuck with the options of 1) a priori reasoning, 2) some intuitive process and/or lucky guess, or 3) divine revelation, all of which are problematic. As powerful as logic and reasoning can be, your subsequent understanding of consciousness will rest on whether or not it is as you originally define it to be, that it has the characteristics you say it does. Lucky guesses and divine revelation will ultimately result in logical fallacies like "appeal to authority," eg something is true because the Bible says so, or the Koran says so, or Jojo's psychic hotline says so.

I guess the forth option is just to say it is unknowable, but that seems rather like just giving up.

If I am overlooking some path to knowledge about something which is immaterial, please fill me in.

There is also another option regarding the approach of consciousness, mainly because no single approach of consciousness can ever be able to claim itself to be totally scientific , not even remotely close thus , including the magical materialistic approach of consciousness thus :

Either we wait for some radical shift of paradigm in science ,or rather for a radical shift of meta-paradigm in  science,meta-paradigm  that's underlying all those paradigms or sub-paradigms in science , a radical shift of meta-paradigm that would disprove the actually mainstream materialistic dominating meta-paradigm in science =the materialistic meta-paradigm in science = that the universe is exclusively material .

Or combined with the fact that we  can try to approach consciousness via trying to extend our levels of consciousness via personal experiences shaped by certain world views, by the personal experiences of others on the subject , by ancient wisdoms on the subject , by trying to be up to date regarding what science can  relatively  say about consciousness via studying its alleged receiver some more : the brain : we still do not know much about the extreme complexity of the latter though ....
= a multi-approach then that might result in some sort of holistic synthesis someday = science alone cannot really approach consciousness ...we should combine science with a holistic approach ....of consciousness ...

Art, literature , philosophy , .....can also have some say on the subject as well thus ...

I dunno .

That's just my take on that .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 19:07:32
Later , alligators ...kidding
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 13/09/2013 20:18:55
If consciousness is immaterial, that is not made of any form of matter and energy, and cannot be studied by any empirical or physical process, how does one know what it is, or isn't, what it can and cannot do, it's effects on other things, or anything about it?  It would seem that one is stuck with the options of 1) a priori reasoning, 2) some intuitive process and/or lucky guess, or 3) divine revelation, all of which are problematic. As powerful as logic and reasoning can be, your subsequent understanding of consciousness will rest on whether or not it is as you originally define it to be, that it has the characteristics you say it does. Lucky guesses and divine revelation will ultimately result in logical fallacies like "appeal to authority," eg something is true because the Bible says so, or the Koran says so, or Jojo's psychic hotline says so.

I guess the forth option is just to say it is unknowable, but that seems rather like just giving up.

If I am overlooking some path to knowledge about something which is immaterial, please fill me in.

There is also another option regarding the approach of consciousness, mainly because no single approach of consciousness can ever be able to claim itself to be totally scientific , not even remotely close thus , including the magical materialistic approach of consciousness thus :

Either we wait for some radical shift of paradigm in science ,or rather for a radical shift of meta-paradigm in  science,meta-paradigm  that's underlying all those paradigms or sub-paradigms in science , a radical shift of meta-paradigm that would disprove the actually mainstream materialistic dominating meta-paradigm in science =the materialistic meta-paradigm in science = that the universe is exclusively material .

Or combined with the fact that we  can try to approach consciousness via trying to extend our levels of consciousness via personal experiences shaped by certain world views, by the personal experiences of others on the subject , by ancient wisdoms on the subject , by trying to be up to date regarding what science can  relatively  say about consciousness via studying its alleged receiver some more : the brain : we still do not know much about the extreme complexity of the latter though ....
= a multi-approach then that might result in some sort of holistic synthesis someday = science alone cannot really approach consciousness ...we should combine science with a holistic approach ....of consciousness ...

Art, literature , philosophy , .....can also have some say on the subject as well thus ...

I dunno .

That's just my take on that .


I don't see where you have really provided another option than the ones I listed above.

ancient wisdom - appeal to authority, divine revelation
philosophy -  a prior reasoning, appeal to authority
personal experience - intuitive process, lucky guess, or divine revelation
other people's personal experience - appeal to authority
Expanding consciousness to understand consciousness - intuitive, or a priori reasoning
art, literature - intuitive process, more appeals to authority.
Paradigm shift - to what? Belief in the immaterial? Which can be known or understood by what means? See above.

Combining all of the above in some "holisitic" way does not solve your problem.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 13/09/2013 20:39:48
If consciousness is immaterial, that is not made of any form of matter and energy, and cannot be studied by any empirical or physical process, how does one know what it is, or isn't, what it can and cannot do, it's effects on other things, or anything about it?  It would seem that one is stuck with the options of 1) a priori reasoning, 2) some intuitive process and/or lucky guess, or 3) divine revelation, all of which are problematic. As powerful as logic and reasoning can be, your subsequent understanding of consciousness will rest on whether or not it is as you originally define it to be, that it has the characteristics you say it does. Lucky guesses and divine revelation will ultimately result in logical fallacies like "appeal to authority," eg something is true because the Bible says so, or the Koran says so, or Jojo's psychic hotline says so.

I guess the forth option is just to say it is unknowable, but that seems rather like just giving up.

If I am overlooking some path to knowledge about something which is immaterial, please fill me in.

There is also another option regarding the approach of consciousness, mainly because no single approach of consciousness can ever be able to claim itself to be totally scientific , not even remotely close thus , including the magical materialistic approach of consciousness thus :

Either we wait for some radical shift of paradigm in science ,or rather for a radical shift of meta-paradigm in  science,meta-paradigm  that's underlying all those paradigms or sub-paradigms in science , a radical shift of meta-paradigm that would disprove the actually mainstream materialistic dominating meta-paradigm in science =the materialistic meta-paradigm in science = that the universe is exclusively material .

Or combined with the fact that we  can try to approach consciousness via trying to extend our levels of consciousness via personal experiences shaped by certain world views, by the personal experiences of others on the subject , by ancient wisdoms on the subject , by trying to be up to date regarding what science can  relatively  say about consciousness via studying its alleged receiver some more : the brain : we still do not know much about the extreme complexity of the latter though ....
= a multi-approach then that might result in some sort of holistic synthesis someday = science alone cannot really approach consciousness ...we should combine science with a holistic approach ....of consciousness ...

Art, literature , philosophy , .....can also have some say on the subject as well thus ...

I dunno .

That's just my take on that .


I don't see where you have really provided another option than the ones I listed above.

ancient wisdom - appeal to authority, divine revelation
philosophy -  a prior reasoning, appeal to authority
personal experience - intuitive process, lucky guess, or divine revelation
other people's personal experience - appeal to authority
Expanding consciousness to understand consciousness - intuitive, or a priori reasoning
art, literature - intuitive process, more appeals to authority.
Paradigm shift - to what? Belief in the immaterial? Which can be known or understood by what means? See above.

Combining all of the above in some "holisitic" way does not solve your problem.

I have little time left at my disposal, so , i am gonna just say the following  very quickly  ,for the time being at least :

Once again, science alone cannot help in that regard ,can just partly help by sheding light on the alleged receiver of consciousness : the brain , mainly due to the fact that consciousness is immaterial , science must be combined with what i mentioned .

Philosophy is no appeal to authority , philosophy can be enriched and developed by science results as well , not to mention the philosophy of science ...

Personal experiences do contain some cognitive elements as well ,not just subjective ones,  and can be developed by life experiences, scientific knowledge  ...by experienced spirituality, experienced art ...

Ancient wisdom also contains some cognitive elements ,  some cognitive elements of other people's personal experiences as well ....

For example, you can try to get in touch , so to speak, with your self , consciousness, inner life via meditation, via mindfulness, ....via other means as well .

Literature , art , music , philosophy, world views, ancient wisdoms , personal experiences, life experiences, psychology  ...combined with sciences can deliver some holistic approach of consciousness ...

It's not my problem that science is guided by a false meta-paradigm ...I am not responsible for just that haha

Just take a look at the following then :

 http://keentalks.com/primacy-consciousness/

P.S.: I am not really responsible for the potential errors that might or might not be contained in this post of mine , blame that eventually on  the speed of "light " through which i wrote this post .

Good night
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 13/09/2013 23:18:56
What's so surreal about it then ?
You're just not trying...

Quote
Why did you ignore my other quotes ? because you could not answer them maybe ?
Most of your questions have been asked and answered repeatedly; did you have some particular question in mind that hasn't yet been asked or answered?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 13/09/2013 23:22:19
I dunno .

That's just my take on that .
Can't argue with that; you could have just omitted all the preceding blah.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 13/09/2013 23:26:18
P.S.: I am not really responsible for the potential errors that might or might not be contained in this post of mine , blame that eventually on  the speed of "light " through which i wrote this post .
Your choice, your post, your responsibility.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 14/09/2013 13:26:05
Why  I like science:

Materialists may be like the guy searching for his keys under the lamp post because the light is better there, but at least he will know whether or not they are there. He can rule out that part of the lawn. The materialist hopes to build a better light to extend the search to more distant areas. At any rate, it seems preferable to groping around the dark, hoping to get lucky.

Rhythmic Brain Waves: Fluctuations in Electrical Activity May Allow Brain to Form Thoughts and Memories
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121121130815.htm

The above link discusses research about one small aspect of brain activity linking cells to thoughts: "A new study from researchers at MIT and Boston University (BU) sheds light on how neural ensembles form thoughts and support the flexibility to change one's mind. The research team, led by Earl Miller, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, identified groups of neurons that encode specific behavioral rules by oscillating in synchrony with each other."

To the philosopher looking for big answers to big questions, it would not seem terribly impressive, but it is to me. Perhaps I have a small mind, but I  would rather know one small detail about the world with some degree of certainty than have a vague, fuzzy concept about life, the universe, and everything. I would rather understand the workings of a cricket.

Although there have been revolutionary shifts in thinking in  science, I think the bulk of scientific knowledge advances in these small increments, chipping away slowly at the nature of reality, one chemical reaction or oscillating neuron or particle experiment at time.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 14/09/2013 13:42:50
Why  I like science:
<wise words>

Well put.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 14/09/2013 13:43:34
More bananas for the troll.

[These banana comments aren't aimed at the troll.]
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 14/09/2013 18:23:07
Why  I like science:

Materialists may be like the guy searching for his keys under the lamp post because the light is better there, but at least he will know whether or not they are there. He can rule out that part of the lawn. The materialist hopes to build a better light to extend the search to more distant areas. At any rate, it seems preferable to groping around the dark, hoping to get lucky.

Rhythmic Brain Waves: Fluctuations in Electrical Activity May Allow Brain to Form Thoughts and Memories
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121121130815.htm

The above link discusses research about one small aspect of brain activity linking cells to thoughts: "A new study from researchers at MIT and Boston University (BU) sheds light on how neural ensembles form thoughts and support the flexibility to change one's mind. The research team, led by Earl Miller, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, identified groups of neurons that encode specific behavioral rules by oscillating in synchrony with each other."

To the philosopher looking for big answers to big questions, it would not seem terribly impressive, but it is to me. Perhaps I have a small mind, but I  would rather know one small detail about the world with some degree of certainty than have a vague, fuzzy concept about life, the universe, and everything. I would rather understand the workings of a cricket.

Although there have been revolutionary shifts in thinking in  science, I think the bulk of scientific knowledge advances in these small increments, chipping away slowly at the nature of reality, one chemical reaction or oscillating neuron or particle experiment at time.

Is this some sort of desperate pleading and stubborn denial ?
Anyway :
You forgot to mention that materialism itself is just a world view, a philosophy , a life style, a paradigm ...you do continue to confuse with science proper , with the apparent material side of reality , with the material nature of science , with scientific approaches, with scientific results and facts ...

Not to mention that materialistic interpretations of science or of science results facts has nothing to do with the latter also .

It is also a fact that we all change reality , scientific experiments ,scientific results , ...whenever we look at them  , in the sense that we get a modified version of them via our human interpretations and perceptions of them  , or we just get a representation of reality, not reality proper  .

Second : that certain neurons can generate thoughts is just a materialistic magical assumption interpretation that can be compared to that magical materialistic "emergence " trick regarding consciousness : I provided you earlier with some analogies or metaphors regarding just that , in the sense that a tv set ,for example , cannot create tv signals or images , otherwise , all the images we see on tv ,regarding people , landscapes ...."might be living inside the tv haha " : i was once once on tv myself : my family recorded that , and while we were watching it afterwards at home , my little kids told me : dad, were you living inside the tv? : how come you are here and not there where you live inside the tv haha : Get the pic or rather metaphor ?

Sweet dreams , darling ,or rather dear Alice in your own materialistic mechanical magical wonderland :

I will sum up the true reality and nature of materialism as follows :

The materialist is the guy who looks at the world universe through a key hole tunnel vision ,thanks to his / her materialism as just an exclusive narrow-minded reductionist mechanical world view .and therefore pretends that all he / she can see through that key hole is all what there is out there ,while trying to make science fit into that materialistic key hole , via some magical performance, in order to be able to "validate " itself in the process ,via magic thus .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 14/09/2013 18:51:26
@ dlorde :

If you have something intelligent to say , be my guest , go ahead , knock yourself out ,make my day and just say it .
I do not have time for silly games , or silly remarks ,rhetorics ...

Davide Cooper : Get a life , grow up ,stop trolling , or just continue doing just that , if that would make you happy and give you some sense of purpose or meaning ...: It's gonna be extrenmely difficult for you to climb that whole mountain all the way from its  very bottom  you have already reached : if you need any help in that regard , just say so , deal ?
Good luck .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 14/09/2013 18:57:09
Why  I like science:
<wise words>

Well put.

Sweet dreams in your magical materialistic wonderland, Alice II


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 14/09/2013 21:04:09
Quote from: dlorde
... did you have some particular question in mind that hasn't yet been asked or answered?
@ dlorde :If you have something intelligent to say , be my guest , go ahead , knock yourself out ,make my day and just say it .
I do not have time for silly games , or silly remarks ,rhetorics ...
OK. I'll take that as a 'no'.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 15/09/2013 00:23:23
To the philosopher looking for big answers to big questions, it would not seem terribly impressive, but it is to me.

Come off it, girl! Have you ever met a philosopher who was looking for an answer, or was prepared to accept one? AFAIK the job of philosophers is to try to convince you that you don't understand the question, or if it is plain that you do (because you asked the question), that you couldn't possibly understand the answer.

"How does a cricket work?" is a big question because if we knew, we could explain pretty much everything from the origin of life to its probable destiny. "Why does the universe exist?" looks like a big question to a philosopher, but it is illogical nonsense based on human vanity, and therefore inconsequential.

The reason I like science is because what we do is VERY IMPORTANT and VERY INTERESTING. And I'm pretty sure you feel the same.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 15/09/2013 02:36:36



Is this some sort of desperate pleading and stubborn denial ?
Anyway :
You forgot to mention that materialism itself is just a world view, a philosophy , a life style, a paradigm ...you do continue to confuse with science proper , with the apparent material side of reality , with the material nature of science , with scientific approaches, with scientific results and facts ..


You keep accusing me and other posters of confusing materialism as a tool of science with materialism as “a world view or life style”, but I can’t help but conclude that it is actually you who is doing this. I am in fact specifically and only referring to a belief that the world consists of matter and energy, and the use of physical processes involving matter and energy in order to learn more  about the world. You are the only person here ranting about Soulless White Eurocentric Apes holding Science Proper captive. Materialsim as a “lifestyle” I assume refers to valuing material goods and money above knowledge, ideas, helping people, experiences, etc, and I do not know how I or anyone else has displayed or advocated that. I really think it is you who is confusing the two terms which are only superficially related in the English language anyway. Incidentally, “material” in English also refers to fabric, and although I am a materialist, I am not a seamstress, in case you might be confused on this point.

PS Why do you not call David Cooper or dlorde "darling"? They are probably younger and cuter than I am, and I hear alancalverd is totally hot.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 15/09/2013 03:11:11
Quote from: DonQuichotte

Second : that certain neurons can generate thoughts is just a materialistic magical assumption [b
interpretation [/b]that can be compared to that magical materialistic "emergence " trick regarding consciousness : I provided you earlier with some analogies or metaphors regarding just that , in the sense that a tv set ,for example , cannot create tv signals or images , otherwise , all the images we see on tv ,regarding people , landscapes ...."might be living inside the tv haha " : i was once once on tv myself : my family recorded that , and while we were watching it afterwards at home , my little kids told me : dad, were you living inside the tv? : how come you are here and not there where you live inside the tv haha : Get the pic or rather metaphor ?

Sweet dreams , darling ,or rather dear Alice in your own materialistic mechanical magical wonderland :

I will sum up the true reality and nature of materialism as follows :

The materialist is the guy who looks at the world universe through a key hole tunnel vision ,thanks to his / her materialism as just an exclusive narrow-minded reductionist mechanical world view .and therefore pretends that all he / she can see through that key hole is all what there is out there ,while trying to make science fit into that materialistic key hole , via some magical performance, in order to be able to "validate " itself in the process ,via magic thus .



I have friends who believe in the supernatural, paranormal, and of course, religion. I do not ridicule their beliefs or try to convert them to my way of thinking, and we have some interesting and pleasant discussions.

I do sometimes feel, though, that people who look for supernatural and "immaterial" explanations are like spoiled children at Christmas who see an entire room strewn with presents and packages and say "Is that all there is?" before opening a single one and looking inside.

Excuse me for psycho-analyzing you, but you seem to attribute a positive value, or "sacredness" to the immaterial and see everything material, from simple atoms to the flesh on the the bone, as profane. But I see something sacred or magical in the nuts and bolts of reality and every chemical reaction. The physical world needs no supernatural embellishment - it's awe inspiring enough to me on it's own. 

I sometimes wonder if someone could prove the existence  of angels, whether after I got over my initial surprise, they would be any more interesting than beavers or octopi. Certainly no imaginary description of angels has held my interest as much.

DonQuixote: when you ridicule me for not believing in something more beyond what I can see, I pity you for not seeing all that is there, right in your grasp.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 15/09/2013 10:28:47
PS Why do you not call David Cooper or dlorde "darling"? They are probably younger and cuter than I am, and I hear alancalverd is totally hot.
He used to call me 'dear', but he's obviously switched his affections - good luck with that!

@ dlorde :... When you will acknowledge ,recognize and realise the obvious  limits of science , reason, logic ....when you will stop confusing materialism as an exclusive world view with science ....

Otherwise , just keep on cherishing your own materialistic illusions ,delusions and fairytales in your own materialistic wonderland , dear Alice .
As you can see, his patronising is as Cut'n'Paste as his 'arguments', and all the really cool stuff is conveniently beyond science, reason, & logic.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 15/09/2013 10:39:12
PS Why do you not call David Cooper or dlorde "darling"? They are probably younger and cuter than I am, and I hear alancalverd is totally hot.

and very modest about it.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 15/09/2013 14:44:13
Of course, comments about feeding trolls are really just to make trolls think they're winning whenever they're fed. The opposite is true.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 15/09/2013 16:57:09
PS Why do you not call David Cooper or dlorde "darling"? They are probably younger and cuter than I am, and I hear alancalverd is totally hot.

and very modest about it.

So what ? I might be hotter than you could ever be as well haha,whatever that might mean .

We were born that way : there is no reason to pretend to be modest about something you have no merit in , or something you had no say in , something you had no input in whatsoever............
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 15/09/2013 17:13:22
PS Why do you not call David Cooper or dlorde "darling"? They are probably younger and cuter than I am, and I hear alancalverd is totally hot.
He used to call me 'dear', but he's obviously switched his affections - good luck with that!

@ dlorde :... When you will acknowledge ,recognize and realise the obvious  limits of science , reason, logic ....when you will stop confusing materialism as an exclusive world view with science ....

Otherwise , just keep on cherishing your own materialistic illusions ,delusions and fairytales in your own materialistic wonderland , dear Alice .
As you can see, his patronising is as Cut'n'Paste as his 'arguments', and all the really cool stuff is conveniently beyond science, reason, & logic.

I do use  the words darling , dear ....just as a form of courtesy , politeness ..that's all .

As for the rest of your "input " , instead of discussing people, try to discuss what they have to say , deal ? Otherwise , just have the decency to shut up .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 15/09/2013 18:39:42
Quote from: DonQuichotte

Second : that certain neurons can generate thoughts is just a materialistic magical assumption [b
interpretation [/b]that can be compared to that magical materialistic "emergence " trick regarding consciousness : I provided you earlier with some analogies or metaphors regarding just that , in the sense that a tv set ,for example , cannot create tv signals or images , otherwise , all the images we see on tv ,regarding people , landscapes ...."might be living inside the tv haha " : i was once once on tv myself : my family recorded that , and while we were watching it afterwards at home , my little kids told me : dad, were you living inside the tv? : how come you are here and not there where you live inside the tv haha : Get the pic or rather metaphor ?

Sweet dreams , darling ,or rather dear Alice in your own materialistic mechanical magical wonderland :

I will sum up the true reality and nature of materialism as follows :

The materialist is the guy who looks at the world universe through a key hole tunnel vision ,thanks to his / her materialism as just an exclusive narrow-minded reductionist mechanical world view .and therefore pretends that all he / she can see through that key hole is all what there is out there ,while trying to make science fit into that materialistic key hole , via some magical performance, in order to be able to "validate " itself in the process ,via magic thus .



I have friends who believe in the supernatural, paranormal, and of course, religion. I do not ridicule their beliefs or try to convert them to my way of thinking, and we have some interesting and pleasant discussions.


It takes 2 to tango,sweetie,  i just try to adapt my behaviour to that of the audience at hand .

Facts about something are not synonymous of ridiculing it .Respect is somethingelse .I can respect your views as long as you do not try to impose them on me as scientific facts or as scientific approaches , but the fact of the matter is : you do present materialistic views and approaches as scientific facts , or at least as scientific approaches : that way , either one who would object to that would be branded as unscientific ,irrational or worse , as that lunatic mechanical jesuit Cooper did in relation to the fact that i refused to share his mechanical views with him ...
Who was trying to convert anyone here ? Cooper as a mechanical jesuit was , for example, and when it became obvious that i would not embrace his mechanical faith , see what  his reaction was ...not to mention the fact that he still continues to play the fool in that regard as well .

I do have no problem with any world view, religion, current of thought , culture , people ...whatsoever , as long as they do not try to impose their own beliefs on others , in the name of science or in the name of any ...Jupiter ,Zeus or whatever for that matter ...

Materialists ,for example , are not only dishonest  enough as to present their own materialistic world views and approaches as scientific facts or as scientific  approaches , but they are in fact worse than that : they deliberately deceive people in the name of science as well = an understatement .


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I do sometimes feel, though, that people who look for supernatural and "immaterial" explanations are like spoiled children at Christmas who see an entire room strewn with presents and packages and say "Is that all there is?" before opening a single one and looking inside.

I do see the materialistic approaches regarding our immaterial side , for example , as the childish belief of some little kids who believe that Obama lives inside the tv .

The suprnatural does exist out there you gotta try to differentiate from ordinary fairy tales, kids' imagination, illusions ....Even that Russell's tea pot argument cannot cover the real supernatural out there ...

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Excuse me for psycho-analyzing you, but you seem to attribute a positive value, or "sacredness" to the immaterial and see everything material, from simple atoms to the flesh on the the bone, as profane. But I see something sacred or magical in the nuts and bolts of reality and every chemical reaction. The physical world needs no supernatural embellishment - it's awe inspiring enough to me on it's own. 


Everything in the universe is , per definition , sacred in my own belief,including chemical reactions, atoms ,sex ....(I am a happily married perfectly hetero guy to an angel of a woman i do "worship " : legetimate sex in my belief is even a kindda spiritual prayer , not just a biological process  ..... My artist side , that artist sensitive side brings me in trouble sometimes with people ,and does cause some misunderstanding as well in and by people : Get the pic ?  ): it's just that the implications of that  universal sacredness of everything in the universe in that  belief of mine regarding this or that on earth or elsewhere are a matter of degree ...-= a dog's life is not as sacred as the  human life ,but at the same time , saving a dog's life is a nobel thing to do as well = a matter of priority , balance , humanity , relativity,degree of sacredness  ....

Furthermore , i might even risk my own life and eventually even lose it by trying to save a dog's life ........there are many blanks like that that need to be filled ...

That awe of this world you get inspired by originates from your consciousness as a reaction to that you see ..., from your self or soul mainly , a soul you are trying to reduce to living organic matter = have you ever seen any non-human species being delighted or marvelled by the sunset , by nature ,by music, art,poetry  ... by the aesthetics of anything for that matter ? They might experience some lesser degrees of that , compared to humans ( no comparison in fact , just an analogy ) , but they would never be able to reach the level of humans or of rather some humans  in that regard  , not even remotely close .

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I sometimes wonder if someone could prove the existence  of angels, whether after I got over my initial surprise, they would be any more interesting than beavers or octopi. Certainly no imaginary description of angels has held my interest as much.

Ever occured to you that that might be beyond your or beyond any human imagination for that matter ?

You seem to have been overestimating the and your  human capacity of judgement or intellect as well  (dlorde said once that human intellect is no big deal though haha ) : you gotta use your heart as the highest form of intellect to just acknowledge the foolishness of your statements above : heart as no emotions, fee lings , or biological organ ...

When you will be grown-up and mature enough , you will be able to acknowledge the fact that science , for example , covers only a tiny apparent side of reality , and that human reason, logic ....have also limits + there might be other levels of reality out there we have absolutely no "idea " about = can you a-priori exclude any possibility or probability like that ?

So, do not act like a bee on the back of an elephant ( no comparison, just an analogy ) trying to "figure out " what that elephant might be , just via covering the area  or part of that elephant where it happens to stand .

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DonQuixote: when you ridicule me for not believing in something more beyond what I can see, I pity you for not seeing all that is there, right in your grasp.

Pleading again , sweetie ? :

 I am gonna only sweetie you from now on....simply because i think that women are the most beautiful creatures on earth ...women are far more sensitive intuitive than we could ever be ,if they happen not to be mechanical haha at least , no offense ,  women are more intelligent in some areas we could never reach ....women are the ones in charge in this world and in our private lives as well, even though they even succeed in making us , men , believe otherwise haha ...
Guys might have some perverse ideas if i would call them that they do not even deserve haha


Well, i see this apparent material side of reality science tries to cover ,every single day of my life i do interact with all the time : I just do not interpret it   the way you do by pretending that's all what there is out there : this apparent reality of ours is just an illusion in fact :

who's really to be pitied here , if pity can ever mean anything for that matter or seve any purpose , is a matter of opinion indeed , a matter of wishful thinking as well ...sometimes ..

Take care , sweetie .

Try to read that unique book of Linda Jean Shepherd that might turn your own life upside down , by , for example , showing you why and how you were / are attracted by the materialistic mechanical world view , and why you do the things you do, among manny other things as well ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 15/09/2013 18:42:07
Expressions of courtesy , politeness .....and affection are 2 entirely different things .
There can be no affection involved , do not worry , folks haha ,simply because i do know neither of you, personally ...

In short : Grow up ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 15/09/2013 18:49:02
Of course, comments about feeding trolls are really just to make trolls think they're winning whenever they're fed. The opposite is true.

Ever heard of projections ?

This would sound like feeding you , as the real silly fool troll here who seems to need some therapy of some sort  :
.............
It's not about winning ,silly : this is no competition .
It's all about trying to find out about the "truth " ,whatever the latter might mean or be  ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 15/09/2013 19:09:07



Is this some sort of desperate pleading and stubborn denial ?
Anyway :
You forgot to mention that materialism itself is just a world view, a philosophy , a life style, a paradigm ...you do continue to confuse with science proper , with the apparent material side of reality , with the material nature of science , with scientific approaches, with scientific results and facts ..


You keep accusing me and other posters of confusing materialism as a tool of science with materialism as “a world view or life style”, but I can’t help but conclude that it is actually you who is doing this. I am in fact specifically and only referring to a belief that the world consists of matter and energy, and the use of physical processes involving matter and energy in order to learn more  about the world. You are the only person here ranting about Soulless White Eurocentric Apes holding Science Proper captive. Materialsim as a “lifestyle” I assume refers to valuing material goods and money above knowledge, ideas, helping people, experiences, etc, and I do not know how I or anyone else has displayed or advocated that. I really think it is you who is confusing the two terms which are only superficially related in the English language anyway. Incidentally, “material” in English also refers to fabric, and although I am a materialist, I am not a seamstress, in case you might be confused on this point.

I was  referring only to materialism as , once again, a philosophy , paradigm or meta-pardigm in science , as a world view , as a life style ...though : do not confuse it with the rest .
Do not confuse science with materialism in that sense , once again .
Materialism in that sense you can trace back to the medieval time as an Eurocentric historic cultural  ...rebellion against the bullshit , excuse my French, of the medieval church.

You happened to provide that link concerning the "fact " that ensemble of neurons can somehow generate thoughts, via some "rythmic harmonious "  dances of theirs , metaphorically speaking then = oscillations, synchronisations,vibrations  ... ...

I said : that's just the materialistic interpretation of those scientific experiments , in the same sense that the "fact " that human consciousness is an "emergent " property from the evolved complexity of the human brain ....is : magical : Got that ,sweetie ?

If not , try to re-read what i used to say in that regard at least in my earlier posts = I see no point in repeating myself over and over again , in that regard at least .



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PS Why do you not call David Cooper or dlorde "darling"? They are probably younger and cuter than I am, and I hear alancalverd is totally hot.

haha

See above , sweetie : sweet dreams in that regard as well then , Alice

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 15/09/2013 19:16:00
I have the weird feeling i have been talking to ..."grown-up " kids ...not only to machines ...on a presumed science forum, ironically enough .
I have enough kids of my own i have to take care of , deal with , ...

I do love them so much though  : my affection goes thus only to them and to my other beloved ones as well .

I am against adoption though haha : i have no room ,patience or intention of adopting you , guys : there are plenty of foster homes and institutions  ...out there .

Good luck indeed .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 16/09/2013 00:04:18
Quote from: DonQuichotte link=topic=48746.msg418329#msg418329

When you will be grown-up and mature enough , you will be able to acknowledge the fact that science , for example , covers only a tiny apparent side of reality , and that human reason, logic ....have also limits + there might be other levels of reality out there we have absolutely no "idea " about = can you a-priori exclude any possibility or probability like that ?



No, I cannot exclude that possibility, but without some means to detect those alternate realities, I have no way of distinguishing between something related to them which is true, and something that isn't true. But you're welcome to imagine any alternate reality you like.

I don't think anyone has really tried to make you change your views. Some, myself included, tried to force you to define or expound on terms you use constantly in your arguments, to no avail. And I at times I did not see how your conclusions followed your premises, regardless of whether I agreed with either. It's the process in your reasoning that drives me nuts, not the outcome.

If "science proper" refers to science that includes or takes into account supernatural objects or supernatural forces that cannot be studied by any materialist, physical process, you are the only one I know advocating for it.

I do know of controversial figures in science who challenge traditional explanations and suggest other models. Sheldrake comes to mind. He studied ESP and  his "morphic resonance" theory claims that some kind of energy field directs the growth and development of living things. He does not, apparently, think differential gene expression can do the job.  I think his theory is unlikely, as there doesn't seem to be any evidence for it.  But even he does not describe it as an immaterial or supernatural process, he just says we haven't figured out a way yet to detect this field. Although he hasn't abandoned materialism, he is, never the less, faced with the same problem as yours - without anyway to detect, to measure, to obtain any information about his morphic field, it remains just an imaginary speculation as far as science is concerned.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 16/09/2013 00:44:55
We were born that way : there is no reason to pretend to be modest about something you have no merit in , or something you had no say in , something you had no input in whatsoever............

Nah! Nobody was ever born this hot. It takes gallons of beer and years of patient selfabuse to cultivate a mind and a physique like mine. To say nothing of the moustache
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 16/09/2013 17:26:55
We were born that way : there is no reason to pretend to be modest about something you have no merit in , or something you had no say in , something you had no input in whatsoever............

Nah! Nobody was ever born this hot. It takes gallons of beer and years of patient selfabuse to cultivate a mind and a physique like mine. To say nothing of the moustache

Oh , no , you might have landed on the right address , Eagle , in order to be able to be taught some humility    haha : I used to be called Mr.Casanova or Mr.Don Juan and still am : I was also a Don Quichotte sometimes trying to "save " humanity or change it " ...I left memorable significant traces in most of Europe and some other earth corners ,both literally and figuratively : i cannot even count the broken hearts i left behind , the amazing things i did , experience ...i am not so proud of ...
When it comes to "self-abuse " , tons of beer , strong drink, cocke, marijuana , hash , xtc ...use : i was called the champ of just that i could use all that in a single night without ever losing control ...Sometimes we used to party for a period of more or less 48 hours straight non-stop ....

Oh, man , i will tell you all about it , if you would insist on knowing : you would hear about things i have done, experienced , felt , risked ....that might blow your mind away , things that might be beyond your imagination ...really and seriously : no exaggerations or bluff whatsoever ....I might even not give myself justice in that regard ...

P.S.: Be aware of the long term consequences of all those drugs, alcohol use , on brain body and mind : i kissed all that goodbye : i have been having a healthy life via good diet , sport , creative work ...love ...discipline ...meditation...

Not to mention that being born the way we were  is not something we can pretend to have any merit in , once again .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: David Cooper on 16/09/2013 18:19:50
Good work, folks! Thanks for keeping him busy and out of the real world.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 16/09/2013 18:53:24
Quote from: DonQuichotte link=topic=48746.msg418329#msg418329

When you will be grown-up and mature enough , you will be able to acknowledge the fact that science , for example , covers only a tiny apparent side of reality , and that human reason, logic ....have also limits + there might be other levels of reality out there we have absolutely no "idea " about = can you a-priori exclude any possibility or probability like that ?
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No, I cannot exclude that possibility, but without some means to detect those alternate realities, I have no way of distinguishing between something related to them which is true, and something that isn't true. But you're welcome to imagine any alternate reality you like

Ok, i know it's extremely difficult , elusive , deceptive .... to differentiate between real supernatural or paranormal phenomena and simple illusions, delusions, fairy tales , myths ...science alone cannot really help us in doing just that .

But, it takes hard work, life experiences, it takes flirting with death itself and looking it deep in the eye  ....it takes blood sweat and tears , joy , rise and fall ,setbacks and breakthroughs ....to just be able to develop that 6th sense that makes one sharp alert and awake sober lucid enough to know , not just believe in, there are   whole unimaginable dimentions and levels of reality out there our powerful developed mind can make us able to approach somehow , to some degree at least .

Just take a look at the following , for the time being at least : i will try to walk you through these amazing dimentions step by step , simply because you cannot handle the whole package at the same time :no one can for that matter :

I have developed some relative telepathic powers in my mind ,among other things as well,  for example, but not as powerful as those of some of my relatives though , you would be amazed at the incredible powers of the human mind , if only one would try to develop them  = The sky is not even the limit :

I think that human consciousness does not only hold THE  key to unveiling major mysteries in this universe , but also that  the most important and next level of human evolution at the level of consciousness  is yet to be undertaken by humanity as a whole  , while grasping its incredible implications for all humanity :

Human consciousness that has been deliberately ignored and marginalized by materialism in science , for obvious reasons: there can be nothing more important for human growth, evolution, progress and much more beyond all that than approaching the mysteries of human consciousness though .

I searched for a great docu concerning the CIA and KGB psi projects telepathy during the cold war , i did not find it on youtube ,but i do have in my pc , concerning what was called remote viewing : the psychic trained ability of some people ,especially creative artists , employed by the CIA to spy on the enemy from a remote distance , a large distance in fact , via their minds = it is still a huge controversy in science , the latter seems to have no answers to .

Just see this instead then :

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/telepathy/

I will give you other links concerning similar phenomena of the human mind ,another time then .


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

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I don't think anyone has really tried to make you change your views. Some, myself included, tried to force you to define or expound on terms you use constantly in your arguments, to no avail. And I at times I did not see how your conclusions followed your premises, regardless of whether I agreed with either. It's the process in your reasoning that drives me nuts, not the outcome.

Cooper reacted the way he did , simply because i did not wanna buy his exclusive mechanical world views ,concerning human consciousness at least , so .
Besides, when it comes to immaterial processes such as human consciousness or the nature, mystery or power of the human mind ,you cannot expect from me or from anyoneelse for that matter  to deliver some reasoning in that regard  .
The human consciousness or mind remain the hard problem in science and elsewhere nobody has ever been able so far to "crack the secrets or codes of " , i am no exception to that rule  .

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If "science proper" refers to science that includes or takes into account supernatural objects or supernatural forces that cannot be studied by any materialist, physical process, you are the only one I know advocating for it.

No, science proper must confine itself to matter and to material processes ,but materialists pretend to make their materialistic world views and approaches ...scientific, by reducing everything to just matter  , that's the problem mainly : major example ? : the materialistic "scientific " approach of human consciousness .

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I do know of controversial figures in science who challenge traditional explanations and suggest other models. Sheldrake comes to mind. He studied ESP and  his "morphic resonance" theory claims that some kind of energy field directs the growth and development of living things. He does not, apparently, think differential gene expression can do the job.  I think his theory is unlikely, as there doesn't seem to be any evidence for it.  But even he does not describe it as an immaterial or supernatural process, he just says we haven't figured out a way yet to detect this field. Although he hasn't abandoned materialism, he is, never the less, faced with the same problem as yours - without anyway to detect, to measure, to obtain any information about his morphic field, it remains just an imaginary speculation as far as science is concerned.

Yeah , i "know " that guy you mentioned here above : i do happen to be downloading his " The evolution of telepathy " video by the way : Rupert Sheldrake .
That's the problem with materialists , instead of trying to look for alternative non-materialistic explanations for phenomena or processes they cannot approach via their materialistic world views, via their meta-paradigm in science or via their materialistic approaches, they just resort to what a scientist has called " Promissory messianic materialism " =  materialism in science will be able some day to find explanations for consciousness ....= just denial , just a sophisticated dishonest exit -strategy , simply because materialism in science , per definition, will never be able to approach the immaterial consciousness ...for obvious reasons that have to do with the very nature of materialism itself .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 16/09/2013 19:04:21
Good work, folks! Thanks for keeping him busy and out of the real world.
[/quote]

haha

We're all both in this "real " world or "real reality " and in the other , at the same time , without realising that fact= try to figure that out via your mechanical magical world view then  .

The "real " world or "real reality "  is just an illusion though .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 16/09/2013 19:12:52
Make no mistake, please, folks : I do love science ,more than you can  ever imagine,you have no idea .
 I just reject materialism as a world view in ...science , that's all :
To illustrate my point once again, i am gonna display this interesting article on the subject , once again , even though i do not agree with the assumption there that humans are able to know the ...future : not in the sense explained by that article at least :


Why Consciousness is Not the Brain
IN THIS ISSUE FALL 2010

Fall 2010 Issue

 
The Science of Premonitions
Author: Larry Dossey

Excerpted from The Science of Premonition: How Knowing the Future Can Help Us Avoid Danger, Maximize Opportunities and Create a Better Life by Larry Dossey. Copyright 2009 by Larry Dossey. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Physicist Freeman Dyson believes the cosmos is suffused with consciousness, from the grandest level to the most minute dimensions. If it is, why aren’t we aware of it?
For more articles about "Science", Click Here

“We don’t know who first discovered water, but we can be sure that it wasn’t a fish,” the old saw reminds us. Continual exposure to something reduces our awareness of its presence. Over time, we become blind to the obvious. We swim in a sea of consciousness, like a fish swims in water. And like a fish that has become oblivious to his aqueous environment, we have become dulled to the ubiquity of consciousness.

Why Consciousness is Not the Brain - The Science of Premonitions - Larry Dossey

In science, we have largely ignored how consciousness manifests in our existence. We’ve done this by assuming that the brain produces consciousness, although how it might do so has never been explained and can hardly be imagined. The polite term for this trick is “emergence.” At a certain stage of biological complexity, evolutionary biologists claim, consciousness pops out of the brain like a rabbit from a magician’s hat. Yet this claim rests on no direct evidence whatsoever. As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry A. Fodo flatly states, “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. So much for our philosophy of consciousness.”

In spite of the complete absence of evidence, the belief that the brain produces consciousness endures and has ossified into dogma. Many scientists realize the limitations of this belief. One way of getting around the lack of evidence is simply to declare that what we call consciousness is the brain itself. That way, nothing is produced, and the magic of “emergence” is avoided. As astronomer Carl Sagan expressed his position, “My fundamental premise about the brain is that its workings – what we sometimes call mind – are a consequence of anatomy and physiology, and nothing more.” Nobelist Francis Crick agreed, saying “[A] person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make up and influence them.”

This “identity theory” – mind equals brain – has led legions of scientists and philosophers to regard consciousness as an unnecessary, superfluous concept. Some go out of their way to deny the existence of consciousness altogether, almost as if they bear a grudge against it. Tufts University cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett says, “We’re all zombies. Nobody is conscious.” Dennett includes himself in this extraordinary claim, and he seems proud of it.

Consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body, and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain.

Others suggest that there are no mental states at all, such as love, courage, or patriotism, but only electrochemical brain fluxes that should not be described with such inflated language. They dismiss thoughts and beliefs for the same reasons. This led Nobel neurophysiologist Sir John Eccles to remark that “professional philosophers and psychologists think up the notion that there are no thoughts, come to believe that there are no beliefs, and feel strongly that there are no feelings.” Eccles was emphasizing the absurdities that have crept into the debates about consciousness. They are not hard to spot. Some of the oddest experiences I recall are attending conferences where one speaker after another employs his consciousness to denounce the existence of consciousness, ignoring the fact that he consciously chose to register for the meeting, make travel plans, prepare his talks, and so on.

Many scientists concede that there are huge gaps in their knowledge of how the brain makes consciousness, but they are certain they will be filled in as science progresses. Eccles and philosopher of science Karl Popper branded this attitude “promissory materialism.” “[P]romissary materialism [is] a superstition without a rational foundation,” Eccles says. “[It] is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists . . .who confuse their religion with their science. It has all the features of a messianic prophecy.”

The arguments about the origins and nature of consciousness are central to premonitions. For if the promissory materialists are correct – if consciousness is indeed identical with the brain – the curtain closes on premonitions. The reason is that the brain is a local phenomenon – i.e., it is localized to the brain and body, and to the present. This prohibits premonitions in principle, because accordingly the brain cannot operate outside the body and the here-and-now. But consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body, and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain.

In science, we have largely ignored how consciousness manifests in our existence. We’ve done this by assuming that the brain produces consciousness, although how it might do so has never been explained and can hardly be imagined.

These assertions are not hyperbolic, but conservative. They are consistent with the entire span of human history, throughout which all cultures of which we have record believed that human perception extends beyond the reach of the senses. This belief might be dismissed as superstition but for the fact that modern research has established its validity beyond reasonable doubt to anyone whose reasoning has not clotted into hardened skepticism. To reiterate a single example – the evidence supporting foreknowledge – psi researchers Charles Honorton and Diane Ferrari examined 309 precognition experiments carried out by sixty-two investigators involving 50,000 participants in more than two million trials. Thirty percent of these studies were significant in showing that people can describe future events, when only five percent would be expected to demonstrate such results by chance. The odds that these results were not due to chance was greater than 10 to the twentieth power to one.

One of the first modern thinkers to endorse an outside-the-brain view of consciousness was William James, who is considered the father of American psychology. In his 1898 Ingersoll Lecture at Harvard University, James took a courageous stand against what he called “the fangs of cerebralism and the idea that consciousness is produced by the brain. He acknowledged that arrested brain development in childhood can lead to mental retardation, that strokes or blows to the head can abolish memory or consciousness, and that certain chemicals can change the quality of thought. But to consider this as proof that the brain actually makes consciousness, James said, is irrational.

Why Consciousness is Not the Brain - The Science of Premonitions - Larry Dossey

Why irrational? Consider a radio, an invention that was introduced during James’s lifetime, and which he used to illustrate the mind-brain relationship. If one bangs a radio with a hammer, it ceases to function. But that does not mean that the origin of the sounds was the radio itself; the sound originated from outside it in the form of an electromagnetic signal. The radio received, modified, and amplified the external signal into something recognizable as sound. Just so, the brain can be damaged in various ways that distort the quality of consciousness – trauma, stroke, nutritional deficiencies, dementia, etc. But this does not necessarily mean the brain “made” the consciousness that is now disturbed, or that consciousness is identical to the brain.

British philosopher Chris Carter endorses this analogy. Equating mind and brain is irrational, he says as listening to music on a radio, smashing the radio’s receiver, and thereby concluding that the radio was producing the music.

To update the analogy, consider a television set. We can damage a television set so severely that we lose the image on the screen, but this doesn’t prove that the TV actually produced the image. We know that David Letterman does not live behind the TV screen on which he appears; yet the contention that brain equals consciousness is as absurd as if he did.

My conclusion is that consciousness is not a thing or substance, but is a nonlocal phenomenon. Nonlocal is merely a fancy word for infinite. If something is nonlocal, it is not localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to specific points in time, such as the present.

The radio and TV analogies can be misleading, however, because consciousness does not behave like an electromagnetic signal. Electromagnetic (EM) signals display certain characteristics. The farther away they get from their source, the weaker they become. Not so with consciousness; its effects do not attenuate with increasing distance. For example, in the hundreds of healing experiments that have been done in both humans and animals, healing intentions work equally well from the other side of the earth as at the bedside of the sick individual. Moreover, EM signals can be blocked partially or completely, but the effects of conscious intention cannot be blocked by any known substance. For instance, sea water is known to block EM signals completely at certain depths, yet experiments in remote viewing have been successfully carried out beyond such depths, demonstrating that the long-distance communication between the involved individuals cannot depend on EM-type signals. In addition, EM signals require travel time from their source to a receiver, yet thoughts can be perceived simultaneously between individuals across global distances. Thoughts can be displaced in time, operating into both past and future. In precognitive remoteviewing experiments – for example, the hundreds of such experiments by the PEAR Lab at Princeton University – the receiver gets a future thought before it is ever sent. Furthermore, consciousness can operate into the past, as in the experiments involving retroactive intentions. Electromagnetic signals are not capable of these feats. From these differences, we can conclude that consciousness is not an electric signal.

Then what is it? My conclusion is that consciousness is not a thing or substance, but is a nonlocal phenomenon. Nonlocal is merely a fancy word for infinite. If something is nonlocal, it is not localized to specific points in space, such as brains or bodies, or to specific points in time, such as the present. Nonlocal events are immediate; they require no travel time. They are unmediated; they require no energetic signal to “carry” them. They are unmitigated; they do not become weaker with increasing distance. Nonlocal phenomena are omnipresent, everywhere at once. This means there is no necessity for them to go anywhere; they are already there. They are infinite in time as well, present at all moments, past present and future, meaning they are eternal.

Researcher Dean Radin, whose presentiment experiments provide profound evidence for future knowing, believes that the nonlocal events in the subatomic, quantum domain underlie the nonlocal events we experience at the human level. He invokes the concept of entanglement as a bridging hypothesis uniting the small- and large-scale happenings. Quantum entanglement and quantum nonlocality are indeed potent possibilities that may eventually explain our nonlocal experiences, but only further research will tell. Meanwhile, there is a gathering tide of opinion favoring these approaches. As physicist Chris Clarke, of the University of Southampton, says, “On one hand, Mind is inherently non-local. On the other, the world is governed by a quantum physics that is inherently non-local. This is no accident, but a precise correspondence ...[Mind and the world are] aspects of the same thing...The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe...We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture...Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.”

When scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind.

Whatever their explanation proves to be, the experiments documenting premonitions are real. They must be reckoned with. And when scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind. This view will affirm that consciousness is fundamental, omnipresent and eternal – a model that is as cordial to premonitions as the materialistic, brain-based view is hostile.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 16/09/2013 22:01:13
Rather than rehash all the old debunking of precognition/premonition, here's a link that deals with most of that mentioned (http://www.skepdic.com/precog.html).
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 16/09/2013 22:07:46
I have developed some relative telepathic powers in my mind...
Easy enough to say, but can you demonstrate these telepathic powers, e.g. to us? so far we've seen no indication of any special powers or intellect.

Quote
I searched for a great docu concerning the CIA and KGB psi projects telepathy during the cold war , i did not find it on youtube ,but i do have in my pc , concerning what was called remote viewing : the psychic trained ability of some people ,especially creative artists , employed by the CIA to spy on the enemy from a remote distance , a large distance in fact , via their minds = it is still a huge controversy in science , the latter seems to have no answers to .
The military remote viewing programs were shut down as 'too unreliable to be of any military value'. See Remote Viewing (http://www.skepdic.com/remotevw.html) for more.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 17/09/2013 15:33:28

Ok, i know it's extremely difficult , elusive , deceptive .... to differentiate between real supernatural or paranormal phenomena and simple illusions, delusions, fairy tales , myths ...science alone cannot really help us in doing just that .

But, it takes hard work, life experiences, it takes flirting with death itself and looking it deep in the eye  ....it takes blood sweat and tears , joy , rise and fall ,setbacks and breakthroughs ....to just be able to develop that 6th sense that makes one sharp alert and awake sober lucid enough to know , not just believe in, there are   whole unimaginable dimentions and levels of reality out there our powerful developed mind can make us able to approach somehow , to some degree at least .



Since you are fond of stories, I will share one with you. Of course we both know stories and analogies are not proof of anything, just illustrative, but I hope this will illustrate why how one knows something can be as important as what one knows.

The was an internet scam in which a person would send out a large number of emails claiming to be able to predict the results of boxing matches based on inside information he had about the fighters. To prove his ability he would make a prediction about a boxing match that was taking place next week. To half of the recipients he would say boxer A would be the winner and the other half, Boxer B. If Boxer A won, he sent out another email to those for whom he had predicted Boxer A. To half of those, he said the winner of the next match would be Boxer C, and to the other half Boxer D. If Boxer D won, he emailed those for whom he predicted Boxer D and made another prediction -I’m sure you see where I am going with this. After a series of several amazing “correct” predictions, his final email recipients received an email about an upcoming fight in which the odds were ten to one against Boxer G, but he was quite sure Boxer  G would win. If they wished, they could bet on it, or, since there wasn't much time, he would be happy to make the bet for them with his bookie, who was also giving an additional 2:1 odds on top.  Just wire him $5,000.  Hard to believe anyone would fall for this, but $100,000 on a $5,000 bet is a lot of money and he was right again and again! The scammer only needed one person to take the bait in order to walk away with an easy $5,000, one person who was over-impressed that this person had been so consistently right, without wondering why or how he knew what he claimed to know.

You might say, well, that’s different. He was con artist, not a scientist or philosopher sincerely seeking the truth. But deception or self deception takes many forms. Wanting to believe something, and wanting others to believe it, because it is more exciting, unusual, comforting, appeals to our egos as an individual or a species, and relieves our anxiety about mortality or the meaning of life and our sense of powerlessness, is a kind of deception, intentional or not. How one knows something, the kind of evidence and its verifiability and its transparency to others, is sometimes ones only defense against this.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 17/09/2013 16:33:03
You might say, well, that’s different. He was con artist, not a scientist or philosopher sincerely seeking the truth. But deception or self deception takes many forms. Wanting to believe something, and wanting others to believe it, because it is more exciting, unusual, comforting, appeals to our egos as an individual or a species, and relieves our anxiety about mortality or the meaning of life and our sense of powerlessness, is a kind of deception, intentional or not. How one knows something, the kind of evidence and its verifiability and its transparency to others, is sometimes ones only defense against this.

Yes, indeed. This kind of information-poor situation can also happen where fraud isn't necessarily involved, and it's even more difficult to spot. For example, in finance. Tables are often published of the most successful brokers, or portfolio and fund managers, year-on-year. It's tempting to pick the ones that have been consistently among the top performers for the last few years; but let's suppose their performance is not due to their talents, but is entirely random... consider looking at the top 20% of a group of 1250 fund managers.

At the end of year 1, there will be 250 in the top 20%. Of these, roughly 50 will be in the top 20% at the end of year 2, around 10 in year 3 and around 2 in year 4. But if you then picked the 2 managers who had been consistently in the top 20% over the last 4 years, you'd be likely to have no more success than if you'd picked at random.

Which is why it should come as no surprise when selections by monkeys or throwing darts at a list often do as well or better than 'top' portfolio managers... Past performance is truly no guarantee of future performance (this is not to say that there aren't good investors & managers out there, but that it's easy to be fooled by relative performance data).
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 17/09/2013 18:06:46
You might say, well, that’s different. He was con artist, not a scientist or philosopher sincerely seeking the truth. But deception or self deception takes many forms. Wanting to believe something, and wanting others to believe it, because it is more exciting, unusual, comforting, appeals to our egos.....

Brilliant scam, and reminds me of a doctor who always predicted the sex of a baby with 100% accuracy. He would tell the newly pregnant mother "it will be X" and write "Y" in his diary. Then if it turned out to be Y and mother complained, he would say "but you must be mistaken - look, I made a note in my diary!"
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 17/09/2013 18:19:43
Rather than rehash all the old debunking of precognition/premonition, here's a link that deals with most of that mentioned (http://www.skepdic.com/precog.html).

I don't care about that : i , myself, do not agree much with that premonition stuff , as i clearly stated .

What the author of the article  said about materialism in science is my main point in posting that article :  he said true things about materialism as an ossified promissory dogmatic messianic religion in science,so .

Why don't you address just that then ?




Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 17/09/2013 18:31:23
I have developed some relative telepathic powers in my mind...
Easy enough to say, but can you demonstrate these telepathic powers, e.g. to us? so far we've seen no indication of any special powers or intellect.

Pathetic,Tragic-hilarious  :

 The behaviour of people who suddenly do realise they have been believing in a lie (The materialistic magical lie , in this case ) ,living a lie ...can't be more typical than this one of yours = very predictable .

Ok, i am a dummy then, satisfied ? Now that we have proven this fact to be true haha , can you disprove what i or at least what  that above mentioned article of that physicist said about the magical irrational materialism ?
I think you are just trying so desperately to derail the discussion concerning the magical phony unscientific nature of materialism you believe in , by attacking people this vicious tragic-hilarious silly pathetic way , by making me angry :

Haha : And all that coming from a guy who said he turned his back on the christian magical superstitions , just to replace them by another kindda magic : the materialistic one he pretends it to be "scientific " haha
Typical Freudian self-projections , i see = are you hurt , deep down , by the fact that you witnessed the massacre of your beloved irrational magical materialism ? haha , that's why you act now like a total mechanical jerk as a reaction , aren't you and don't you  ?
Really ? Are you gonna now resort to acting like a jerk ,by imitating that other jerk , just because you obviously are incapable of looking at the universe beyond your key hole or tunnel vision magical materialistic mechanical phony irrational faith  ? = you can deliver no interesting insights , ideas , ....beyond that materialistic magic of yours , you happen to believe in without any shadow of a proof ,not even remotely close ...

And you dare to talk about the intellect of other people ? haha : how hypocrit and lowest of the low can you ever be or become ? : Tragic-hilarious pathetic silly psychological self-defense animal mechanical survival oe self-preservation instinct of yours .
Really ? and that coming from a guy who said that human intellect is no big deal .
Besides, you might be overestimating your capacity of judgement   as well,obviously  .
Reminds me of the story i told you earlier , you seem not to have been able to learn anything from, concerning how Albert Camus was attacked that vicious way by Sartre and co., by expressing bold explicit doubts concerning the intellect and integrity of Camus , just because the latter was so right about displaying the obvious  hypocrit paradoxical contradictory nakedness of existentialism represented by Sartre and co ...hahah ....wao ...
Once again, instead of discussing people,attacking people,  try to address what they have to say , Deal ? Otherwise , just have the decency to shut up = just shut up in fact : your magical materialism puts you in no position to deliver any interesting ideas or insights ...

Well, dude : the emperor's really naaaaaaked , even a child can see that obvious nakedness of his: you cannot disprove the truth concerning that magical bankrupt dishonest phony materialism in science by just attacking people who happen to tell the naked truth about that despicable materialism that's in fact lower than christinaity itself , that's even a degenerate form of christianity ,as Nietzsche used to say about .....humanism .

P.S.: I have to demonstrate nothing to you , especially when we would consider the fact that you turned out to be a narrow-minded ossified dogmatic messianic materialistic irrational believer who happens to believe in magic = the "emergence " trick = that excludes you  a-priori from any serious discussions regarding telepathy or any other paranormal phenomena for that matter .

Quote
Quote
I searched for a great docu concerning the CIA and KGB psi projects telepathy during the cold war , i did not find it on youtube ,but i do have in my pc , concerning what was called remote viewing : the psychic trained ability of some people ,especially creative artists , employed by the CIA to spy on the enemy from a remote distance , a large distance in fact , via their minds = it is still a huge controversy in science , the latter seems to have no answers to .
The military remote viewing programs were shut down as 'too unreliable to be of any military value'. See Remote Viewing (http://www.skepdic.com/remotevw.html) for more.

I know : i searched for a docu on the matter ,i do happen to have in my pc , on youtube for Cheryl , but i couldn't find it .

Those remote viewing experiments did deliver some good results though during the cold war , sometimes, but they were shut down after the cold war , so they say : but , they were used against Saddam,for example , though ...

They might have been continuing to conduct research on the matter , as a matter of secrecy , you are not allowed to know about .

The point is : they did book some success though : How ? That remains a big controversy in science .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 17/09/2013 19:20:58
I have developed some relative telepathic powers in my mind...
..can you demonstrate these telepathic powers, e.g. to us?

I have to demonstrate nothing to you , especially when we would consider the fact that you turned out to be a narrow-minded ossified dogmatic messianic materialistic irrational believer who happens to believe in magic = the "emergence " trick = that excludes you  a-priori from any serious discussions regarding telepathy or any other paranormal phenomena for that matter .
I'll take that as a 'no'. So we apply Hitchen's Razor ("What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence").

Quote
They might have been continuing to conduct research on the matter , as a matter of secrecy , you are not allowed to know about .
Sure, it's possible; but is it plausible that they're spending billions of dollars on surveillance satellites, spy planes, drones, and human assets just to cover up the success of their secret remote viewers? On the other hand, given the number of mistakes they make, they may still be trying it... :)

BTW - Great rant in that last post! :)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 17/09/2013 19:32:54
I have developed some relative telepathic powers in my mind...
..can you demonstrate these telepathic powers, e.g. to us?

I have to demonstrate nothing to you , especially when we would consider the fact that you turned out to be a narrow-minded ossified dogmatic messianic materialistic irrational believer who happens to believe in magic = the "emergence " trick = that excludes you  a-priori from any serious discussions regarding telepathy or any other paranormal phenomena for that matter .
I'll take that as a 'no'. So we apply Hitchen's Razor ("What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence").

Quote
They might have been continuing to conduct research on the matter , as a matter of secrecy , you are not allowed to know about .
Sure, it's possible; but is it plausible that they're spending billions of dollars on surveillance satellites, spy planes, drones, and human assets just to cover up the success of their secret remote viewers? On the other hand, given the number of mistakes they make, they may still be trying it... :)

BTW - Great rant in that last post! :)

Irrelevent to the very existence of telepathy ....and to other paranormal phenomena one can develop his/her  contacts with : humans are just in their childish stage of evolution at the level of consciousness as the next and most important form of evolution of them all , humanity is yet to undertake as a whole : This is just the beginning : and there might be some advances regarding the approaches of the paranormal booked by some powerful governments they keep hidden from the large public, for obvious reasons as well : you're too dumb to look beyond your materialistic magical nose to be able to grasp just that  .

I think you should read the rest of what i said here above i did just add .
I think you should look in the mirror first, regarding your stupid belief in that magical 'scientific " materialism as a degenerate form of christianity,the latter  you said you abandoned earlier  :

= You rejected christianity just to replace it by a lower magical belief = materialism , the latter as a degenerate form of christianity .

Are you afraid to look in the mirror  ? That's why you avoid just that , by accusing , judging and attacking your opponent ....haha : no wonder = very predictable indeed .

"People accuse and judge others , in order to avoid being accused or judged themselves ..."  Albert Camus , or in words to that same effect at least .

You know what : just spare me your magical mechanical key hole bullshit , simply because you have nothing interesting to offer beyond that ...

P.S.: You will get no response from me from now on = you do not deserve even just that .


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 17/09/2013 20:31:10

Ok, i know it's extremely difficult , elusive , deceptive .... to differentiate between real supernatural or paranormal phenomena and simple illusions, delusions, fairy tales , myths ...science alone cannot really help us in doing just that .

But, it takes hard work, life experiences, it takes flirting with death itself and looking it deep in the eye  ....it takes blood sweat and tears , joy , rise and fall ,setbacks and breakthroughs ....to just be able to develop that 6th sense that makes one sharp alert and awake sober lucid enough to know , not just believe in, there are   whole unimaginable dimentions and levels of reality out there our powerful developed mind can make us able to approach somehow , to some degree at least .



Since you are fond of stories, I will share one with you. Of course we both know stories and analogies are not proof of anything, just illustrative, but I hope this will illustrate why how one knows something can be as important as what one knows.

The was an internet scam in which a person would send out a large number of emails claiming to be able to predict the results of boxing matches based on inside information he had about the fighters. To prove his ability he would make a prediction about a boxing match that was taking place next week. To half of the recipients he would say boxer A would be the winner and the other half, Boxer B. If Boxer A won, he sent out another email to those for whom he had predicted Boxer A. To half of those, he said the winner of the next match would be Boxer C, and to the other half Boxer D. If Boxer D won, he emailed those for whom he predicted Boxer D and made another prediction -I’m sure you see where I am going with this. After a series of several amazing “correct” predictions, his final email recipients received an email about an upcoming fight in which the odds were ten to one against Boxer G, but he was quite sure Boxer  G would win. If they wished, they could bet on it, or, since there wasn't much time, he would be happy to make the bet for them with his bookie, who was also giving an additional 2:1 odds on top.  Just wire him $5,000.  Hard to believe anyone would fall for this, but $100,000 on a $5,000 bet is a lot of money and he was right again and again! The scammer only needed one person to take the bait in order to walk away with an easy $5,000, one person who was over-impressed that this person had been so consistently right, without wondering why or how he knew what he claimed to know.

You might say, well, that’s different. He was con artist, not a scientist or philosopher sincerely seeking the truth. But deception or self deception takes many forms. Wanting to believe something, and wanting others to believe it, because it is more exciting, unusual, comforting, appeals to our egos as an individual or a species, and relieves our anxiety about mortality or the meaning of life and our sense of powerlessness, is a kind of deception, intentional or not. How one knows something, the kind of evidence and its verifiability and its transparency to others, is sometimes ones only defense against this
.

What kindda silly "reasoning" is this then ? Unbelievable :
You're telling a particular ordinary story humanity has been experiencing some perfectly natural forms or other of since day 1= no big deal = makes part of the human nature one should try to be alert of , should try to improve ,recognize as such ... ,while you are trying to extract many unfounded unrelated generalisations from it it cannot deliver ....

Human deception and self-deceit are common knowledge since day 1 ,one must be aware of : you're behaving as if you have just discovered some breakthrough nobody but you knew,come on , be serious .

You can try to perform any ritual paradoxical distractory dances like that all you like   , but that cannot make the facts go away , no way:

Facts such as the fact that materialism is a kindda degenerate form of christianity in ...science , ironically enough .

Facts such as the fact that science can cover only its own limited realm : the natural reality , can cover only matter and material processes .

Facts such as the fact that the realm of science is just a tiny piece of reality , or just the apparent material side of reality .

Facts such as the fact that there are many other levels of reality out there ,science cannot , per definition, cover .

Facts such as the fact that there are indeed many illusions , delusions, fairy tales, myths ...out there , we should try not to confuse with the real paranormal, no matter how difficult that might be ...the real paranormal that's obviously out of reach of that famous Russell's tea pot argument ...

Other facts do not come to mind right now , due to the fact that i was outraged by the dishonesty hypocrisy denials projections ...of yet another disappointing  lunatic here : dlorde ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 17/09/2013 20:32:31
A Greek says : All Greeks are ...liars haha : a famous paradox in logic.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 17/09/2013 20:43:16
So much for our "rationa logical scientific " people here , my ass,excuse my French or Dutch, or just Arabic  ...haha
Unbelievable: it's like talking to a ...wall .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 17/09/2013 21:47:39
he said true things about materialism as an ossified promissory dogmatic messianic religion in science,so .

What don't you address just that then ?
OK. He's welcome to his opinion; but I will address that extract (it's an easy target and I've got time).

Quote
[P]romissary materialism [is] a superstition without a rational foundation,” Eccles says. “[It] is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists . . .who confuse their religion with their science. It has all the features of a messianic prophecy.”
The 'straw-ogre' argument. Scientists and materialists have a broad range of opinion. I'm sure there are a few fanatics, but the vast majority are just taking a pragmatic evidence-based approach. It's possible Eccles & Popper encountered a disproportionate number of fanatics in their rarified circles - they do tend to use their elbows and shout loudest. Empty vessels and all that.

Quote
He acknowledged that arrested brain development in childhood can lead to mental retardation, that strokes or blows to the head can abolish memory or consciousness, and that certain chemicals can change the quality of thought. But to consider this as proof that the brain actually makes consciousness, James said, is irrational.
A good thing people don't consider it proof. It's just yet more circumstantial evidence that is consistent with the hypothesis.

Quote
Equating mind and brain is irrational, he says as listening to music on a radio, smashing the radio’s receiver, and thereby concluding that the radio was producing the music.
A good thing nobody is equating mind and brain; the consensus is that one is a function of the other. The radio analogy is popular but weak - if you examine a radio you'll see an antenna, receiver, decoder, amplifier, etc., all connected together to make a radio - if you examine the brain you'll see no structures that could be assigned to the 'reception' of consciousness; when you damage a radio, the announcer doesn't get a stutter, or have trouble reading, or lose her sense of self, etc. No, when a radio is damaged in various ways it acts consistently with a damaged radio. When the brain is damaged in various ways, it acts consistently with something that generates a mind and consciousness. It's possible that it isn't the case, but that's where empirically informed opinion is leaning until there's evidence to the contrary.

So, they make some provocative straw-man arguments. They're probably trying to catch the attention of people without the awkward mainstream predeliction for evidence-based hypotheses. When you're in a small minority without a good argument, you need to shout loud and fake targets to attack.

Dossey then concludes that consciousness is not a substance (did someone say it was?) but a 'nonlocal phenomenon', by which he means, vaguely, 'infinite':
Quote from: Dossey
Nonlocal is merely a fancy word for infinite [no, it isn't] ...Nonlocal events are immediate; they require no travel time. They are unmediated; they require no energetic signal to “carry” them [nor can they carry information]. They are unmitigated; they do not become weaker with increasing distance. Nonlocal phenomena are omnipresent, everywhere at once. This means there is no necessity for them to go anywhere; they are already there. They are infinite in time as well, present at all moments, past present and future, meaning they are eternal.
In other words, he's stretching the very specific meaning of 'non-locality', used in QM, past breaking point, so as to get complete suspension of the laws of physics - because otherwise his whole shaky crate of an argument wouldn't even taxi, let alone get off the ground. IOW, pseudoscience.

Dossey's final mistake is to recruit Dean Radin to his case - whose hand-waving pseudoscientific appeals to QM weirdness to support his heavily criticised, unconvincing, and ultimately unreplicable 'prescience' experiments, are the final nails in the coffin of this ropey piece of special pleading.

As Dossey says, "Whatever their explanation proves to be, the experiments documenting premonitions are real. They must be reckoned with. And when scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple...." No argument with the first part - the experiments are (mostly) real enough. But the evidence has been examined 'unflinchingly' (well maybe some flinching at the worst of it), and in detail, with attempts to replicate, and nothing unusual has been found.

The notion may eventually topple, but so far, what evidence there is buttresses it, which suggests that the real superstition is that it's 'non-local' QM magic. Time will tell.

How's that? too harsh? not enough ad-hominems?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 17/09/2013 21:54:01
P.S.: You will get no response from me from now on ...
OK, let's see if the evidence supports that claim :)

p.s. not such a great rant that time; materialism as a degenerate form of Christianity doesn't really work...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 18/09/2013 14:08:01


What kindda silly "reasoning" is this then ? .....

.....You're telling a particular ordinary story humanity has been experiencing some perfectly natural forms or other of since day 1= no big deal = makes part of the human nature one should try to be alert of , should try to improve ,recognize as such ....Human deception and self-deceit are common knowledge since day 1 ,one must be aware of...


As I prefaced my comments with, stories and analogies are not proof. They are only illustrative.

Um, I think you are actually arguing my own point here. And because there is such a tendency to want to believe things for reasons other than it is likely to be true, the kind of evidence, how ones knows what one knows, and the transparency of the process to others is important.

Ironically, there is not much difference between some of the paranormal, immaterial things you mention - remote viewing, ESP - and some  conventional material process proposed in a  research study in which the author simply refused to publish his data or explain his methodology. If I don't know how he got the results he got, I can't evaluate them. I just have to take his word for it.



Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 18/09/2013 15:01:10
A Greek says : All Greeks are ...liars haha : a famous paradox in logic.

No, it was a Cretan, quoted by a Greek. Please check your facts.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 18/09/2013 15:15:41
One of the peculiarities about PSI research is that conclusions are really based on process of elimination: "There is no other way this person could have known this; we've controlled for every variable we can think of, so it must be ESP."

This doesn't happen often in science, and when it does, it often leads to premature conclusions and outright blunders.

Like PSI research,  early studies of newly identified physical phenomenon, may only be able to show a correlation between two things beyond what would be statistically predicted by chance. If the the study is reproducible, though, it is usually followed by ones that ask more specific questions. At which point the researchers can say: "Okay, we still don't know how it works or the cause, but we can show it happens in this situation, but not that one. It is effected by A but not B. It is more likely to occur when C is also present."

Findings like these usually lead to some proposed mechanism or model, which if correct, should have some predictive value in future experiments.

But research on the paranormal never seems to advance past conclusions based on process of elimination, and there is never any more descriptive insight into the process or it's characteristics. 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 17:35:45
One of the peculiarities about PSI research is that conclusions are really based on process of elimination: "There is no other way this person could have known this; we've controlled for every variable we can think of, so it must be ESP."

This doesn't happen often in science, and when it does, it often leads to premature conclusions and outright blunders.

Like PSI research,  early studies of newly identified physical phenomenon, may only be able to show a correlation between two things beyond what would be statistically predicted by chance. If the the study is reproducible, though, it is usually followed by ones that ask more specific questions. At which point the researchers can say: "Okay, we still don't know how it works or the cause, but we can show it happens in this situation, but not that one. It is effected by A but not B. It is more likely to occur when C is also present."

Findings like these usually lead to some proposed mechanism or model, which if correct, should have some predictive value in future experiments.

But research on the paranormal never seems to advance past conclusions based on process of elimination, and there is never any more descriptive insight into the process or it's characteristics.

See this : this scientist makes research on telepathy ...and he makes sense ,relatively speaking , despite what you said about him earlier :

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 17:54:27


What kindda silly "reasoning" is this then ? .....

.....You're telling a particular ordinary story humanity has been experiencing some perfectly natural forms or other of since day 1= no big deal = makes part of the human nature one should try to be alert of , should try to improve ,recognize as such ....Human deception and self-deceit are common knowledge since day 1 ,one must be aware of...


As I prefaced my comments with, stories and analogies are not proof. They are only illustrative.

Um, I think you are actually arguing my own point here. And because there is such a tendency to want to believe things for reasons other than it is likely to be true, the kind of evidence, how ones knows what one knows, and the transparency of the process to others is important.

Ironically, there is not much difference between some of the paranormal, immaterial things you mention - remote viewing, ESP - and some  conventional material process proposed in a  research study in which the author simply refused to publish his data or explain his methodology. If I don't know how he got the results he got, I can't evaluate them. I just have to take his word for it
.

See above .

One cannot  a-priori  just dismiss the potential existence of the paranormal ,just because it is extremely difficult to differentiate between that  and the rest , or just because the nature of the paranormal is , per definition, out of reach of conventional science ...

But , science can try to help us shed some light though on the alleged  paranormal
claims or experiences of some people ...as Sheldrake and others try to do : just take a look at the evidence delivered by the man , before a-priori concluding anything for that matter .

Sheldrake and others try to conduct some scientific research on telepathy ...as the video above shows ..

In short : There is much more to the universe than meets the eye .

Science just covers a tiny piece of reality , as i said earlier , just that apparent side of reality = there is a lot of dimensions out there that are way out of reach of science : dimensions we should try to approach via a holistic approach ..

So, to say that anything science cannot prove to be true as such is not, is the most stupid thing anyone can utter .....


P.S.: Materialism in science cannot , per definition, help you discover anything beyond the apparent material side of reality ,materialism in science which a-priori assumes the universe to be exclusively  material, ironically enough , a materialistic core assumption or materialistic meta-paradigm in science ,quantum physics had already debunked .

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 18:06:01
A Greek says : All Greeks are ...liars haha : a famous paradox in logic.

No, it was a Cretan, quoted by a Greek. Please check your facts
.

Never mind :  whatever ...

 That paradox applies to any x you can replace " Greek  " by : applies to an Arab  , an English , an alien  ..., a Martian,a cat  ...haha
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 18:53:29
Only real true mystics can experience the relatively full scale of human consciousness or pure consciousness and beyond :

Rumi – “I have passed beyond all thoughts”

http://www.tm.org/blog/enlightenment/rumi/

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 18:56:06
I died once but no one shed a tear,
So if I live again I will know how to be.
You pursue me with your ignorant talk
Which to me sounds so empty.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 18:58:34

Feminine Consciousness-Poetry of Rumi


http://feminineconsciousness.blogspot.com/2010/09/poetry-of-rumi.html
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 19:01:26
My heart, on this path words are hollow.
At the door of Union
You have to surrender yourself.
You will never soar to the sky
Where His birds fly
Unless you give up your wings.

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



Whose feet are worthy
To enter the garden?
Whose eyes are worthy
Of the cypress and the jasmine?
The feet and eyes of a heart
That has been broken.


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


Every object and being in the universe is
a jar overflowing with wisdom and beauty,
a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained by any skin.
Every jarful spills and makes the earth more shining,
as though covered in satin…”


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


Make peace with the universe. Take joy in it.
It will turn to gold. Resurrection
will be now. Every moment,
a new beauty.”


...........


“Human beings are mines.
World-power means nothing. Only the unsayable,
jeweled inner life matters…”

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


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 19:12:10
“In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.”

.........


Don’t ask what love can make, or can do.
Look at the colors of the world!
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty, and scared.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument and start to play.
Let the beauty you love be what you do.
There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.


..........

Be patient.
Respond to every call that excites your spirit
Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull
of what you really love
When you do things from your soul, a river moves through you,
Freshness and a deep joy are the signs…


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


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 18/09/2013 19:28:44
One cannot  a-priori  just dismiss the potential existence of the paranormal ,just because it is extremely difficult to differentiate between that  and the rest , or just because the nature of the paranormal is , per definition, out of reach of conventional science ...
The question is how one can distinguish between a paranormal phenomenon, a claim of paranormal phenomenon, and a mundane phenomenon, if not by careful investigation & critical thinking, e.g. scientific method.

One cannot, a priori, assume that what is said to be paranormal is out of reach of conventional science. Much like alternative medicine, which, if tested and found to be efficacious, becomes medicine, so a claimed paranormal phenomenon, when tested, might be found to be a novel natural phenomenon - although this is extremely rare; the general course is that such phenomena are found to be misidentified mundane phenomena, nonexistent, fraudulent, or undemonstrable. Nevertheless, it can happen.

Quote
So, to say that anything science cannot prove to be true as such is not, is the most stupid thing anyone can utter .....[/b]
Has anyone really said this?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 20:21:38
Rumi and  SCIENCE :

The Science of Truth disappears in the Sufi's knowledge.
When will mankind understand this saying?

[Idries Shah, "The Way of the Sufi," pp. 102-108.]


. . . .and, finally, from "The Essential Rumi," by Coleman Barks:

THE MILK OF MILLENIA

. . . For hundreds of thousands of years
I have been dust grains
floating and flying in the will of the air,
often forgetting ever being
in that state, but in sleep
I migrate back. I spring loose
from the four-branched time-and-space cross,
this waiting room.

            I walk into a huge pasture.
            I nurse the milk of millenia.
            Everyone does this in different ways.
            Knowing that conscious decisions
            and personal memory
            are much too small a place to live,
            every human being streams at night
            into the loving nowhere, or during the day,
            in some absorbing work.


Rumi on Evolution:

HOW FAR YOU HAVE COME

    Originally you were clay. From being mineral, you became vegetable. From vegetable, you became animal, and from animal, man. During these periods man did not know where he was going, but he was being take on a long journey, nonetheless. And you have to go through a hundred different worlds yet.


I have again and again grown like grass;
I have experienced seven hundred and seventy moulds.
I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And from vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearnace through death?
Next time I shall die
Bringing forth wings and feathers like angels:
After that soaring higher than angels -
What you cannot imagine. I shall be that.



http://spiritualnotreligious.blogspot.com/2011/05/rumi-on-religion-evoloution-and-science.html
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 18/09/2013 20:50:19
Rumi's Holistic Humanism :

http://www.codhill.com/ashraf-rhh.html

Mirza Iqbal Ashraf
Rumi’s Holistic Humanism :
Rumi’s Holistic Humanism: The Timeless Appeal of the Great Mystic Poet, presents the mystical poet's passionate conviction that "love is the strongest unifying force," and that its force is present everywhere and in everything. It may even encourage some to study the extraordinary work of Rumi that so often opens the heart of its adepts. For Rumi peace is the natural quest for a "whole person," and the human being's inclination to it arises from a natural universal order. In humankind's fight to root out conflict, violence and war, Rumi's holistic view of unconditional love may prove one of our best friends. Rumi's holistic approach to the phenomena of humankind is that the perimeters between the self and the universe are mitigated to the extent that the material body becomes indistinct of its typical cultural identity.

After so many centuries, Rumi today is as he was yesterday, a living icon of Unity and Love for the whole of mankind. Ashraf's holistic weaving of the many spiritual, philosophical, rational, scientific, and cultural "threads" that converge in Rumi's thought offers the beginning of a unitive language that humanists, rationalists, theists, non-theists, atheists, religious folks, artists, scientists—all thinkers of good will from all cultures may welcome and embrace—as they explore and try to understand the universe. So doing, though taking different roads, they unearth a new level of communication and productive diversity.

Rumi's Holistic Humanism takes into account the wide range of philosophical inquiry and mystical experiences, issues of psychology, morality and discipline, and the problematic conditions of ordinary daily human existence. Shakespeare gave us the question, "To be or not to be..."Rumi asked"... to love or not to love?", and the WHOLE HEART answers with a resounding YES! "Gamble everything for love."
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 18/09/2013 23:07:10
Only real true mystics can experience the relatively full scale of human consciousness or pure consciousness and beyond :

Really? How do you know?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: AndroidNeox on 18/09/2013 23:26:14
The human mind is a physical process of the human brain. While it might be difficult to understand, there's no reason to think it is dependent upon anything but common (universal) physical rules. People have similar problems understanding how life could be a consequence of common matter in complex arrangements. The problem isn't with the physics, it's with our ability to imagine.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 19/09/2013 14:53:15
Oi! Who asked for common sense? You'll be questioning the existence of fairies if you're not careful, and you know what that means... 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 19/09/2013 15:04:26
Oi! Who asked for common sense? You'll be questioning the existence of fairies if you're not careful, and you know what that means... 
More poetry?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 19/09/2013 15:06:05
Worse - the death of fairies! Well, maybe not worse.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 19/09/2013 16:27:30
The human mind is a physical process of the human brain. While it might be difficult to understand, there's no reason to think it is dependent upon anything but common (universal) physical rules. People have similar problems understanding how life could be a consequence of common matter in complex arrangements. The problem isn't with the physics, it's with our ability to imagine.

Welcome , even though we have enough magicians here .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 19/09/2013 16:29:36
Only real true mystics can experience the relatively full scale of human consciousness or pure consciousness and beyond :

Really? How do you know?

Read the man's work,if you wanna know
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 19/09/2013 16:34:45
Thank you for the poetry, Don Quixote. It's lovely. But I do think you are starting to compare apples to oranges. Here is another story:

I enjoy painting. If you lived in my neighborhood, I could sit in your yard, and paint a picture of your house. I could show you my finished painting and ask "Do you know what this is?" and if I was any good, you might say, "Why, yes. That is  my house. I can tell by color of the siding, just the way it looks when the sun shines on it at four in the afternoon, the slope of the gables, and the placement of the door. You've captured the rose bushes outside that we planted last spring rather nicely. Oh, and that appears to be me in the upstairs window typing furiously away at the computer."

The next day, you are rummaging through a drawer and find a set of blueprints. You show them to your son, and say "Do you know what this is?" He examines it closely and says "Hey, that's our house!" The blueprints show where the kitchen is, in relationship to the living room, and bedrooms, the hallways and closets, etc. and the dimensions of each.

Which representation is more accurate? Which is closer to the truth?

The artistic rendering, impercise as it is, may be closer to the image recreated in your visual centers in your brain from electrical impulses generated when photons stimulate receptors on the retina of your eye. It may be closer to  image of your house  stored in your memory. The painting may stimulate the same emotional response you have when you look at your house or recall it. You might like it so well, that you pay me a large sum of money for it, and hang it over your couch.

But if you are doing renovations or having any electrical work done, I suggest you provide the blueprints, not the painting.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 19/09/2013 16:41:34

Read the man's work,if you wanna know


No, I want to know how you know, not what someone else told you. This is a science forum, not a poetry club.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 19/09/2013 17:52:35
There is also what can be called the  "science of spirituality or neurotheology " as well, as the logical consequence of the mainstream dominance  of materialism and the materialistic meta-paradigm in science, that tries to approach human consciousness, human spirituality , religious experiences, the "believing brain " (The latter by atheist Michael Schermer )....via studying the specific corresponding activity of the brain : that's a typical example of that magical materialism in science :

See this on the subject ,concerning the materialistic magical approach of the above :

Note :

No one yet  ,if ever , can be able to prove the paradoxical magical "validity" or "truth" of that magical emergency trick ,not even remotely close , and no one can tell how unconscious matter gives rise to consciousness , and therefore to such concepts and ideas such as the human  currents of thought ,philosophies , beliefs , cultures ...freedom,ethics ...

Studying the brain in the above mentioned sense by assuming that the brain creates human consciousness , religious experiences, the God feeling ,human spirituality ...is a false magical materialistic debunked premise or assumption,not to mention the fact that materialistic scientists do confuse epilepsy and its related  corresponding  illusions,delusions ....with the healthy spirituality of man   :

Those scientists do not make the difference between the 2 categories ,for obvious materialistic magical "reasons " , only materialists seem to possess the magical key to unlock their secrets haha, not to mention that if spirituality is created by the brain, due to the materialistic magical fact that consciousness was the product of the evolutionary complexity  of the brain  ,the brain that seems to create just a representation of reality via our senses, then, it's pretty logical  to assume that even all our knowledge , including the scientific one, including  our knowledge of evolution itself  .....are just some sort of sophisticated pragmatic survival strategies , or elaborate illusions , in the same sense spirituality is then ...= a paradox no one here or elsewhere seem to be able or wanna answer,except by some sort of magic then  .

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/god-on-the-brain/

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/phantoms-in-the-brain/

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/mystical-brain/

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/michael-shermer-the-believing-brain/


P.S.: That earlier tv set ,radio ...analogy regarding  the brain , a tv set that can, obvioulsy ,not create those tv signals it receives ,neither can the radio create the sound waves it receives ,  was just that : an analogy :

The tv set proper ,  and the images of the tv set created by those tv signals the tv receives are 2 different separate things or processes  , while brain and consciousness are 2 different things or processes in 1 , mind and body as being 1 in any given human person   : a kindda combination between dualism and monism .

When the human brain is damaged at the level of  some specific areas ,due to some disease , handicap, accident , genetic defect ...disorders like Alzheimer or dementia, ...even the sense of the self is altered radically indeed , and many aspects of consciousness in those cases are also radically altered,to say just that  : but that does not mean that the brain  is the "home "  or is the creator of consciousness as a kindda magical "emergence " trick popping out suddenly from the evolved complexity of the human brain :

 I see the human brain as just some kindda receiver its own biological way that cannot be compared to any mechanical manufactured-by-man device  :

when the brain  gets damaged in some specific areas , the corresponding elements or aspects of consciousness that get apparently altered as a result , are still there , they are just disconnected from the brain as a receiver , they do not get through, as a result, i dunno  :

The question now is : do those people who do suffer from Alzheimer dementia ....still have levels of consciousness within we cannot detect ?
Or is there a way to find out about that and how ? 

Second : the main problem regarding telepathy and other high levels of human consciousness ,that can be easily confused with illusions, delusions, self-deceit , .......is that they are not only subjective, but they also cannot be generated on demand , they just happen to people , even though humans can be trained to develop those consciousness powers or skils in themselves, by developing their 'contacts " with their consciousness via some means  :

So, when science tries to take a closer look at telepathy, for example , it misses the fact that telepathy cannot be generated on demand ...

High levels of consciousness can also be experienced only under certain meditation and other spiritual circumstances where the body or the material world cease to "exist " or cease to be perceived as such for the given person under those meditation or under other spiritual states ,due to that extremely targeted attention or focuss of the given person at the level of the pure consciousness .

The other question that come to mind is : at which extent can science approach human spirituality .?

But , to reduce human spirituality and human consciousness to just magical "emergent " phenomena from the evolutionary complexity of the brain is not only magic , but also a paradox in the above mentioned sense + total non-sense ,science has nothing to do with .

Magical materialism can thus never be able to deliver any breakthroughs concerning human consciousness, not even remotely close , thanks to its very magical nature which reduces everything to matter , a materialistic nature quantum physics had already debunked .

I think that we need a radical shift of paradigm in science , a radical shift of meta-paradigm in science in fact , if we wanna ever be able to scientifically try to approach these eternal issues of human consciousness  ,humanity has been struggling with for so long now without any end in sight to that eternal human struggle , and we should combine those future scientific approaches in combination with all sciences and currents of thought = we need a revolutionary holistic approach thus .

You tell me ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 19/09/2013 17:53:49

Read the man's work,if you wanna know

No, I want to know how you know, not what someone else told you. This is a science forum, not a poetry club.

Read that work, and you will know : The man's work is so large and huge  that it cannot be really discussed this way, come on , be serious .

Taking drugs and using tons of Alcohol ,combined with  your false deceptive big ego won't help you in that regard or in any other for that matter .

First thing you should do : Get rid of your false ego, get rid of your ego,period : that should help you get in contact with your true self as a result, you have been hiding from all along .
Second : Reject that materialistic magic in science, by delivering science from its phony meta-paradigm  .

Do just that , and i will tell you all about the next steps.

Deal ?

Good luck

P.S.: I haven't seen much science from any of you, guys , so far , just magical materialistic interpretations of science : See the difference ? I hope you do,but i seriously doubt just that , sorry  .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 19/09/2013 19:33:17
Thank you for the poetry, Don Quixote. It's lovely. But I do think you are starting to compare apples to oranges. Here is another story:

I enjoy painting. If you lived in my neighborhood, I could sit in your yard, and paint a picture of your house. I could show you my finished painting and ask "Do you know what this is?" and if I was any good, you might say, "Why, yes. That is  my house. I can tell by color of the siding, just the way it looks when the sun shines on it at four in the afternoon, the slope of the gables, and the placement of the door. You've captured the rose bushes outside that we planted last spring rather nicely. Oh, and that appears to be me in the upstairs window typing furiously away at the computer."

The next day, you are rummaging through a drawer and find a set of blueprints. You show them to your son, and say "Do you know what this is?" He examines it closely and says "Hey, that's our house!" The blueprints show where the kitchen is, in relationship to the living room, and bedrooms, the hallways and closets, etc. and the dimensions of each.

Which representation is more accurate? Which is closer to the truth?

The artistic rendering, impercise as it is, may be closer to the image recreated in your visual centers in your brain from electrical impulses generated when photons stimulate receptors on the retina of your eye. It may be closer to  image of your house  stored in your memory. The painting may stimulate the same emotional response you have when you look at your house or recall it. You might like it so well, that you pay me a large sum of money for it, and hang it over your couch.

But if you are doing renovations or having any electrical work done, I suggest you provide the blueprints, not the painting.

Oh, boy , or oh , girl :  Editing my post afterwards : my little kids contributted in distracting me ,so, i lost focus at times , so, pardon me if this post seems a bit chaotic : thanks :

Oh, girl : You're putting your finger on a huge issue , i will try to approach this quick clumsy way :

You're confusing many things with each other , while separating  some areas of human consciousness , activity,reality,human dimentions, human condition, human knowledge , easthetics  ... from each other ,one cannot always separate ,not in the absolute sense at least ,simply because they all complete each other , feedback each other , influence each other , ...simply because they are all pursued by the same human spirit , and simply because those artificial boundaries between them are not really absolute .

You're doing all that and much more via this inspiring nice story of yours i do appreciate and thank you for indeed , a story  that cannot prove the point you are trying to prove ,or the implications it tries to illustrate : i   will tell you why in a sec : hint ?:

Art is both a subjective and a cultural  "product " of the artist's holistic approach via his /her whole being that includes , his /her relative understanding or knowledge regarding the  science of his / her  time,regarding the wisdom of his /her time , some artists can transcend and rise above which results in the transmission of universal timeless values , wisdom ...as the example of Rumi shows  + the artist's use of the tools and technology ,techniques, symbols ...or zeitgeist of his /her time ..........:

You're confusing or rather comparing science with art ,while they overlap each other in subtle ways , while trying to prove the obvious fact that science is not art , and vice versa

Nice story , i would love to see your paintings since i , myself , like to make amateur paintings ,among other creative things as well .

But , you forgot to mention that an artist knows that he / she tries to "reflect reality "
in his / her own creative work his / her own subjective way , he / she does not pretend to copy  "reality proper " : if an artist would try to copy "reality " as it is , and not as it should be , or as he /she sees it or how she/he likes to see it or likes it to be ..... then he /she (I am tired of this he /she haha ) ,then he/she is not an artist and should therefore pursue another different career .

Art is indeed subjective , is a matter of taste , but art "flies above the truth while trying not to get burned  by it " as Kafka used to say at least : art tries to approach the truth as well thus its own holistic way :

I am sure you prefer this style of painting to another , a style which might reflect your world view , your taste, your convictions, your easthetics,taste  ...

Make no mistake, even a casual painting can tell a lot about one's preferences, taste, likes and dislikes, personality , convictions, world view ...

You put your whole being into that painting , i presume : you put yourself in it ...

Art can reflect  the world view ,eathetics , ethics , taste , experiences, knowledge ,skills ....of the given artist ...

Any casual painting , ....is done through your whole spirit .

The same goes , and in higher degrees, with the art ,poetry of Rumi , the latter puts his whole accumulated wisdom, experiences ,spirit  .... in he communicates to the world in the process ,while succeeding in touching the hearts and minds of different people from different cultures , races, ........simply because Rumi knew , as great artists  do ,how to transmit universal values , emotions, feelings , universal love , universal wisdom...to people .

Those universal blueprints transmitted by art to all mankind are a kindda holy Grail only great artists can achieve ...while an architect , for example, just studies his practical work at the university : anyone can become an architect , but not any one can become an artist though : those universal blueprints communicated by great artists ,those universal wisdoms, through art, literature , music , ....cannot be studied in any school then : you can study about art , easthetics ...but no study can make you an artist or create that talent needed and developed by artists .


I am a big fan of world literature also, for example , and i am found of extracting wisdom , easthetics , ...from that literature .

I see ,for example, Don Quichottes everywhere, i see Don Juans like our friend with his false big deceptive ego here everywhere and in myself previously as well,  in life and here , and i was also one , i am still somehow, I do get also moved by some Dante's existential poetry , by the universal blueprints of the music of Yanni who succeeded , at the level of music , at least , to get the best from different cultures , schools of thought , religions ...,at the level of music at least , represented by the people he worked with ,as this awsome wonderful wonderful wonderful beautiful masterpiece of his shows, i dedicate to you,even if it's not mine haha  :



Science is only one way of approaching reality or the truth : i prefer a holistic approach that combines science with the rest though .

Science itself is a different form of art , poetry , a social cultural universal human activity ,a form of culture  ...practiced by humans scientists through their senses and minds brains , and through their world views and convictions as well , as the major example of materialism as a world view in science shows ,for example , one should try not to confuse with science proper , once again .

Thanks for your inspiring insights i do appreciate very much indeed .

Take care

[/b]
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 19/09/2013 19:43:10

When the human brain is damaged at the level of  some specific areas ,due to some disease , handicap, accident , genetic defect ...disorders like Alzheimer or dementia, ...even the sense of the self is altered radically indeed , and many aspects of consciousness in those cases are also radically altered,to say just that  : but that does not mean that the brain  is the "home "  or is the creator of consciousness as a kindda magical "emergence " trick popping out suddenly from the evolved complexity of the human brain :

 I see the human brain as just some kindda receiver its own biological way that cannot be compared to any mechanical manufactured-by-man device  :

when the brain  gets damaged in some specific areas , the corresponding elements or aspects of consciousness that get apparently altered as a result , are still there , they are just disconnected from the brain as a receiver , they do not get through, as a result, i dunno  :

The question now is : do those people who do suffer from Alzheimer dementia ....still have levels of consciousness within we cannot detect ?
Or is there a way to find out about that and how ? 




Thomas Nagel, a philosopher you might like, who is also a critic of reductionism and materialism, says "Science can tell us everything about a bat except what it's like to be a bat."

Well, he has a point.

My response to that is: I had surgery once and received a general anesthetic. The experience, if I can even call it that, was nothing like sleeping. Nothing happened. I did not even have a sense of time having passed as when one sleeps, from the moment I lost consciousness until I regained it.

One might argue, "but you could have experienced something and the anesthetic simply erased your memory of the experience." However, if a bat is the only authority on what it is like to be a bat, I should likewise be the ultimate authority on my own subjective experiences, and I will testify that while under general anesthesia, there was none. For all intents and purposes "I" did not exist at that time, inside my brain or via the magical consciousness transmitter in outer space. Your results may vary.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 19/09/2013 20:58:51

When the human brain is damaged at the level of  some specific areas ,due to some disease , handicap, accident , genetic defect ...disorders like Alzheimer or dementia, ...even the sense of the self is altered radically indeed , and many aspects of consciousness in those cases are also radically altered,to say just that  : but that does not mean that the brain  is the "home "  or is the creator of consciousness as a kindda magical "emergence " trick popping out suddenly from the evolved complexity of the human brain :

 I see the human brain as just some kindda receiver its own biological way that cannot be compared to any mechanical manufactured-by-man device  :

when the brain  gets damaged in some specific areas , the corresponding elements or aspects of consciousness that get apparently altered as a result , are still there , they are just disconnected from the brain as a receiver , they do not get through, as a result, i dunno  :

The question now is : do those people who do suffer from Alzheimer dementia ....still have levels of consciousness within we cannot detect ?
Or is there a way to find out about that and how ? 




Thomas Nagel, a philosopher you might like, who is also a critic of reductionism and materialism, says "Science can tell us everything about a bat except what it's like to be a bat."

Well, he has a point.

My response to that is: I had surgery once and received a general anesthetic. The experience, if I can even call it that, was nothing like sleeping. Nothing happened. I did not even have a sense of time having passed as when one sleeps, from the moment I lost consciousness until I regained it.

One might argue, "but you could have experienced something and the anesthetic simply erased your memory of the experience." However, if a bat is the only authority on what it is like to be a bat, I should likewise be the ultimate authority on my own subjective experiences, and I will testify that while under general anesthesia, there was none. For all intents and purposes "I" did not exist at that time, inside my brain or via the magical transmitter in outer space. Your results may vary.

I will check that philosopher you mentioned ,thanks .
I had a day off today,so :
The same happened to me when i went under the knife after a stupid group of drunks 'fight  haha  once,during my foolish period  : total black out after general aneasthetics: it happened to me just once i do not wish to go through  again,as i do not wish it for anybodyelse for that matter  .

Well, almost the same happens to all of us during deep sleep also ,science is still trying to figure out .

These things + Alzheimer dementia ,their repercussions and those of damaged brain areas  resulting in those corresponding loss of the sense of self , the loss of the capacity to recognize faces ,.....and much more ,as talked about in those videos i provided you with earlier do puzzle me a lot indeed.

So, i can only speculate about consciousness and all that ,and how that might happen : i might be as in the dark in that regard as you might be ,so .

But , art , meditation, spirituality , creative work ....music ....love...do make me get in touch , sometimes , with incredible states of consciousness , awareness, self-awareness ...that are , per definition, uncommunicable as the mystics say , science can never be able to give me .

Words cannot describe those states of consciousness i do experience sometimes , and i can tell you with relative confidence= i am not really sure , who can be in that context ?,  that i developed a sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense , so to speak, that make me able to detect the real thing from fraud or illusions,delusions ... : only me can tell what's it like to be a bat , as you said , what is it like to be me during those circumstances .

My own belief also warns me against illusions, delusions ....as well, so , in that regard .

Rumi, for example, just happens to touch and move the right "buttons " in me and in other people ,so, i do not rely much on authority in the strict sense , i just try to learn from the experiences and wisdom of others , so , while trying to figure all that out for myself and what it might mean for me , as a human being , and for the people around me as well ...:

I also do not agree with some aspects of Rumi's philosophy ,wisdom ...and he can try to sing all night about his alleged fact that he succeeded in reaching the so-called beyond thought pure consciousness and all that , but , as long as i cannot pretend to be able to do or reach just that myself , whatever that might be , that would mean nothing to me , personally .

He also tried to use some explicit coarse vulgar sexual stories to convey his so-called esoterics neither me or my faith that also happens to be his would agree with .

Some even call his Mathnawi the Qur'an in Persian: unacceptable pretentious bullshit  .

I read thus a study about those  unethical and perplexing vulgar coarse sexual stories of Rumi in order to convey some of his alleged esoteric messages i was outraged by : the guy might have lost it , i guess .

That study tried to apply Lacan'psychology to Rumi's eroticism ,and came up with disturbing conclusions .

I think that Rumi might have lost it to the point where he "killed " God that Nietzshean way ,via being deceived by his 'enlightened " ego to the point where he could say that God speaks through him , or stuff like that ....

The greatest mystic of them all , Ibn Arabi whose teachings influenced Rumi himself and all other Sufis made some lethal erros  as well .........

Another big shot sufi also made a huge mistake by saying : "I am the Truth= I am God " : he maybe thought he was God , or that he has become God haha  , or maybe he was misunderstood as some say , in the sense that he reached high levels of consciousness ...He was put to death , unfortunately enough , some 11 centuries ago .

This is thus a real minefield ,this risky field of consciousness we must be alert of ...


In fact , nobody teaches us anything , we do : you can take people to the fountain, but you cannot make them drink from it .

Let's just hope some genius would be able , some day , to discover some breakthroughts regarding all that ,so, we can benefit from it as human beings ,because i see nothing more important to human development ,self-development,  progress, enlightenment , evolution, health,peace , love  ...than unveiling at least some secrets of the mysteries surrounding human consciousness .

I must add that science alone cannot do just the latter : only a revolutionary holistic approach can, i dunno .

I do also believe in the fact that we , as individuals , must take that endless restless dynamic journey regarding our own consciousness and destiny : i do not rely much on science to do just that for me  it cannot do , per definition.

It's really amazing that  man can be able to send missions to Mars , conduct experiments about the Big Bang ...and all that , but cannot say almost anything intelligent about human consciousness, the latter , i see , as THE key to almost everything within and without : THE key to relatively trying to understand ourselves and the universe ...

Good night , best wishes , and thanks for sharing all those interesting insights of yours with me , i do appreciate very much indeed .I mean it .

Take care .





Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 19/09/2013 21:09:16


But , you forgot to mention that an artist knows that he / she tries to "reflect reality " in his / her own creative work his / her own subjective way , he / she does not pretend to copy  "reality proper " : if an artist would try to copy "reality " as it is ,

I don't think science tries to "duplicate" reality either. There are many pictures of molecules and cells in my textbook, and some of them are quite different, and exclude or include different information. No diagram or model of a molecule will include or represent everything that is known about a molecule or atoms. That said, some representations or models could be completely inaccurate, with no features that correspond to any of it's properties.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 19/09/2013 21:20:59
The tv set proper ,  and the images of the tv set created by those tv signals the tv receives are 2 different separate things or processes  , while brain and consciousness are 2 different things or processes in 1 , mind and body as being 1 in any given human person   : a kindda combination between dualism and monism .
A combination of dualism and monism? Really? how is claiming mutually exclusive options not special pleading?

Quote
So, when science tries to take a closer look at telepathy, for example , it misses the fact that telepathy cannot be generated on demand ...
Except, of course, that the individuals claiming telepathic skills that get tested believe that they can do it on demand. There's no point testing them otherwise.  The better run tests have them satisfy themselves that their abilities are working in the test environment before putting controls in place. You may not be able to use your claimed telepathic abilities on demand, but can you legitimately contradict those who say they can?

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 19/09/2013 21:49:54
The tv set proper ,  and the images of the tv set created by those tv signals the tv receives are 2 different separate things or processes  , while brain and consciousness are 2 different things or processes in 1 , mind and body as being 1 in any given human person   : a kindda combination between dualism and monism .
A combination of dualism and monism? Really? how is claiming mutually exclusive options not special pleading?

Quote
So, when science tries to take a closer look at telepathy, for example , it misses the fact that telepathy cannot be generated on demand ...
Except, of course, that the individuals claiming telepathic skills that get tested believe that they can do it on demand. There's no point testing them otherwise.  The better run tests have them satisfy themselves that their abilities are working in the test environment before putting controls in place. You may not be able to use your claimed telepathic abilities on demand, but can you legitimately contradict those who say they can?

I can't seem to be able to hold a grudge against anyone long enough ,i see .

Later , alligator : Time up, sorry : I will just say this , for the time being at least :

consciousness is really a highly risky deceptive elusive ...business ,even the greatest mystics of them all happened to have made lethal errors on the subject , by subjecting themselves to delusions they took for real, so .

See above .

I forgive you , my son, even though i am still young ...


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 19/09/2013 22:27:20
Sorry, mate, but accepting someone else's absurd statement without question, isn't science.

Quote
Only real true mystics can experience the relatively full scale of human consciousness or pure consciousness and beyond

If you think that its true, how do you know it is true? What do you think "the relatively full scale of human consciousness" means? How do you know that (a) "true mystics" (whatever they are) experience it, and nobody else does? A categorical statement is open to demonstration and test. Have you seen it demonstrated, or tested it? 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 15:55:05


But , you forgot to mention that an artist knows that he / she tries to "reflect reality " in his / her own creative work his / her own subjective way , he / she does not pretend to copy  "reality proper " : if an artist would try to copy "reality " as it is ,

I don't think science tries to "duplicate" reality either. There are many pictures of molecules and cells in my textbook, and some of them are quite different, and exclude or include different information. No diagram or model of a molecule will include or represent everything that is known about a molecule or atoms. That said, some representations or models could be completely inaccurate, with no features that correspond to any of it's properties.

Indeed :
 who can say that what we see under the microscope as a cell ,bacteria,molecules, virusses, ...are in fact the way we see them through a microscope .
Quantum mechanics had shown that man's thought or consciousness do change the course or activity of atoms, neutrons ...when the observer looks at them .
If that can happen at that micro level,i see no reason why it cannot happen on the macro level .
I did not say that science does try to "duplicate reality " either : even science itself just give us a representation of reality through our senses ;science that's practiced by humans ,the latter fact we seem to forget about.
We talk about science as if it is some sort of an idependent totally objective tool out there ,it is not .
There  is in fact no such a thing as ...science : there is just a scientific method ,as an effective human instrument or tool to apprehend reality which were /are developed and practiced by humans scientists : science does not have an independent existence of its own ,even in the metaphoric sense .
Even the technology developed by man in order to extend the scope and reach of his /her faculties like seeing via microscopes , brain scans ...are just human manufactured tools to help man extend  the natural limits  of man's limited faculties .

I do not rely on science much when it comes to human consciousness ,love ,spirituality ...
Science just covers a tiny piece of "reality" : just the apparent material side of reality ,so.
I do pity those who do rely on science only though ,simply because they reduce themselves and their whole beings as a result to just that .
I think that the apparent material side of reality , or the natural reality as covered by science are just elaborate illusions, in the sense that that there is much more to them than science can reveal = the underlying reality behind that illusion is somethingelse we should try to approach via ...spirituality .
I see this natural reality as just a veil that deprives us from seeing  the underlying true real reality ,the latter we can only try to approach via spirituality,once again  .
I am gonna even go further by saying that the ultimate reality is...spiritual ,simply because there is no such a thing such as ...matter ,as we understand it to be at least : quantum physics had already shown to us that matter is not really what we think it is ...


But then again, you would argue that this is no science what i was saying : exactly, simply because science can only cover a limited area of "reality " = the illusionary side of reality .
I dunno.

But then again, you would say : there is nothing more tricky deceptive and elusive than spirituality ,i would say : that's the beaurty of it : we gotta try to figure it out for ourselves = an endless restless dynamic journey = a journey far more exciting and challenging difficult ..than science can ever be ,even thou science can help us somehow on that spiritual path we gotta take as well  ...
Spirituality is in fact putting ourselves, our whole beings , our destiny...our future in this life and beyond ..on the line ,while science is just a means to decode some secrets of this temporary apparent side of reality .
Science does not care about the truth or existence of things or beings ,their potential destiny ... it just tries to describe their apparent material processes ....
So, i need much more than just science to live my life and beyond , while trying to figure out what the meaning of life itself would mean to me , what lays ahead after death ........science cannot deliver any answers to, per definition.

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 16:44:58
Sorry, mate, but accepting someone else's absurd statement without question, isn't science.

You're extending the scope of science beyond its natural reach , buddy .
See what i said to Cheryl here above in that regard at least .
Critical thinking might be a better word to approach what people claim to experience , but then again, critical thinking fails short at the level of "pure " consciousness  "beyond thought "
This might seem to you as just semantics , but i see no better way to put it to you , since "pure 'consciousness via meditation and via other spiritual means is , per definition, uncommunicable = words fail short to describe it .

Quote
Quote
Only real true mystics can experience the relatively full scale of human consciousness or pure consciousness and beyond
If you think that its true, how do you know it is true? What do you think "the relatively full scale of human consciousness" means? How do you know that (a) "true mystics" (whatever they are) experience it, and nobody else does? A categorical statement is open to demonstration and test. Have you seen it demonstrated, or tested it?
[/quote]

See above : the only way to figure that out for yourself is by trying to experience those states of consciousnsess, via meditation and via other spiritual means = that's beyond the territory of conventional science and thought .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 16:56:40
The tv set proper ,  and the images of the tv set created by those tv signals the tv receives are 2 different separate things or processes  , while brain and consciousness are 2 different things or processes in 1 , mind and body as being 1 in any given human person   : a kindda combination between dualism and monism .
A combination of dualism and monism? Really? how is claiming mutually exclusive options not special pleading?

Quote
So, when science tries to take a closer look at telepathy, for example , it misses the fact that telepathy cannot be generated on demand ...
Except, of course, that the individuals claiming telepathic skills that get tested believe that they can do it on demand. There's no point testing them otherwise.  The better run tests have them satisfy themselves that their abilities are working in the test environment before putting controls in place. You may not be able to use your claimed telepathic abilities on demand, but can you legitimately contradict those who say they can?
[/quote]

See above concerning what i said to our friends here above  .

The only way to figure out all that for yourself in that regard is by trying to experience those states of consciousness yourself via meditation or via other spiritual means : science or critical thinking alone cannot help you in that regard ,since "pure " consciousness is beyond thought , science ..
Have you ever done some meditation ,Yoga , or some other spiritual exercises ?
Do not reduce yourself to just ..science .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 17:13:52
P.S.: I thought i said what i thought of those mystics and their alleged "pure consciousness beyond thought " claimed experiences ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 20/09/2013 17:49:54
I forgive you , my son, even though i am still young ...
For what - trying to reason with you?

Or perhaps just early signs of messiah complex... ;)

Quantum mechanics had shown that man's thought or consciousness do change the course or activity of atoms, neutrons ...when the observer looks at them .
Ah, no. The idea that consciousness could collapse the wave function is, and always was, that of a fringe minority of physicists. It clings on outside physics in pseudoscience partly due to a misinterpretation of 'observer' and 'observation'. An observation or measurement in QM is any particle interaction, and an 'observer' can be any measurement device (even a particle). By the time a conscious observer becomes aware of an observation, the wave function collapse is ancient history at QM timescales.

Quote
If that can happen at that micro level,i see no reason why it cannot happen on the macro level .
In a word, decoherence (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qm-decoherence/).

Quote
... there is no such a thing such as ...matter ,as we understand it to be at least : quantum physics had already shown to us that matter is not really what we think it is ...
An oddly backward-looking way to phrase it; quantum physics shows us that matter isn't what we thought it was. We now have a much better understanding of it than we had before.

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 20/09/2013 18:12:09
Have you ever done some meditation ,Yoga , or some other spiritual exercises ?
Do not reduce yourself to just ..science .
I meditate, and spent some years practicing Yang Family Tajiquan (T'ai Chi). If physical & mental exercise, relaxation, mood elevation, and emotional balancing are spiritual, then they're spiritual exercises.

As you might expect, I take the mystical, paranormal side of it with a pinch of salt (e.g. I see the popular concept of 'chi' as the understandable result of an holistic rather than reductionist approach to physical & mental performance, coupled with a lack of detailed knowledge of human biology, especially physiology - with the more absurd paranormal aspects driven by fakes & frauds and their coteries of hangers-on (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I)).
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 20/09/2013 18:20:05
There seem to be three different topics: conciousness, sentience and a thing called The Self. I'll have a go at the first two; my views on The Self are not entirely scientific and have no place here.

Back to our trusty old computer. It is not self-aware like me. I can "create" the value 2 in my head, double it, and "create" the value 4 - all on my lonesome! I don't need any prompting, any codes, my consciousness provides me with both the task and the goal and the means to effect both "in my head". The computer, on the other hand, needs to be told what to do and what to do it with - we are matched in the intellectual aspect of number-crunching only. Furthermore, I can decide whether I want to add 2 and 2, the computer cannot. I base the decision on stored data - there were dozens of examples I could have used, I "chose" this one effectively "unconsciously" while my "conciousness" was dealing with the problem "how to get my idea across?". To me, as the author, the example is of little significance; I know what I want to say. It seems to me that consciousness is no more than data handling. Data arrives through a set of senses; the five "physical" ones plus a "mental" one that allows us to be "aware" of our thoughts - working consciousness (is this the sense responsible for "imagination"?). We handle this data incredibly fast, so fast that the distinction between "conscious" thought - getting the view across   - and unconscious thought - the tool will be adding 2 and 2 - becomes blurred, but it is data handling none the less.

Sentience is another issue; it represents a new phase of Evolution which gives a species a drive to classify and a drive to aesthetics (we die for our art, animals die for the mate that the art should win). Put another way, sentience leaves us dissatisfied with merely having "enough" - the grass in the next field may appear greener to the cow so it wanders; we want to measure the field whether it has grass in it or not so we wander too. Life, an evolutionary milestone without doubt, put constructions into the universe that could change that universe to suit their needs - build nests, burrow holes. Sentience, the next milestone in Evolution, developed constructions that could, and do, change the universe whether they need it or not - just for the satisfaction of knowing. Sentience is, in this case, just another evolutionary drive like reproduction or finding a niche, but a strangely anti-evolutionary drive since, with our highly developed data-handling capabilities, we are capable of stopping the universe altogether. It is no wonder that Evolution saw fit to develop sentience and the highly-developed consciousness that we possess together; morality is certainly a sub-routine that I would have included.

To clarify, I see Evolution as a process that has been going on for the entire life of the universe; the "basic law" of Creation, if you like. The first "phase" was a foundation phase (from our perspective) where habitats eventually evolved, the second phase was Life, products that can change their environment to suit their needs, and the third phase is sentience.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 20/09/2013 18:44:20
It seems to me that consciousness is no more than data handling. Data arrives through a set of senses; the five "physical" ones plus a "mental" one that allows us to be "aware" of our thoughts - working consciousness (is this the sense responsible for "imagination"?). We handle this data incredibly fast, so fast that the distinction between "conscious" thought - getting the view across   - and unconscious thought - the tool will be adding 2 and 2 - becomes blurred, but it is data handling none the less.
I wouldn't argue with that. Except that there are many more than five physical senses (up to about 21, depending on what you want to include (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sense)); I also suspect the mental one is composed of multiple facets of awareness.

Quote
To clarify, I see Evolution as a process that has been going on for the entire life of the universe; the "basic law" of Creation, if you like. The first "phase" was a foundation phase (from our perspective) where habitats eventually evolved, the second phase was Life, products that can change their environment to suit their needs, and the third phase is sentience.
It's worth bearing in mind that the processes of natural evolution are undirected, so enumerating such phases of development is a retrospective convenience; the sequence is predictable, as each depends on the previous, but there is no evidence of (or need for) purpose or intent, and no implications for the future.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 20/09/2013 19:05:22
If nonsentient life evolved before sentient life, and sentience is the root of wanting more, how did nonsentient life come to populate the planet? Wouldn't it have been satisfied with the puddle in which it first evolved? So why did sentience evolve, if the primordial puddle was so pleasant? 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 20/09/2013 19:32:20
In answer to the last point made by dlorde; who says that "the natural processes of Evolution are undirected."? Regardless of any spiritual connoctations the Universe is, and always has been, developing more and more complex products. In this respect it is far more like old Henrys production line than a place where matter, energy and dead cats can randomly appear, destructive and constructive in equal measure. I would have been happier with "appears to be undirected" but, given the Model T, I would still have wondered.

In respect to the primordial soup mentioned by alancalverd, there was no consciousness involved in "filling the niches"; natural selection took care of the finches and the cows still wander to the other field. Sentience may be the root of wanting "stuff that we don't need" but it is certainly not the root of "wanting more", as any Goldfish, notorious for eating themselves to death, can tell you.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 20/09/2013 19:45:47
If nonsentient life evolved before sentient life, and sentience is the root of wanting more, how did nonsentient life come to populate the planet? Wouldn't it have been satisfied with the puddle in which it first evolved?
How do you define 'satisfaction' and 'want' for non-sentient life? They're generally considered sentient properties. Non-sentient life could populate the planet passively, from its puddle, by variations on the theme of splashing (caused by external agencies).

p.s. It seems unlikely that life evolved in a puddle ;)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 20/09/2013 19:58:02
In answer to the last point made by dlorde; who says that "the natural processes of Evolution are undirected."?
No, I said, "the processes of natural evolution are undirected". If you're going to quote me, please use cut & paste rather than memory.

Quote
Regardless of any spiritual connoctations the Universe is, and always has been, developing more and more complex products.
True, but it's a statistical observation, and it goes the other way too - complex things also become simpler. If you start at a certain level of complexity, things can either get more complex, less complex, or stay at the same level of complexity. There is a lower bound on simplicity, but no (known) upper bound on complexity, so complexity will increase. This says nothing about the relative abundance of complexity vs simplicity, if it was even possible to calculate such a measure.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 21:09:20
Have you ever done some meditation ,Yoga , or some other spiritual exercises ?
Do not reduce yourself to just ..science .
I meditate, and spent some years practicing Yang Family Tajiquan (T'ai Chi). If physical & mental exercise, relaxation, mood elevation, and emotional balancing are spiritual, then they're spiritual exercises.

As you might expect, I take the mystical, paranormal side of it with a pinch of salt (e.g. I see the popular concept of 'chi' as the understandable result of an holistic rather than reductionist approach to physical & mental performance, coupled with a lack of detailed knowledge of human biology, especially physiology - with the more absurd paranormal aspects driven by fakes & frauds and their coteries of hangers-on (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I)).

Ok, do you have other hypotheses concerning consciousness, other than that materialistic magical  "emergence " trick   then ?
And how do you explain what you experience during meditation ...?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 21:16:42
Guys :

Did it ever occur to you that human consciousness might exist and function outside of the laws of physics ?
Otherwise , just tell me what consciousness is ,and where is it to be "found or localised " in man ?

Just try to answer the following as well, while you are at it :

If consciousness was the product of the "blind " evolution ,if the intellect is the product of the "blind " evolution ,both as some sort of pragmatic survival strategies, then it's pretty logical to question all our sense of reality , knowledge , including the scientific knowledge , including the scientific knowledge regarding  evolution itself = a paradox = try to explain this paradox to me then ...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 20/09/2013 21:40:19
I'm sorry I misquoted you dlorde, it was careless and rude of me.

While I understand the argument regarding the bounds of complexity I do not understand why this means that complexity will increase. I agree that there is more "room" for complexity to increase but why must it? What does the universe gain from increasing complexity?

In relation to the last post from DonQuihotte, consciousness is a data-processing operation that takes place in the brain. However, the mind of man is made up of many elements - consciousness, instinct, the unconscious and the previously mentioned Self for example - there may be others. Whether they all have their basis in physics or not is a question of Faith.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 21:48:31
Folks :

I do prefer this anti-reductionist , anti-materialist "emergence " trick, anti-neo- -Darwinian view ...represented by this philosopher , relatively speaking : Thanks ,Cheryl, for that :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Nagel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Is_it_Like_to_Be_a_Bat%3F
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 21:51:27
I do not see how relatively intelligent people can believe in that materialistic reductionist neo-Darwinian "emergence " trick bullshit  regarding consciousness  though : Amazing .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 20/09/2013 22:00:34
In relation to the last post from DonQuihotte, consciousness is a data-processing operation that takes place in the brain. However, the mind of man is made up of many elements - consciousness, instinct, the unconscious and the previously mentioned Self for example - there may be others. Whether they all have their basis in physics or not is a question of Faith.
[/quote]

Explain this magic of yours to me , please  = consciouness is a data- processing that takes place in the brain : ..takes place where in the brain exactly ? how do you know just that ? Try to prove just that then .

Thanks, appreciate indeed , and welcome, even though we do have enough magicians here already , once again .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 20/09/2013 22:39:02
A windmill might be useful right now.

I'm OK, you're OK. Great book. Read it many times. It occurred to me:

"Now there's an interesting thing. Values are learned initially though “instinct” and instinct in non-sentient creatures is something that helps to keep them alive and successful by controlling their behaviour – don't eat the grass by the T-Rex even if you are hungry and it looks good; eat other grass. Sentience extends this effect to include being “good” as well – alive, successful and good. Don't take the wallet that the customer before you just left on the counter even if you are pretty skint and he looks like he can afford it; it's not right. A £20 note blowing down the street is another matter, though also often difficult.
Could it be that instinct is part of the Self, that it lies very deeply rooted in the value system? Or could it be that instinct is the original, insentient version of conscience itself? This would indicate that the leap from insentience to sentience happened when this, very personal, reservoir of self-esteem got added to the Self, when the judgements of the conscience began to have a lasting effect on our “feel good” factor; guilt is cumulative and people who habitually deny their conscience are unhappy people. The doctors tell us that they are suffering from low self-esteem. If one thinks about this then would it not have been a brilliant evolutionary step in mental development? It would necessitate the development of memory so that one could look back at behaviour that didn't make them “feel good”. Furthermore better analytical ability, intelligence, would need to develop  in order to be able to “rationalise” why one chose behaviour that didn't make one “feel good” or, conversely, why one wasn't going to take the wallet.
Could Sentience be the natural bye-product of the introduction of Self-Esteem into our innermost characters, our Selfs?"

In other words, the whole development of sentience and intelligence was a natural, Darwinian, progression following the development of the psychological trait we call self-esteem, a quantity of every adult mind. Consciousness remains a purely biological function based on electrical impulses in the brain.

The proof you seek is on the trauma ward of every hospital. There are hundreds of brain damaged people who show reduced intelligence, awareness or any other measure of "consciousness".

Do you mean consciousness or do you mean the mind?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 21/09/2013 00:12:56
Ok, do you have other hypotheses concerning consciousness, other than that materialistic magical  "emergence " trick   then ?
The only plausible hypothesis I am aware of for consciousness is that it is a function of brain processes.

Quote
And how do you explain what you experience during meditation ...?
I think the main benefits are the result of training the focus of attention in various non-stressful ways. I could probably be more specific given a more specific question.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 21/09/2013 00:39:11
Did it ever occur to you that human consciousness might exist and function outside of the laws of physics ?
Otherwise , just tell me what consciousness is ,and where is it to be "found or localised " in man ?
I expect most people with an interest have considered the basis of consciousness; everything else we know about the universe exists and functions within the laws of physics, and as has been said here repeatedly, there's no good reason to make an exception for consciousness, and all the evidence suggests that it isn't an exception.

The evidence suggests it is a process, a function of the brain, which means it is physically localised to the brain. In the sense of it's perceptual or experiential domain, it extends to the sensory limits of our bodies, and can be considered to extend beyond that in various ways. The virtual location of the experiential self is generally felt to be 'behind the eyes', but that feeling can be distorted or dislocated in various ways (an indication that it is a construct of a mapping process).

Quote
If consciousness was the product of the "blind " evolution ,if the intellect is the product of the "blind " evolution ,both as some sort of pragmatic survival strategies, then it's pretty logical to question all our sense of reality , knowledge , including the scientific knowledge , including the scientific knowledge regarding  evolution itself = a paradox = try to explain this paradox to me then ... [/b]
Why do you think it's a paradox? it's logical to assume that those traits are rooted in optimising our chances of survival. Why should we question them any more than our hands and feet or our eyes? In evolutionary terms, they are tools that aid survival. No guarantees for the future though - what is beneficial in one context may not necessarily be in another.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 21/09/2013 00:46:19


To clarify, I see Evolution as a process that has been going on for the entire life of the universe; the "basic law" of Creation, if you like. The first "phase" was a foundation phase (from our perspective) where habitats eventually evolved, the second phase was Life, products that can change their environment to suit their needs, and the third phase is sentience.

I don't think there is such a thing as non-sentient life. That's part of the definition of a living thing - can reproduce itself, has a metabolism, maintains homeostasis, and responds to stimuli. Microbes have chemotaxis and move towards an increase in concentrations of nutrients and away from decreases in concentration. And there are unicellular organisms with photosensitive organelles as well.

Some biologists think the brains and nervous systems evolved in order to facilitate processing or responding to the information from the sensing systems, despite the fact that we tend to think of the senses "serving" the brain. Some jelly fish have well developed eyes but no brain. Their eyes transmit signals directly to the muscles. Anyway,  if sentience is defined as being able to sense something in the outside world and react to it in a way that increases survival, that was there from the get go.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 21/09/2013 00:59:30
I'm sorry I misquoted you dlorde, it was careless and rude of me.
OK, no offence taken - I tend to be sensitive about it, as your own words are all you have online, and some people like to misrepresent and misquote what you say to make straw-man arguments.

Quote
While I understand the argument regarding the bounds of complexity I do not understand why this means that complexity will increase. I agree that there is more "room" for complexity to increase but why must it? What does the universe gain from increasing complexity?
Why should it be a question of what the universe gains? are you suggesting there is some kind of universal judgement of benefit? by whom, or what?
As I said, it's just a statistical likelihood if some interactions can have more complex results than others. If the more complex results happen to be as stable or more stable than the less complex ones, they are likely to persist. If not, they are likely to break down to less complex ones. Dynamical complex systems, like life, manage to maintain different complex equilibria in the short term (individual lifetime) and the long term (population or species lifetime), leveraging an entropy gradient.   
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 21/09/2013 01:04:26
Anyway,  if sentience is defined as being able to sense something in the outside world and react to it in a way that increases survival, that was there from the get go.
True, although sentience is often defined as conscious awareness.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 21/09/2013 01:15:02
Have you ever done some meditation ,Yoga , or some other spiritual exercises ?
Do not reduce yourself to just ..science .
I meditate, and spent some years practicing Yang Family Tajiquan (T'ai Chi). If physical & mental exercise, relaxation, mood elevation, and emotional balancing are spiritual, then they're spiritual exercises.

As you might expect, I take the mystical, paranormal side of it with a pinch of salt (e.g. I see the popular concept of 'chi' as the understandable result of an holistic rather than reductionist approach to physical & mental performance, coupled with a lack of detailed knowledge of human biology, especially physiology - with the more absurd paranormal aspects driven by fakes & frauds and their coteries of hangers-on (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I)).

Ok, do you have other hypotheses concerning consciousness, other than that materialistic magical  "emergence " trick   then ?
And how do you explain what you experience during meditation ...?


There are tons of studies about what goes on in the brain during meditation if you are really interested. They are hooking up Buddhists monks all the time to imaging instruments. The Dalai Lama, incidentally doesn't see any conflict between his spiritual practice and science, and says “In the Buddhist investigation of reality we traditionally employ four principles of reasoning: dependence, function, nature and evidence. Both approaches [science and Buddhism]  seem to work in parallel." He has invited many physicists and neuroscientists to speak at his conferences. “Bringing science to Buddhist monks does not mean bending the belief system,” he insists, “they are parallel, there is no attempt to harmonize the two."
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 01:18:50
@ dlorde : your reductionist magical neo-Darwinian views spring to the face of common sense as obviously false:

I do not understand in fact how can such a relatively intelligent guy such as yourself believe in that materialistic reductionist obvious non-sense :

See this introduction to this interesting book of philosopher Thomas Nagel i have been reading , i will post a link regarding a site where one can download almost all ebooks of Nagel for free , as i did :

The book's title i am talking about here is : "Mind and Cosmos : Why the materialist reductionist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false :



Chapter 1
Introduction
The aim of this book is to argue that the mind-body problem is not just a local problem, having to do
with the relation between mind, brain, and behavior in living animal organisms, but that it invades our
understanding of the entire cosmos and its history. The physical sciences and evolutionary biology
cannot be kept insulated from it, and I believe a true appreciation of the difficulty of the problem
must eventually change our conception of the place of the physical sciences in describing the natural
order.
One of the legitimate tasks of philosophy is to investigate the limits of even the best developed
and most successful forms of contemporary scientific knowledge. It may be frustrating to
acknowledge, but we are simply at the point in the history of human thought at which we find
ourselves, and our successors will make discoveries and develop forms of understanding of which we
have not dreamt. Humans are addicted to the hope for a final reckoning, but intellectual humility
requires that we resist the temptation to assume that tools of the kind we now have are in principle
sufficient to understand the universe as a whole. Pointing out their limits is a philosophical task,
whoever engages in it, rather than part of the internal pursuit of science—though we can hope that if
the limits are recognized, that may eventually lead to the discovery of new forms of scientific
understanding. Scientists are well aware of how much they don’t know, but this is a different kind of
problem—not just of acknowledging the limits of what is actually understood but of trying to
recognize what can and cannot in principle be understood by certain existing methods.
My target is a comprehensive, speculative world picture that is reached by extrapolation from
some of the discoveries of biology, chemistry, and physics—a particular naturalistic Weltanschauung
that postulates a hierarchical relation among the subjects of those sciences, and the completeness in
principle of an explanation of everything in the universe through their unification. Such a world view
is not a necessary condition of the practice of any of those sciences, and its acceptance or
nonacceptance would have no effect on most scientific research. For all I know, most practicing
scientists may have no opinion about the overarching cosmological questions to which this materialist
reductionism provides an answer. Their detailed research and substantive findings do not in general
depend on or imply either that or any other answer to such questions. But among the scientists and
philosophers who do express views about the natural order as a whole, reductive materialism is widely
assumed to be the only serious possibility.1
The starting point for the argument is the failure of psychophysical reductionism, a position in the
philosophy of mind that is largely motivated by the hope of showing how the physical sciences could
in principle provide a theory of everything. If that hope is unrealizable, the question arises whether
any other more or less unified understanding could take in the entire cosmos as we know it. Among
the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical
world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some form of neutral monism over the traditional
alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. What I would like to do is to explore the
possibilities that are compatible with what we know—in particular what we know about how mind and
everything connected with it depends on the appearance and development of living organisms, as a
result of the universe’s physical, chemical, and then biological evolution. I will contend that these
processes must be reconceived in light of what they have produced, if psychophysical reductionism is
false.
The argument from the failure of psychophysical reductionism is a philosophical one, but I
believe there are independent empirical reasons to be skeptical about the truth of reductionism in
biology. Physico-chemical reductionism in biology is the orthodox view, and any resistance to it is
regarded as not only scientifically but politically incorrect. But for a long time I have found the
materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the
standard version of how the evolutionary process works. The more details we learn about the chemical
basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical
account becomes.2 This is just the opinion of a layman who reads widely in the literature that explains
contemporary science to the nonspecialist. Perhaps that literature presents the situation with a
simplicity and confidence that does not reflect the most sophisticated scientific thought in these areas.
But it seems to me that, as it is usually presented, the current orthodoxy about the cosmic order is the
product of governing assumptions that are unsupported, and that it flies in the face of common sense.
I would like to defend the untutored reaction of incredulity to the reductionist neo-Darwinian
account of the origin and evolution of life.3 It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it
is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection. We
are expected to abandon this naïve response, not in favor of a fully worked out physical/chemical
explanation but in favor of an alternative that is really a schema for explanation, supported by some
examples. What is lacking, to my knowledge, is a credible argument that the story has a nonnegligible
probability of being true. There are two questions. First, given what is known about the chemical basis
of biology and genetics, what is the likelihood that self-reproducing life forms should have come into
existence spontaneously on the early earth, solely through the operation of the laws of physics and
chemistry? The second question is about the sources of variation in the evolutionary process that was
set in motion once life began: In the available geological time since the first life forms appeared on
earth, what is the likelihood that, as a result of physical accident, a sequence of viable genetic
mutations should have occurred that was sufficient to permit natural selection to produce the
organisms that actually exist?
There is much more uncertainty in the scientific community about the first question than about the
second. Many people think it will be very difficult to come up with a reductionist explanation of the
origin of life, but most people have no doubt that accidental genetic variation is enough to support the
actual history of evolution by natural selection, once reproducing organisms have come into
existence. However, since the questions concern highly specific events over a long historical period in
the distant past, the available evidence is very indirect, and general assumptions have to play an
important part. My skepticism is not based on religious belief, or on a belief in any definite
alternative. It is just a belief that the available scientific evidence, in spite of the consensus of
scientific opinion, does not in this matter rationally require us to subordinate the incredulity of
common sense. That is especially true with regard to the origin of life.
The world is an astonishing place, and the idea that we have in our possession the basic tools
needed to understand it is no more credible now than it was in Aristotle’s day. That it has produced
you, and me, and the rest of us is the most astonishing thing about it. If contemporary research in
molecular biology leaves open the possibility of legitimate doubts about a fully mechanistic account
of the origin and evolution of life, dependent only on the laws of chemistry and physics, this can
combine with the failure of psychophysical reductionism to suggest that principles of a different kind
are also at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form
teleological rather than mechanistic. I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous,
but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the
reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science.
My project has the familiar form of trying to meet a set of conditions that seem jointly
impossible. In addition to antireductionism, two further constraints are important: first, an assumption
that certain things are so remarkable that they have to be explained as non-accidental if we are to
pretend to a real understanding of the world; second, the ideal of discovering a single natural order
that unifies everything on the basis of a set of common elements and principles—an ideal toward
which the inevitably very incomplete forms of our actual understanding should nevertheless aspire.
Cartesian dualism rejects this second aspiration, and the reductive programs of both materialism and
idealism are failed attempts to realize it. The unifying conception is also incompatible with the kind
of theism that explains certain features of the natural world by divine intervention, which is not part
of the natural order.
The great advances in the physical and biological sciences were made possible by excluding the
mind from the physical world. This has permitted a quantitative understanding of that world,
expressed in timeless, mathematically formulated physical laws. But at some point it will be
necessary to make a new start on a more comprehensive understanding that includes the mind. It
seems inevitable that such an understanding will have a historical dimension as well as a timeless one.
The idea that historical understanding is part of science has become familiar through the
transformation of biology by evolutionary theory. But more recently, with the acceptance of the big
bang, cosmology has also become a historical science. Mind, as a development of life, must be
included as the most recent stage of this long cosmological history, and its appearance, I believe, casts
its shadow back over the entire process and the constituents and principles on which the process
depends.
The question is whether we can integrate this perspective with that of the physical sciences as they
have been developed for a mindless universe. The understanding of mind cannot be contained within
the personal point of view, since mind is the product of a partly physical process; but by the same
token, the separateness of physical science, and its claim to completeness, has to end in the long run.
And that poses the question: To what extent will the reductive form that is so central to contemporary
physical science survive this transformation? If physics and chemistry cannot fully account for life
and consciousness, how will their immense body of truth be combined with other elements in an
expanded conception of the natural order that can accommodate those things?
As I have said, doubts about the reductionist account of life go against the dominant scientific
consensus, but that consensus faces problems of probability that I believe are not taken seriously
enough, both with respect to the evolution of life forms through accidental mutation and natural
selection and with respect to the formation from dead matter of physical systems capable of such
evolution. The more we learn about the intricacy of the genetic code and its control of the chemical
processes of life, the harder those problems seem.
Again: with regard to evolution, the process of natural selection cannot account for the actual
history without an adequate supply of viable mutations, and I believe it remains an open question
whether this could have been provided in geological time merely as a result of chemical accident,
without the operation of some other factors determining and restricting the forms of genetic variation.
It is no longer legitimate simply to imagine a sequence of gradually evolving phenotypes, as if their
appearance through mutations in the DNA were unproblematic—as Richard Dawkins does for the
evolution of the eye.4 With regard to the origin of life, the problem is much harder, since the option of
natural selection as an explanation is not available. And the coming into existence of the genetic code
—an arbitrary mapping of nucleotide sequences into amino acids, together with mechanisms that can
read the code and carry out its instructions—seems particularly resistant to being revealed as probable
given physical law alone.5
In thinking about these questions I have been stimulated by criticisms of the prevailing scientific
world picture from a very different direction: the attack on Darwinism mounted in recent years from a
religious perspective by the defenders of intelligent design. Even though writers like Michael Behe
and Stephen Meyer are motivated at least in part by their religious beliefs, the empirical arguments
they offer against the likelihood that the origin of life and its evolutionary history can be fully
explained by physics and chemistry are of great interest in themselves.6 Another skeptic, David
Berlinski, has brought out these problems vividly without reference to the design inference.7 Even if
one is not drawn to the alternative of an explanation by the actions of a designer, the problems that
these iconoclasts pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously.8 They do not
deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met. It is manifestly unfair.
Those who have seriously criticized these arguments have certainly shown that there are ways to
resist the design conclusion; but the general force of the negative part of the intelligent design
position—skepticism about the likelihood of the orthodox reductive view, given the available
evidence—does not appear to me to have been destroyed in these exchanges.9 At least, the question
should be regarded as open. To anyone interested in the basis of this judgment, I can only recommend
a careful reading of some of the leading advocates on both sides of the issue—with special attention
to what has been established by the critics of intelligent design. Whatever one may think about the
possibility of a designer, the prevailing doctrine—that the appearance of life from dead matter and its
evolution through accidental mutation and natural selection to its present forms has involved nothing
but the operation of physical law—cannot be regarded as unassailable. It is an assumption governing
the scientific project rather than a well-confirmed scientific hypothesis.
I confess to an ungrounded assumption of my own, in not finding it possible to regard the design
alternative as a real option. I lack the sensus divinitatis that enables—indeed compels—so many
people to see in the world the expression of divine purpose as naturally as they see in a smiling face
the expression of human feeling.10 So my speculations about an alternative to physics as a theory of
everything do not invoke a transcendent being but tend toward complications to the immanent
character of the natural order. That would also be a more unifying explanation than the design
hypothesis. I disagree with the defenders of intelligent design in their assumption, one which they
share with their opponents, that the only naturalistic alternative is a reductionist theory based on
physical laws of the type with which we are familiar. Nevertheless, I believe the defenders of
intelligent design deserve our gratitude for challenging a scientific world view that owes some of the
passion displayed by its adherents precisely to the fact that it is thought to liberate us from religion.
That world view is ripe for displacement, in spite of the great achievements of reductive
materialism, which will presumably continue for a long time to be our main source for concrete
understanding and control of the world around us. To argue, as I will, that there is a lot it can’t explain
is not to offer an alternative. But the recognition of those limits is a precondition of looking for
alternatives, or at least of being open to their possibility. And it may mean that some directions of
pursuit of the materialist form of explanation will come to be seen as dead ends. If the appearance of
conscious organisms in the world is due to principles of development that are not derived from the
timeless laws of physics, that may be a reason for pessimism about purely chemical explanations of
the origin of life as well.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 01:35:46
Have you ever done some meditation ,Yoga , or some other spiritual exercises ?
Do not reduce yourself to just ..science .
I meditate, and spent some years practicing Yang Family Tajiquan (T'ai Chi). If physical & mental exercise, relaxation, mood elevation, and emotional balancing are spiritual, then they're spiritual exercises.

As you might expect, I take the mystical, paranormal side of it with a pinch of salt (e.g. I see the popular concept of 'chi' as the understandable result of an holistic rather than reductionist approach to physical & mental performance, coupled with a lack of detailed knowledge of human biology, especially physiology - with the more absurd paranormal aspects driven by fakes & frauds and their coteries of hangers-on (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaCIDvj6I)).

Ok, do you have other hypotheses concerning consciousness, other than that materialistic magical  "emergence " trick   then ?
And how do you explain what you experience during meditation ...?


There are tons of studies about what goes on in the brain during meditation if you are really interested. They are hooking up Buddhists monks all the time to imaging instruments. The Dalai Lama, incidentally doesn't see any conflict between his spiritual practice and science, and says “In the Buddhist investigation of reality we traditionally employ four principles of reasoning: dependence, function, nature and evidence. Both approaches [science and Buddhism]  seem to work in parallel." He has invited many physicists and neuroscientists to speak at his conferences. “Bringing science to Buddhist monks does not mean bending the belief system,” he insists, “they are parallel, there is no attempt to harmonize the two."
[/quote]

First of all , thanks a lot for telling me about philosopher Thomas Nagel : he seems to be my kindda guy ,so to speak : i have been reading his introduction as displayed here above for our hopeless reductionist dlorde , an introduction to his "Mind and cosmos : why the materialist reductionist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false " .I did download most of the man's books for free .

Second : You seem to have missed my thread : "What is the real origin of the scientific method ? " ,concerning the islamic origin of the scientific method : check it , if you haven't done so already .

Third : Thomas Nagel tries in that book of his to debunk that materialistic neo-Darwinian reductionism in science , he tries to show the obvious limits of man's knowledge , the obvious limits of science ....

Fourth and last :
Science is certainly very welcome in trying to shed some light on spirituality , religious spiritual or mystic experiences , consciousness ...via studying their corresponding links with the corresponding specific brain activity , but , those materialistic reductionist mechanical magical neo-Darwinian interpretations of those scientific studies concerning those activities of the brain corresponding to the above mentioned processes are just that : interpretations = have nothing to do with science proper .

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 02:05:16
A windmill might be useful right now.

I'm OK, you're OK. Great book. Read it many times. It occurred to me:

"Now there's an interesting thing. Values are learned initially though “instinct” and instinct in non-sentient creatures is something that helps to keep them alive and successful by controlling their behaviour – don't eat the grass by the T-Rex even if you are hungry and it looks good; eat other grass. Sentience extends this effect to include being “good” as well – alive, successful and good. Don't take the wallet that the customer before you just left on the counter even if you are pretty skint and he looks like he can afford it; it's not right. A £20 note blowing down the street is another matter, though also often difficult.
Could it be that instinct is part of the Self, that it lies very deeply rooted in the value system? Or could it be that instinct is the original, insentient version of conscience itself? This would indicate that the leap from insentience to sentience happened when this, very personal, reservoir of self-esteem got added to the Self, when the judgements of the conscience began to have a lasting effect on our “feel good” factor; guilt is cumulative and people who habitually deny their conscience are unhappy people. The doctors tell us that they are suffering from low self-esteem. If one thinks about this then would it not have been a brilliant evolutionary step in mental development? It would necessitate the development of memory so that one could look back at behaviour that didn't make them “feel good”. Furthermore better analytical ability, intelligence, would need to develop  in order to be able to “rationalise” why one chose behaviour that didn't make one “feel good” or, conversely, why one wasn't going to take the wallet.
Could Sentience be the natural bye-product of the introduction of Self-Esteem into our innermost characters, our Selfs?"

In other words, the whole development of sentience and intelligence was a natural, Darwinian, progression following the development of the psychological trait we call self-esteem, a quantity of every adult mind. Consciousness remains a purely biological function based on electrical impulses in the brain.

The proof you seek is on the trauma ward of every hospital. There are hundreds of brain damaged people who show reduced intelligence, awareness or any other measure of "consciousness".

Do you mean consciousness or do you mean the mind?
[/quote]

Can you prove any of these romantic Cinderella stories of yours ?
What , on earth , are you talking about ?
You have just landed , Mr. magical Eagle , so , you have missed a lot here :
See the previous posts where we talked about damaged brains, the magical "emergence " trick ...........

You haven't answered any of my questions regarding your reductionist magical claims that have nothing to do with science whatsoever , just with materialism  as a world view  in science .
See above : concerning that interesting book of philosopher Thomas Nagel also : you can read his displayed introduction to that interesting book of his .
I certainly cannot understand the fact that relatively intelligent people such as yourselves can  believe in that materialistic reductionist neo-Darwinian magical "emergence " trick obvious non-sense , come on : amazing : see that book .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 02:29:17
For those reductionists here who might happen to use their critical minds  regarding their reductionist magical non-sense , the following ,concerning Thomas Nagel 's books for free :

http://bookos.org/g/Thomas%20Nagel

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 21/09/2013 03:23:58


First of all , thanks a lot for telling me about philosopher Thomas Nagel : he seems to be my kindda guy ,so to speak :



I was afraid you'd say that.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 21/09/2013 03:27:16
Anyway,  if sentience is defined as being able to sense something in the outside world and react to it in a way that increases survival, that was there from the get go.
True, although sentience is often defined as conscious awareness.

Yeah, Merriam Webster, I notice, includes both definitions. They probably had a big argument about it while writing the dictionary.

So at what point, I wonder, does an animal sense that it senses?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 03:48:41


First of all , thanks a lot for telling me about philosopher Thomas Nagel : he seems to be my kindda guy ,so to speak :



I was afraid you'd say that.
[/quote]

I was  also afraid you would say this    .
What do you think about his views and analyses by the way ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 21/09/2013 04:22:29
Quote from: DonQuichotte



I was  also afraid you would say this    .
What do you think about his views and analyses by the way ?

[/quote

I don't agree. I just read him to torture myself.

But if you are going to read Nagel, someone you already agree with, maybe you should also sample something like Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio. Or maybe Patricia Churchland.
Before you say "There is absolutely no way you can derive A from B, you should at least be quite sure you know what B is and what it can do. I just feel you dismiss the brain as a bunch of cells and and chemical reactions in a way too nonchalant and incurious way without bothering to find out. Start with the cingulate gyrus.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 06:11:04
Quote from: DonQuichotte



I was  also afraid you would say this    .
What do you think about his views and analyses by the way ?

[/quote

I don't agree. I just read him to torture myself.

But if you are going to read Nagel, someone you already agree with, maybe you should also sample something like Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio. Or maybe Patricia Churchland.
Before you say "There is absolutely no way you can derive A from B, you should at least be quite sure you know what B is and what it can do. I just feel you dismiss the brain as a bunch of cells and and chemical reactions in a way too nonchalant and incurious way without bothering to find out. Start with the cingulate gyrus.

I can understand that you would disagree with him, but why "torture yourself " by reading him,  or was that just sarcasm  ...  : is he that bad ?
....................I know i am no easy read either haha ......He ,himself,said in his above displayed introduction to his " Mind and cosmos ..." book , that he read the scientific popularized  literature extensively , and he expressed the potential possibility that that literature he read might be too simplistic ...

............................
Well, you got that wrong ,regarding what you said about me at least , and i do have that ebook of Antonio Damasio "Self comes to mind ..." , dlorde told me about it , so, i downloaded it from the net : i will read it whenever i can .

I do value the brain , i am marvelled and perplexed by its complexity and functioning we still know so little about , despite all those breakthroughs in that regard delivered by neuroscience ...: i did give you some links regarding just that earlier ,in the form of those videos, for example

I read relatively enough about the materialistic magical mainstream reductionism in science i am deeply appaled and outraged by its deceptive ideological dishonesty and hijacking of science , as i said many times and in different forms ,to be honest = we hear mostly only about the materialistic interpretations of science , of scienctific results and approaches  that get presented to people as science proper  = science is dominated by that  ..even the meta-paradigm of science is materialistic .
And there is no reason to say that A or the brain ,or what takes place in it , do cause  B or  consciousness : there is correlation and interaction between the 2 , materialists do confuse with causation ,for obvious ideological "reasons " , in order to make those scientific results fit into their materialistic ideology :

I will just let Nagel sum all that up , via the eloquent concise conclusion of his above mentioned book : Here you go :


Chapter 6
Conclusion:
Philosophy has to proceed comparatively. The best we can do is to develop the rival alternative
conceptions in each important domain as fully and carefully as possible, depending on our antecedent
sympathies, and see how they measure up. That is a more credible form of progress than decisive
proof or refutation.
In the present climate of a dominant scientific naturalism, heavily dependent on speculative
Darwinian explanations of practically everything, and armed to the teeth against attacks from religion,
I have thought it useful to speculate about possible alternatives. Above all, I would like to extend the
boundaries of what is not regarded as unthinkable, in light of how little we really understand about the
world. It would be an advance if the secular theoretical establishment, and the contemporary
enlightened culture which it dominates, could wean itself of the materialism and Darwinism of the
gaps—to adapt one of its own pejorative tags. I have tried to show that this approach is incapable of
providing an adequate account, either constitutive or historical, of our universe.
However, I am certain that my own attempt to explore alternatives is far too unimaginative. An
understanding of the universe as basically prone to generate life and mind will probably require a
much more radical departure from the familiar forms of naturalistic explanation than I am at present
able to conceive. Specifically, in attempting to understand consciousness as a biological phenomenon,
it is too easy to forget how radical is the difference between the subjective and the objective, and to
fall into the error of thinking about the mental in terms taken from our ideas of physical events and
processes. Wittgenstein was sensitive to this error, though his way of avoiding it through an
exploration of the grammar of mental language seems to me plainly insufficient.
It is perfectly possible that the truth is beyond our reach, in virtue of our intrinsic cognitive
limitations, and not merely beyond our grasp in humanity’s present stage of intellectual development.
But I believe that we cannot know this, and that it makes sense to go on seeking a systematic
understanding of how we and other living things fit into the world. In this process, the ability to
generate and reject false hypotheses plays an essential role. I have argued patiently against the
prevailing form of naturalism, a reductive materialism that purports to capture life and mind through
its neo-Darwinian extension.

But to go back to my introductory remarks, I find this view antecedently
unbelievable—a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense
.

The empirical evidence can
be interpreted to accommodate different comprehensive theories, but in this case the cost in
conceptual and probabilistic contortions is prohibitive. I would be willing to bet that the present rightthinking
consensus will come to seem laughable in a generation or two—though of course it may be
replaced by a new consensus that is just as invalid. The human will to believe is inexhaustible.

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 07:09:21
Nagel was a bit merciful or too kind in fact :

 He had to say that the reductionist materialistic world view was already laughable , antecedently unbelievable ,childish , ridiculous , magical ...and even stupid , sorry , from day 1 already .
Those huge advances or "miracles " of science were the results of the scientific method , materialism had nothing to do with .
The next generations will show no intellectual mercy for materialism  ...i guess ...simply because materialists   have been deliberately deceiving so many people ,during all those more than 5 centuries up to this present date , in the name of science ...
Ignorant people ,or even ignorant religious extremists might be pardoned for their ignorance , or for their crimes in the name of God ...but, i see not how materialists can be intellectually pardoned for the fact that they have been deceiving people , in the name of science , by deliberately and knowingly presenting their materialistic  world views or materialistic approaches to the peopel as scientific facts or as scientific approaches ...

materialism in science is the biggest scam , the ultimate con and fraud in the history of mankind : worse : and even more so in science....in science most people genuinely trust as a valid source of knowledge like no other .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 21/09/2013 10:41:08
On meditation you won't find a much better book than "The Which Guide to Meditation". It's about 20 years old now but gives a great explanation of the "relaxation response". It is amazing. For many years I slept 4 hours per night, was never tired, and meditated - simple counting breaths until I hit the RR - for 30 minutes each morning and evening. I don't hit the relaxation response very often these days but, when I do, there is still a euphoric feeling when I return from the "poised awareness" state of the relaxation response to normal awareness. I do not know why there is a feeling of euphoria but I think the chances of it being a naturally evolved "reward" to a useful survival trait are good - it is, in some ways, like an orgasm. Mankinds tendency to assign spiritual significance to euphoria provides alternative causes.

DonQuihotte, you asked:
"Can you prove any of these romantic Cinderella stories of yours ?
What , on earth , are you talking about ?..........."

OK. To the first, no I can't - it's pure speculation, a possible explanation. The elements of this speculation - self esteem, conscience, intelligence - are observable as is Evolution. I just put 2 and 2 together and came up with 4, or near enough that I don't "need" any other explanation. Not to say that there isn't one and I'm all ears.

To the second, didn't I just ask you that? There is a reason why we say "the conscious mind". There are things going on in the mind that we are not "conscious" of. The question posed by this conversation asks what is consciousness? I just want to clarify what you mean by consciousness

But you're absolutely right, I am a newbie and, yes, I skimmed over a lot of entries; I'll go back and take a look.

In response to cheryl j, I would not define sentience like this; sensing the outside world and reacting to it is either instinct or consciousness. I would describe sentience as the ability to react, or choose to react, to stimuli in a way not conducive to survival - we don't need to know why stars explode yet we expend resources trying to find out. Such a behaviour change requires a lot more memory and reasoning ability simply because it offers such an expanded scope for choice - a bug can eat, sleep or reproduce, I can do all that or listen to some Led Zeppelin or do the washing up - no contest. Why would we want to do this and what sort of control mechanisms would be required for such a dangerous development in mental ability might be a good subject for another thread but I've referred to my own views regarding drives and reward mechanisms in a previous post. Sorry, but I think "conscious awareness" is just a symptom of sentience.

Thank you dlorde, that makes things clear, I think; The universe appears to function like a conveyor belt because it must, over time, function like a conveyor belt.

Had a glance at Nagel; I agree with some of what he has to say. However, I have a problem with people who won't see what they don't want to. His denigration of "speculative Darwinian explanation" is almost fanatical. I don't believe that science has all the answers either, but I accept the possibility that it may only be a matter of time. I also accept the possibility that science will never have all the answers because there is a supernatural element involved. It's a case of I'll go back 2 million years and show you that my ancestor was an ape just as soon as you show me God.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 21/09/2013 11:12:32
Non-sentient life could populate the planet passively, from its puddle, by variations on the theme of splashing (caused by external agencies).

So why did sentient life evolve at all?

Quote
p.s. It seems unlikely that life evolved in a puddle ;)

The transpiration of water is common to all the things we call life forms, and the hydrogen bond is the basis of DNA mitosis and replication. Whether selfreplicating molecules first appeared in a dirty rain puddle or a vent at the bottom of the ocean is only a matter of size - it's still a puddle!
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 21/09/2013 12:55:37
So why did sentient life evolve at all?
Because it gives highly complex organisms an advantage; e.g., in cooperation, creative problem-solving, forward planning, etc.

Quote
Whether selfreplicating molecules first appeared in a dirty rain puddle or a vent at the bottom of the ocean is only a matter of size - it's still a puddle!
Puddle < ocean by definition; but yeah, whatever ;)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 21/09/2013 14:17:32
@ dlorde : your reductionist magical neo-Darwinian views spring to the face of common sense as obviously false:
Well there's your problem. Common sense can be a very poor guide to how the world works - as has been demonstrated repeatedly, and is one of the reasons critical thinking and the scientific method were developed with such success.

Quote
I do not understand in fact how can such a relatively intelligent guy such as yourself believe in that materialistic reductionist obvious non-sense :
I certainly don't expect you to agree with my position, but given that I've explained the reasons that I take the position I do, in some detail, several times on this forum, your failure to understand is telling - particularly when your counter arguments appear to be the argument from incredulity and the 'spiritual' argument of indescribable private subjective experience.

Quote
See this introduction to this interesting book of philosopher Thomas Nagel i have been reading
Surprisingly, he explicitly admits his view is based on a degree of ignorance and incredulity:
Quote from: Nagel
This is just the opinion of a layman who reads widely in the literature that explains contemporary science to the nonspecialist. Perhaps that literature presents the situation with a simplicity and confidence that does not reflect the most sophisticated scientific thought in these areas.
...
I would like to defend the untutored reaction of incredulity to the reductionist neo-Darwinian account of the origin and evolution of life.3 It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection.
I suspect that if he'd experimented with evolutionary simulators such as Tierra and it's ilk, and seen for himself the complexity and variation that can arise in simple replicators within a few hundred thousand generations; if he'd looked at the results from labs where single-celled organisms like yeasts and bacteria are gaining novel traits and even speciating in vitro, studied the number and types of speciations that have been observed in the wild, and taken some time to appreciate the significance of deep time and climate & ecosystem variation in evolution, he'd have less untutored incredulity and less difficulty with probability.

It is commendable that a philosopher admits those limitations at the outset, but less commendable that he fails to address them before expounding his opinion.

It's perfectly valid and acceptable to point to areas of uncertainty in our current knowledge, if you're familiar with those areas - he admits he isn't; and it's fine to provide plausible alternatives to mainstream hypotheses and theories - he doesn't.

If he wants to cast doubt on the current mainstream view of the origins and development of life, all he needs is to find a single item of contrary evidence, or plausible contradictory argument. When all's said and done, "I find that hard to believe" is not, of itself, an argument.

I suspect he's just found himself a philosophical doubter's niche he can use to advantage; critical of the mainstream, sympathetic to, yet unsupportive of, theist & irrational alternatives. Sitting high on this intellectual fence, perhaps he feels he can attract more attention - because he must know there is no significant or substantive content to his exposition.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 19:12:48
@ dlorde : your reductionist magical neo-Darwinian views spring to the face of common sense as obviously false:
Well there's your problem. Common sense can be a very poor guide to how the world works - as has been demonstrated repeatedly, and is one of the reasons critical thinking and the scientific method were developed with such success.

Wao, your denials ,blindness ...are staggering : even though common sense is not always reliable, it is in this case ,in the sense that reductionism makes no sense whatsoever , the more when we see it as just an ideology in science ,you seem not yet to be able to differentiate from science proper .
Worse : reductionism in science interprets scientific results or empirical evidence and scientific experiments , scientific approaches its own reductionist way that has nothing to do with science ,obviously, but it has more to do with reductionistic naturalism as an ideology :
Why didn't you try to address that core point of Nagel, instead of circling around it , you're just  addressing the other more or less minor issues of Nagel's analysis = very predictable indeed : you either ignore the core issues related to magical ideological reductionism in science , or you just resort to denigrating or at least questioning your opponents' intellect : did it ever occur to you that that reductionist world view is in fact even stupid, to say the least : you pretend to possess a higher intellect than your opponents via all that fancy talk , while you do believe in the most stupid world view ever ,in the history of mankind : reductionist magical materialistic naturalist neo-Darwinian world view ,the latter as just a reductionist ideological interpretation of the empirical evidence ...
I read extensively concerning the general lines ,specualtions, hypotheises ...of reductionism in science , i think i can say i understand most of  that , relatively speaking then , as i understand your magical "emergence " tricks and their implications + their intrinsic paradoxes you do not even see yourself,to say just that  : you just continue to confuse your reductionistic naturalist religion with science proper .

Quote
Quote
I do not understand in fact how can such a relatively intelligent guy such as yourself believe in that materialistic reductionist obvious non-sense .
I certainly don't expect you to agree with my position, but given that I've explained the reasons that I take the position I do, in some detail, several times on this forum, your failure to understand is telling - particularly when your counter arguments appear to be the argument from incredulity and the 'spiritual' argument of indescribable private subjective experience.

See above :

You're confusing isues here with each other :
You did present no evidence or arguments that might support your magical claims , you just presented the mainstream ideological reductionist naturalist neo-darwinian interpretations of some empirical evidence , see the difference ? = I think you cannot , simply because you do confuse science with the reductionist  naturalist  ideology to the point where you equate between them .
So, do not change the subject or project it on your opponents , simply because the burden of proof must be addresserd by you and by the mainstream reductionist naturalism in science ,that pretends to be scientific .

Quote
Quote
See this introduction to this interesting book of philosopher Thomas Nagel i have been reading
Surprisingly, he explicitly admits his view is based on a degree of ignorance and incredulity
[/quote]

Are you using his integrity and honesty as arguments against him ?
Who can say that anyone for that matter  knows everything concerning all sciences ,let alone that one  can know all that  ? You're no exception to that rule.

Quote from: Nagel
This is just the opinion of a layman who reads widely in the literature that explains contemporary science to the nonspecialist. Perhaps that literature presents the situation with a simplicity and confidence that does not reflect the most sophisticated scientific thought in these areas.
...
I would like to defend the untutored reaction of incredulity to the reductionist neo-Darwinian account of the origin and evolution of life.3 It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents tofrom labs where single-celled organisms like yeasts and bacteria are gaining novel traits and even speciating in vitro, studied the number and types of speciations that have been observed in the wild, and taken some time to appreciate the significance of deep time and climate & ecosystem variation in evolution, he'd have less untutored incredulity and less difficulty with probability.
[/quote]

Despite your fancy talk, you are no better than he is , in the sense that you are just reflecting the opinions or interpretations of the empirical evidence by the mainstream reductionists : he's in fact in a better position than you could ever be , simply because he dares to utter his own radical bold anti-mainstream opinions,while you are just repeating those of mainstream reductionism in science : see the difference ?
Incredulity regarding the incredible unbelievable unrealistic obvious ideological reductionist naturalist non-sense in science regarding the very nature of the universe , life , evolution, man ....can be a valid argument : you do not remember saying on this thread yourself that any claims  without evidence should be dismissed without evidence , didn't you ?
I just add to that that abscence of evidence is not always evidence of abscence .
In the case of reductionist naturalism in science : i dare to say that it is certainly a false ideology , simply because the obvious abscence of evidence regarding the extraordinary unbelievable incredible obvious phony claims of reductionist naturalist world view is evidence of abscence .

Quote
It is commendable that a philosopher admits those limitations at the outset, but less commendable that he fails to address them before expounding his opinion. gether with the mechanism of natural selection.
Quote
I suspect that if he'd experimented with evolutionary simulators such as Tierra and it's ilk, and seen for himself the complexity and variation that can arise in simple replicators within a few hundred thousand generations; if he'd looked at the results
[/quote]

The scientific results , empirical evidence can be interpreted via a million ways ,sometimes ..cannot even exclude the fact that there is a higher power behind all of the universe processes and their origins as well  ...for example .
You might argue that some would say that Saint Claus might be behind all those processes as well haha , but that's a lesser serious "argument " : there might be some so-called morphic underlying fields as well underneath those universal processes , who knows ...

So, why  should one  try to reduce everything to just matter and material processes,as reductionist naturalists do indeed in  fact =  certainly without any evidence supporting that magical claim either as well ?
You tell me ..

Quote
It's perfectly valid and acceptable to point to areas of uncertainty in our current knowledge, if you're familiar with those areas - he admits he isn't; and it's fine to provide plausible alternatives to mainstream hypotheses and theories - he doesn't.

He points to more interesting facts : such as the fact that science or our human knowledge or epistemology in general have limits: we cannot know "everything " there is to know , no matter how those lunatics reductionists would try to come up with some so-called theory of everything no one can deliver ,per definition,  not yesterday, not today and not tomorrow or beyond.
Besides, he said also that reductionism in science has really no viable concurrents today ,in the sense that there is no non-materialist world view out there that can pretend to be scientific as that phony reductionist naturalistic ideology in science pretends to be at least ,and that should be no reason to assume that reductionism is true ,is there ?.
His study was comparative , he talked about the disease and its sympthoms as well, while expressing the wish that humanity might be able, in the future , to adopt non-reductionist views, but he fears  that the potential latter might turn out to be as invalid as reductionism today is ...The human will or rather urge  to believe is indeed staggering .

Quote
If he wants to cast doubt on the current mainstream view of the origins and development of life, all he needs is to find a single item of contrary evidence, or plausible contradictory argument. When all's said and done, "I find that hard to believe" is not, of itself, an argument.

Oh, man , the mainstream approach of the origin of life is so full of specualations and unbelievable fairytales that they  can be hardly taken as ...'evidence ", not even remotely close ,come on , be serious .
Even evolution itself is dominated by the mainstream reductionist interpretations of evolution, despite all the evidence regarding evolution : see how reductionist fanatic neo-darwinism of fanatic scientists such as Dawkins and co has been doing to evolution , by interpreting it its  own ideological ways , in order to make the data fit into their ideology ,or in order to  twist  the empirical evidence to the point where it can be squeezed into the reductionist key hole view of life ...as you certainly do as well .

Quote
I suspect he's just found himself a philosophical doubter's niche he can use to advantage; critical of the mainstream, sympathetic to, yet unsupportive of, theist & irrational alternatives. Sitting high on this intellectual fence, perhaps he feels he can attract more attention - because he must know there is no significant or substantive content to his exposition.

Maybe , but he makes sense : we shouldn't try to judge his possible probable intentions, motives ...we cannot know ,come on, we should address just what he says .
You were just being predictably selective in doing just the latter , by ignoring the obvious ideological nature of reductionist naturalism through its neo-darwinism extension you cannot but confuse with science or with the empirical evidence ...

Hopeless discussion .
It's almost impossible to make any believer for that matter see , recognize or acknowledge the obvious holes and paradoxes, bullshit , of his /her own belief , you are no exception to that rule ,neithet am i : the human urge , i would say , to believe is unbelievably puzzling .
When are you gonna realise the fact , if ever , that reductionist naturalism has already reached a dead-end street it cannot find any  way to avoid  ,dude ?
Well, maybe only when man will be able to replace it by a more or less valid world view, i guess, not earlier : why should you wait for just that to happen ? Why don't you use your so-called critical thinking , the scientific method itself , and your bombastic alleged higher intellect to do just that ,during your own lifetime ?,especially when we might consider the possible probable fact that that potential future or futuristic more or less valid non-reductionist world view that might replace that bankrupt false reductionism in science , might be applied when you will be dead :
You would take your reductionist lie to the grave with you , as a result , without ever realising that fact before just that ...
The only comfort or consolation that i can give you is that you will , as we all will also for that matter , know THE Truth with a big T , only after death =that only Certainty out there , in that double sense then .

Good luck indeed .

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 19:52:53
On meditation you won't find a much better book than "The Which Guide to Meditation". It's about 20 years old now but gives a great explanation of the "relaxation response". It is amazing. For many years I slept 4 hours per night, was never tired, and meditated - simple counting breaths until I hit the RR - for 30 minutes each morning and evening. I don't hit the relaxation response very often these days but, when I do, there is still a euphoric feeling when I return from the "poised awareness" state of the relaxation response to normal awareness. I do not know why there is a feeling of euphoria but I think the chances of it being a naturally evolved "reward" to a useful survival trait are good - it is, in some ways, like an orgasm. Mankinds tendency to assign spiritual significance to euphoria provides alternative causes.

DonQuihotte, you asked:
"Can you prove any of these romantic Cinderella stories of yours ?
What , on earth , are you talking about ?..........."

OK. To the first, no I can't - it's pure speculation, a possible explanation. The elements of this speculation - self esteem, conscience, intelligence - are observable as is Evolution. I just put 2 and 2 together and came up with 4, or near enough that I don't "need" any other explanation. Not to say that there isn't one and I'm all ears.

To the second, didn't I just ask you that? There is a reason why we say "the conscious mind". There are things going on in the mind that we are not "conscious" of. The question posed by this conversation asks what is consciousness? I just want to clarify what you mean by consciousness

But you're absolutely right, I am a newbie and, yes, I skimmed over a lot of entries; I'll go back and take a look.

In response to cheryl j, I would not define sentience like this; sensing the outside world and reacting to it is either instinct or consciousness. I would describe sentience as the ability to react, or choose to react, to stimuli in a way not conducive to survival - we don't need to know why stars explode yet we expend resources trying to find out. Such a behaviour change requires a lot more memory and reasoning ability simply because it offers such an expanded scope for choice - a bug can eat, sleep or reproduce, I can do all that or listen to some Led Zeppelin or do the washing up - no contest. Why would we want to do this and what sort of control mechanisms would be required for such a dangerous development in mental ability might be a good subject for another thread but I've referred to my own views regarding drives and reward mechanisms in a previous post. Sorry, but I think "conscious awareness" is just a symptom of sentience.

Thank you dlorde, that makes things clear, I think; The universe appears to function like a conveyor belt because it must, over time, function like a conveyor belt.

Had a glance at Nagel; I agree with some of what he has to say. However, I have a problem with people who won't see what they don't want to. His denigration of "speculative Darwinian explanation" is almost fanatical. I don't believe that science has all the answers either, but I accept the possibility that it may only be a matter of time. I also accept the possibility that science will never have all the answers because there is a supernatural element involved. It's a case of I'll go back 2 million years and show you that my ancestor was an ape just as soon as you show me God.

Try to organize your post , please , so, we can address it .Thanks .
See what i said here above to our magical friend here dlorde on the subject :

You also happen to confuse,as all our other magical friends here also do by the way , you confuse that magical false reductionist naturalism as a world view or ideology in science , with science proper , while not being able, of course and obviously , to prove any of your magical reductionist claims on the subject as well .so .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 21/09/2013 21:02:21
The reductionist naturalist materialist neo-Darwinian world view or ideology in science , has been crippling objectiviy in science :
Congratulations, folks .
Way to go ...
We do really need a revolutionary shift of meta-paradigm in science , together with a revolutionary holistic approach of ...human consciousness, if we wanna ever be able to really know anything relatively objective regarding the secrets and mysteries surrounding the latter hard problem in science = human consciousness ...
Human consciousness as being in fact THE Key to trying to understand ourselves and the universe , to say just that ............
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 21/09/2013 21:51:21
Quote from: DonQuichotte link=topic=48746.msg418872#msg418872


I can understand that you would disagree with him, but why "torture yourself " by reading him,  or was that just sarcasm  ...



Well, I was joking, in a way. I read things written by people even when I suspect I won't agree with them because it might change my views, or modify them. And because it seems to provoke more creative or clearer thinking than reading someone who just confirms what I already knew or believed.

I honestly don’t understand why you accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with you of “magical” thinking. History overwhelming contradicts your assertion  that  scientific materialism in any way appeals to or relies on   “magical” processes. Innumerable natural phenomena once attributed to acts of Gods or angry spirits have been explained, from lightening to plagues, the changing seasons, the rising of the sun, birth defects, earthquakes, comets...or do you question the magical materialist explanation of those as well? Dlorde made the comment earlier: “Everything else we know about the universe exists and functions within the laws of physics, and as has been said here repeatedly, there's no good reason to make an exception for consciousness, and all the evidence suggests that it isn't an exception.” So why do you think human consciousness is a special exception?

Utility does not prove validity, but mysticism certainly has a dismal track record. You can’t wire a house or build computers or launch rockets with mysticism, you can’t understand photosynthesis or how the kidney works with mysticism, you can’t figure out the age of fossils with mysticism.  ( I honestly don’t know what else to call the immaterial forces or processes you believe are responsible for consciousness, since you won’t identify them either. I’m sorry if mysticism is the wrong word, but it’s the definition that seems to apply.  “Mysticism: Mysticism is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism:the belief that direct knowledge of ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience such as intuition or insight ”)

This is what I think: In the end, even if it turns out there is some  mystical component of consciousness that I cannot test, identify, or understand, I suspect that I  will still know a lot more interesting and useful things about the mind/ brain, and people through materialistic science than you will through mysticism. What's more, these facts or theories can be shared, and are easily verifiable to other people, and their understanding does not depend on any special, subjective state of mystical insight in myself or them.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 22/09/2013 06:56:44
We do really need a revolutionary shift of meta-paradigm in science

I gave up on Thomas Kuhn when I came across a page of his work that used the word "paradigm" over 20 times, with apparently a different meaning each time. I thought that was the ultimate in oforgawdsake lexicolalia until I saw this! 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 22/09/2013 13:56:11
Unfortunately, DonQuichotte, I have limited time at the weekend and, since several interesting points had been made, I judged the intellect of the members on this forum as sufficient to let me address several points in a single post. Obviously this assumption was an error.

Still, the few comments you did make would indicate that you gave my post a reasonable glance over, thank you. And your answer to dlorde was interesting too, just as Nagel is. Mind you, I would still appreciate an answer to what you mean by "consciousness".

As for reductionist naturalism, indeed my faith in Darwin is as unshakeable as my faith in God, I just look in different places for indications of the latter.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 22/09/2013 14:13:17
... reductionism in science interprets scientific results or empirical evidence and scientific experiments , scientific approaches its own reductionist way that has nothing to do with science ,obviously, but it has more to do with reductionistic naturalism as an ideology.
Why didn't you try to address that core point of Nagel, instead of circling around it , you're just  addressing the other more or less minor issues of Nagel's analysis = very predictable indeed
I addressed points of interest on Nagel's introduction that you posted. I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on that.

If, by 'that core point of Nagel', you are referring to your first convoluted sentence (quoted above), all it seems to say is that reductionism is a has a reductionist approach to, and interpretation of, science; and that you feel it's an ideology that has nothing to do with science. The first part is an obvious tautology; the second, an unsupported assertion of opinion. It seems to me that reductionism is the basis of a number of areas of science, particularly the physical and biological sciences, but it is clearly not the be-all and end-all of science; for example: emergence, holism (e.g. of complex assemblies, ecosystems, etc.), top-down control, feedback loops, etc.

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you just resort to denigrating or at least questioning your opponents' intellect
My opponents? who are my 'opponents'?

Care to quote an example of me denigrating or questioning someone's intellect? (or are you just miffed that I called you on your claim of telepathic powers and the mysterious 'other things as well'?)

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you pretend to possess a higher intellect than your opponents via all that fancy talk
Opponents again?
Articulacy is not a pretence to higher intellect; you seem to have a chip on your shoulder about this. I'm interested in the arguments people present, not their intellect, IQ, or qualifications.

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while you do believe in the most stupid world view ever ,in the history of mankind : reductionist magical materialistic naturalist neo-Darwinian world view ,the latter as just a reductionist ideological interpretation of the empirical evidence ...
You seem determined to force those who differ from your non-materialist view of science into a reductionist idealogue pidgeon-hole. Who was it said, "To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail"?  If you put the hammer down for a moment, you might discover that some of us have already made clear that the reductionist approach is just part (although an important part) of the story.

Distorting someone's view then criticising it for that distortion is fallacious (the 'Straw Man' type of 'Red Herring' informal fallacy (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/strawman.html)).

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See this introduction to this interesting book of philosopher Thomas Nagel i have been reading
Surprisingly, he explicitly admits his view is based on a degree of ignorance and incredulity
Are you using his integrity and honesty as arguments against him ?
Evidently not:
Quote from: dlorde
It is commendable that a philosopher admits those limitations at the outset...

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Who can say that anyone for that matter  knows everything concerning all sciences ,let alone that one  can know all that  ? You're no exception to that rule.
Quite true; one can only hope to be reasonably well-informed.

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Despite your fancy talk, you are no better than he is , in the sense that you are just reflecting the opinions or interpretations of the empirical evidence by the mainstream reductionists : he's in fact in a better position than you could ever be , simply because he dares to utter his own radical bold anti-mainstream opinions,while you are just repeating those of mainstream reductionism in science : see the difference ?
Again, articulacy doesn't imply intellectual or moral superiority. Equally, uttering radical, bold anti-mainstream opinions is not necessarily 'better' than holding opinions close to the mainstream. It is the quality of the arguments underlying those opinions that matters. See the difference? ;)

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Incredulity regarding the incredible unbelievable unrealistic obvious ideological reductionist naturalist non-sense in science regarding the very nature of the universe , life , evolution, man ....can be a valid argument...
Incredulity isn't a valid argument, it's a state of mind. An argument is an attempt to persuade someone of something, by giving reasons for accepting a particular conclusion as evident.

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So, why  should one  try to reduce everything to just matter and material processes,as reductionist naturalists do indeed...
You tell me ..
A reductionist approach is generally taken because it has been found to be very effective. The objective is not reduction, but explanation and understanding. There are also situations where alternative approaches are more productive.

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Besides, he said also that reductionism in science has really no viable concurrents today ,in the sense that there is no non-materialist world view out there that can pretend to be scientific as that phony reductionist naturalistic ideology in science pretends to be at least ,and that should be no reason to assume that reductionism is true ,is there ?.
Sorry Don, I can't make any sense of that. What are 'viable concurrents'? I agree there appear to be no non-materialist world views that can pretend to be scientific, but what has that to do with whether reductionism is 'true'?

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Hopeless discussion .
Probably.

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When are you gonna realise the fact , if ever , that reductionist naturalism has already reached a dead-end street it cannot find any  way to avoid  ,dude ?
Reductionist naturalism is still producing useful discoveries and knowledge; I don't see that ending any time soon. There are plenty of other approaches to tackle those areas where reductionism is unproductive. I'm wondering whether you've been ranting for so long against this straw-bogeyman reductionist idealogue movement you've invented, that you're beginning to believe it really exists...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 22/09/2013 14:22:13
Try to organize your post , please , so, we can address it .Thanks .
My irony meter just exploded :)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 22/09/2013 14:24:45
... Utility does not prove validity, but mysticism certainly has a dismal track record. You can’t wire a house or build computers or launch rockets with mysticism, you can’t understand photosynthesis or how the kidney works with mysticism, you can’t figure out the age of fossils with mysticism.  ( I honestly don’t know what else to call the immaterial forces or processes you believe are responsible for consciousness, since you won’t identify them either. I’m sorry if mysticism is the wrong word, but it’s the definition that seems to apply.  “Mysticism: Mysticism is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism:the belief that direct knowledge of ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience such as intuition or insight ”)

This is what I think: In the end, even if it turns out there is some  mystical component of consciousness that I cannot test, identify, or understand, I suspect that I  will still know a lot more interesting and useful things about the mind/ brain, and people through materialistic science than you will through mysticism. What's more, these facts or theories can be shared, and are easily verifiable to other people, and their understanding does not depend on any special, subjective state of mystical insight in myself or them.
This ^
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 22/09/2013 16:58:00
Unfortunately, DonQuichotte, I have limited time at the weekend and, since several interesting points had been made, I judged the intellect of the members on this forum as sufficient to let me address several points in a single post. Obviously this assumption was an error.

Well, you cannot expect people to react to that unorganized post of yours i read : that has nothing to do with the intellect of any potential reader of your post : it was just a matter of organization your post obviously lacked : you can quote the people you wanna react to , as we all do .


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Still, the few comments you did make would indicate that you gave my post a reasonable glance over, thank you. And your answer to dlorde was interesting too, just as Nagel is. Mind you, I would still appreciate an answer to what you mean by "consciousness".

I see human consciousness as the self , the soul, the spirit ...as an immaterial process that can ,obviously , not rise from  unconscious matter : that materialist reductionist neo-Darwinian magical "emergency " trick  is just a fantasy that can explain nothing : one cannot explain B as consciousness  by just assuming that it rises ,via some magic , from A as the brain : that's no explanation, just a presumed causation , presumed causation  is no explanation thus , not to mention the fact that there is only what we can call some sort of a mutual interaction or mutual correlation between brain and consciousness , materialists do deliberately confuse with causation, in order to make the data fit into their materialist key hole world view  .
How brain and consciousness interact with each other ? I dunno : beat me .

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As for reductionist naturalism, indeed my faith in Darwin is as unshakeable as my faith in God, I just look in different places for indications of the latter.

Reductionist naturalism and faith in God do certainly not go with each other = they are mutually exclusive .
Second: the materialist reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian version of evolution should not be confused with the real evolution .
Furthermore,If evolution is exclusively physical or biological, then it cannot answer or account for the hard problem of consciousness in science ,not in a million years :
See Nagel's "Mind and Cosmos ..." interesting book on the subject  .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 22/09/2013 17:05:31
Try to organize your post , please , so, we can address it .Thanks .
My irony meter just exploded :)

Haha : touche .
Well, i was just referring to the fact that he should quote the specific statements of people he wanna react to : that would make it easier for us all to react to his posts that way .

Besides, to try to tackle the multiple issues raised by consciousness in this thread , does require a lots of time i can hardly afford ;that's why i react so quickly to the posts i quote + English is no first language of mine ...
Try me in French, Dutch or in Arabic ...haha
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 22/09/2013 17:47:20
I must be very lucky! Not only have a couple of people been able to dig their way through my lack of organisation but you answered my question. My thanks for your perseverance.
As soon as I get an answer from administration I promise to use cut and paste for quotes; please bear with me for a while.

You and I have somewhat different definitions of consciousness. You are clearly more eloquent than a bat so I ask you, what does it feel like to be conscious of your soul?

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"Reductionist naturalism and faith in God do certainly not go with each other = they are mutually exclusive ."

On the contrary, reductionist naturalism is new and a lot of "phenomena" have yet to emerge. I would not be at all surprised if it led us to a better understanding of God - what God is and what God isn't - over time, assuming that some otherwise inexplicable phenomena arise.
Maybe they have - the timing of social breakthroughs attributed to prophets is a particular interest of mine - but there are no answers to the origin of consciousness here, not by any definition that I know anyway.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 22/09/2013 18:38:20
... reductionism in science interprets scientific results or empirical evidence and scientific experiments , scientific approaches its own reductionist way that has nothing to do with science ,obviously, but it has more to do with reductionistic naturalism as an ideology.
Why didn't you try to address that core point of Nagel, instead of circling around it , you're just  addressing the other more or less minor issues of Nagel's analysis = very predictable indeed
I addressed points of interest on Nagel's introduction that you posted. I haven't read the book, so I can't comment on that.

I haven't read the whole book yet either : i recommend strongly though that you try to read it : i would be interested in your potential comments regarding that book afterwards , to see if Nagel would make some effect on you ,via his interesting analysis : that book would help you understand most of what i was saying all along, much better than i can ever do .
Besides, you haven't addressed the core issue of that introduction i posted = the fact that reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinism in science , is a bankrupt false impotent  ideology that should be rejected .

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If, by 'that core point of Nagel', you are referring to your first convoluted sentence (quoted above), all it seems to say is that reductionism is a has a reductionist approach to, and interpretation of, science; and that you feel it's an ideology that has nothing to do with science. The first part is an obvious tautology; the second, an unsupported assertion of opinion. It seems to me that reductionism is the basis of a number of areas of science, particularly the physical and biological sciences, but it is clearly not the be-all and end-all of science; for example: emergence, holism (e.g. of complex assemblies, ecosystems, etc.), top-down control, feedback loops, etc.


The core poit was in fact : that reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is false : a false view of the world that should be rejected by all sciences for that matter , simply because it  cannot explain the universe , just via matter and material or physical processes : the major anomaly that debunks naturalism is the hard problem of consciousness in science : see that book of Nagel on the subject .

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you just resort to denigrating or at least questioning your opponents' intellect
'?
My opponents? who are my 'opponents?

Whoever might disagree with your axiomatic irrational magical reductionist naturalist belief or religion in science , you do confuse with science proper .

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Care to quote an example of me denigrating or questioning someone's intellect? (or are you just miffed that I called you on your claim of telepathic powers and the mysterious 'other things as well'?)

Never mind , we're not gonna get stuck in this side irrelevant issue .

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you pretend to possess a higher intellect than your opponents via all that fancy talk
Opponents again?
Articulacy is not a pretence to higher intellect; you seem to have a chip on your shoulder about this. I'm interested in the arguments people present, not their intellect, IQ, or qualifications.

Well, there we are again : let's get it over with once and for all then ,shall we ? You said earlier , for example ,to mention just that , that my presumed failure to understand your emergence magical assertions (any idiot can in fact understand that "emergence " magical trick  , that's not really a difficult magic to understand ,even though it's a materialist false assumption ) ...is the issue here , not those naturalist reductionist magical false interpretations of   science and science results: you did not say that this way at least , this is just my own expression  or interpretation of what you said, since you do seem to be oversensitive regarding the misquotations of your words .

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while you do believe in the most stupid world view ever ,in the history of mankind : reductionist magical materialistic naturalist neo-Darwinian world view ,the latter as just a reductionist ideological interpretation of the empirical evidence
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...
You seem determined to force those who differ from your non-materialist view of science into a reductionist idealogue pidgeon-hole. Who was it said, "To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail"?  If you put the hammer down for a moment, you might discover that some of us have already made clear that the reductionist approach is just part (although an important part) of the story.

I saw none but reductionist naturalist views from you  so far , but i might be mistaken indeed , since i do not have time enough to investigate all your sayings thoroughly this way at least  .

But ,the core issue here is that reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian dominance in science , that magical reductionist "emergence " trick is an extension of .
What non-reductionist views do you have then,on the subject  ?


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Distorting someone's view then criticising it for that distortion is fallacious (the 'Straw Man' type of 'Red Herring' informal fallacy (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/strawman.html)).

I am not aware of any distortions of your views ,it is perfectly possible thought that i might have done so , if there were some , do tell me about them .

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See this introduction to this interesting book of philosopher Thomas Nagel i have been reading
Surprisingly, he explicitly admits his view is based on a degree of ignorance and incredulity
Are you using his integrity and honesty as arguments against him ?
Evidently not:
Quote from: dlorde
It is commendable that a philosopher admits those limitations at the outset...
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Who can say that anyone for that matter  knows everything concerning all sciences ,let alone that one  can know all that  ? You're no exception to that rule.
Quite true; one can only hope to be reasonably well-informed.

It is a must indeed that any thinker , scientist ....must admit his/her  limitations= a matter of honesty and integrity  ,not to mention the fact that even science itself, our human knowledge in general ,our logic , reason,common sense ...our human epistemology for that matter ...do have limits , in the sense that we certainly cannot know all there is to know out there , despite those silly attempts of reductionists to try to come up with some sort of magical theory of everything ...no one for that matter can deliver , per definition,no way  .
(I , personally ,do think that God Himself is "the theory of everything" or THE Truth with a big T ,THE source of knowledge ,beauty, love , justice, goodness , ethics ... ,but that's no scientific statement of course  )

Read that Nagel's book , and then tell me whether  you think he is  reasonably well-informed or not .

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Despite your fancy talk, you are no better than he is , in the sense that you are just reflecting the opinions or interpretations of the empirical evidence by the mainstream reductionists : he's in fact in a better position than you could ever be , simply because he dares to utter his own radical bold anti-mainstream opinions,while you are just repeating those of mainstream reductionism in science : see the difference ?
Again, articulacy doesn't imply intellectual or moral superiority. Equally, uttering radical, bold anti-mainstream opinions is not necessarily 'better' than holding opinions close to the mainstream. It is the quality of the arguments underlying those opinions that matters. See the difference? ;)

It is the quality of the arguments indeed that matters ,but you have already judged Nagel before reading that book of his , remember , and you used his integrity and honesty regarding his perfectly normal and logical relative ignorance on the subject he happened to have admitted as anyone should do in that regard ,you used that as "arguments" against him ,ironically enough .
Worse : you even explicitly uttered the  accusation that Nagel might be just looking for fame , for followers ...
Your selective amnesia is staggering .

Second, you contradict yourself in this regard , since you , personally , happen to believe in a ,sorry , stupid irrational unproved conception of nature or the universe = the naturalist reductionist world view ,while attacking people that might disagree with you , via accusing them of ignorance, incredulity , ...

Never mind , just read that book , because this silly side talk about allegedly denigrating one's intellect  is irrelevant .

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Incredulity regarding the incredible unbelievable unrealistic obvious ideological reductionist naturalist non-sense in science regarding the very nature of the universe , life , evolution, man ....can be a valid argument...
Incredulity isn't a valid argument, it's a state of mind. An argument is an attempt to persuade someone of something, by giving reasons for accepting a particular conclusion as evident
.

Exactly : read the man before judging him or his assertions then .
Do you remember ,by the way, saying that any claims without evidence should be dismissed without evidence ? : the naturalist reductionist neo-Darwinian conception of nature or the universe is just that : a world view without any evidence whatsoever to support it ,that's why i dismiss it without any evidence .

Why do you believe in it without evidence then ? The burden of proof is yours to address and eventually deliver , don't you think ? : see the difference ?  haha


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So, why  should one  try to reduce everything to just matter and material processes,as reductionist naturalists do indeed...
You tell me ..
A reductionist approach is generally taken because it has been found to be very effective. The objective is not reduction, but explanation and understanding. There are also situations where alternative approaches are more productive.

That's exactly what i was talking about all along = that reductionist ideological  approach in science cannot explain the universe , not just via its materialist approach ,no way : see Nagel's book on the subject ,once again : he would explain just that to you , much better than i can ever do : even evolution itself cannot be exclusively physical or biological, otherwise it certainly cannot explain consciousness ...that was one of the reasons why i did open that thread concerning the presumed exclusive biological nature of evolution ...that cannot account for the existence of  consciousness in any living organism out there for that matter , or for the existence of the human thought process, feelings , emotions , love , ethics , currents of thought , cultures , religions ...it gets extended to materialistically  ,for obvious materialist reasons
But, nobody seemed to get the point back then, that's why i left that thread about evolution  .
Reductionist naturalist materialism cannot explain life ,for example,let alone consciousness in any living organism for that matter , not only in man ,  not via just material processes ,no way : otherwise , just explain to me how life emerged , so to speak , from organic matter , or how inorganic matter gave rise to the organic one ...
I am well aware of all those materialist speculations and unbelievable fairy tales regarding the origins of life .....in science .

All sciences must in fact reject that materialist reductionism ,simply because it is intenable, even at the level of matter itself ..
You do confuse that reductionist ideological approach with the effectiveness of the scientific method or with science = all those huge great achievements of science during at least the last 5 centuries.were the direct results of the unparalleled effectiveness of the scientific method or science ,materialism had / has nothing  to do with , materialism that's been hijacking science since , for obvious ideological "reasons " ,by trying to make the empirical evidence fit into that materialist reductionist key hole world view , in vain , in order to "validate " itself in the process, without ever being able to do just the latter ,for obvious reasons that had / have to do with the very false nature of reductionism as a false ideology itself.

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Besides, he said also that reductionism in science has really no viable concurrents today ,in the sense that there is no non-materialist world view out there that can pretend to be scientific as that phony reductionist naturalistic ideology in science pretends to be at least ,and that should be no reason to assume that reductionism is true ,is there ?.
Sorry Don, I can't make any sense of that. What are 'viable concurrents'? I agree there appear to be no non-materialist world views that can pretend to be scientific, but what has that to do with whether reductionism is 'true'?

Reductionism pretends to be scientific ,right ? ,in order to validate itself , as i explained above = the non-reductionist world views out there cannot claim to be scientific and therefore "validate " themselves , as reductionism tries to do at least :
Result ? Most people think reductionism is true , just because reductionism makes them believe it is scientific ...
Science is the most effective unparralleled tool to deliver any valid knowledge for that matter , so, most people genuinely trust it , and rightly so , to understand the universe and ourselves .
But when science is dominated by that false reductionist materialist naturalist neo-Darwinian ideology ,as it is actually the case , that cannot explain life , consciousness, the universe ...,not via just material processes,  an ideology most people do confuse with science , an ideology which cripples the ability of science to help us understand ourselves and the universe , then , it's pretty logical to try to look for non-reductionist paradigms or for non-reductionist meta-paradigms in science , in order to refine science in its  path to explain the universe to us .

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Hopeless discussion .
Probably.

We do not listen to each other , and every one is digging in , without trying to question one's views or interpretations of science or of the empirical evidence , so, that might result in a counter-productive hopeless discussion , logically .

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When are you gonna realise the fact , if ever , that reductionist naturalism has already reached a dead-end street it cannot find any  way to avoid  ,dude ?
Reductionist naturalism is still producing useful discoveries and knowledge; I don't see that ending any time soon. There are plenty of other approaches to tackle those areas where reductionism is unproductive. I'm wondering whether you've been ranting for so long against this straw-bogeyman reductionist idealogue movement you've invented, that you're beginning to believe it really exists...

Thanks, this is exactly what i meant by : hopeless discussion : you do even deny the very real existence of the problematic  reductionist dominating ideology in science that had/has nothing to do with all those "miracles " achieved by science during the last 5 centuries at least : see that book of Nagel on the subject : he might be delusional as well regarding the real existence of reductionism in science as a false unproved  untrue promissory messianic religion that's been dominating and hijacking science , for ideological "reasons", during all those centuries up to this present date . 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 22/09/2013 19:47:25
I must be very lucky! Not only have a couple of people been able to dig their way through my lack of organisation but you answered my question. My thanks for your perseverance.

Thanks, you're welcome, don't mention it .
You're such a sweet polite guy that i would have fallen in love with you, if only i was  gay  haha , which i am not,thank God ,God forbids haha  .

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As soon as I get an answer from administration I promise to use cut and paste for quotes; please bear with me for a while.

Ok, no problem : what seems to be the problem that needs attention from administration  ?
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You and I have somewhat different definitions of consciousness.

Pretty normal fact  : what's your own definition of consciousness then ?

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You are clearly more eloquent than a bat

Thanks, really ? How ?

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so I ask you ,what does it feel like to be conscious of your soul?

It feels just like me being conscious of my soul or rather of myself ,whatever the latter might be ,  as you put it at least= a subjective unique -to-me experience , as a human being .

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"Reductionist naturalism and faith in God do certainly not go with each other = they are mutually exclusive ."

On the contrary, reductionist naturalism is new and a lot of "phenomena" have yet to emerge
.

There is nothing new about reductionist naturalism in science : see that Nagel's book on the subject .

A lot of "phenomena " have yet to "emerge" from what or from where and how ? What "phenomena " exactly ? How do you know just that ? Is that a fact ? Can you predict the future ? 
Are you referring to 'emergent phenomena " like consciousness "was /is " , popping out suddenly from the biological physical evolutionary complexity of the brain, via some mysterious unexplained unexplicable magic ?
How can the unconscious matter ever give rise to such a totally different " thing " or rather process such as the immaterial consciousness ? Well, materialists just try to avoid that anomaly inescapable snare or lethal trap by reducing consciousness to just material or biological processes haha , an obviously false materialist ideological assumption they can never be able to "explain " ,per definition : they 're stuck in there as elsewhere : the last nails were already hemmed in in the coffin of that untrue materialistic deceptive scam ever in the history of mankind , whose already declared clinical death almost no one will ever regret or mourn = condolences though  .

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I would not be at all surprised if it led us to a better understanding of God - what God is and what God isn't - over time, assuming that some otherwise inexplicable phenomena arise.

Once again,reductionist naturalism and the concept of God are 2 mutually exclusive "things " : reductionist naturalism that assumes the universe to be just exclusively material or physical = God as a non -material "being or process or whatever   has no place in this reductionist world view " .
Reductionism cannot even explain life itself, consciousness itself ...let alone other potential future inexplicable -via-materialism phenomena that might arise  .

Reductionist materialist naturalist neo-Darwinism in science , as just a false untrue  ideology  in science ,the latter that has nothing to do with whatsoever (that reductionism in science just delivers its own ideological interpretation of evolution in fact , i might add , evolution might not be only physical biological , but might also be mental ..... ) has already been getting stuck in an inescapable unsolvable unavoidable- for- materialism dead-end street , it can neither escape from nor avoid .

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Maybe they have - the timing of social breakthroughs attributed to prophets is a particular interest of mine - but there are no answers to the origin of consciousness here, not by any definition that I know anyway.

I am also interested in similar ,but different prophecies .
I will unveil a secret to you ,not really a secret though,  i never revealed here to anyoneelse = i think that humans will never be able to figure out what the nature of human consciousness might be  , ever , not in this temporary life at least , simply because human consciousness or soul, spirit ...is beyond humans' reach : neither science , nor human reason, logic ...or any world view,religion... out there for that matter ,can tell you what the nature of human consciousness might be  , ...and simply because human consciousness is 1 of those "things " we cannot , per definition, know , not in this life at least .
Some religions might tell you Who happened to make  human consciousness come to exist ,but they can never tell you how , why , when ....
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 22/09/2013 20:29:22
We have been discussing different things. Consciousness, to me, is a subset of functions of the Mind. It includes handling senses, memories, intellect. However, there are many other areas of the mind, the sub-conscious is as good a name as any. You seem to mean the Mind in its entirety. Again, from my own personal viewpoint, I find a place in the Mind for God, I simply would not put it within the area of my "consciousness".

That being said, Minds have evolved and will continue to evolve. We will have ideas and develop proofs to things neither you nor I can imagine, and they will do it using tried-and-trusted methods that fit the facts. They are tools, and good ones. They are no more the only tool in the tool-box than religion is and it is a limitation to deny the usefulness of one or the other. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 22/09/2013 21:16:35
We have been discussing different things. Consciousness, to me, is a subset of functions of the Mind. It includes handling senses, memories, intellect. However, there are many other areas of the mind, the sub-conscious is as good a name as any. You seem to mean the Mind in its entirety. Again, from my own personal viewpoint, I find a place in the Mind for God, I simply would not put it within the area of my "consciousness".

That being said, Minds have evolved and will continue to evolve. We will have ideas and develop proofs to things neither you nor I can imagine, and they will do it using tried-and-trusted methods that fit the facts. They are tools, and good ones. They are no more the only tool in the tool-box than religion is and it is a limitation to deny the usefulness of one or the other. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

I see i did waste my time for nothing , unfortunately enough : thanks for just that .

What happened ? can't you handle ot rather deal with what i said ? that you just resorted to rhetorics, pleading , to that  promissory messianic materialism , to this psychological self-defense or retreat or denials ... as a result? .........Weird .

Just know that ideas are first opposed , then ridiculed , and only then accepted as such as obvious evidence afterwards : you, guys , do need to go through that process regarding the ideological nature of reductionism in science , the latter has nothing to do with : read that Nagel's book then , to figure all that out for yourself .

Good luck indeed .

I do mean the Mind in its entirety indeed when i say consciousness or soul , the "I'...the self ... .

Consciousness cannot be reduced to that definition of yours thus .

You are perfectly entiteld to your own opinions indeed .
Once again, just try not to confuse reductionism as an ideology in science with science proper : for example, the reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian version of evolution or reductionist ideological interpretation of evolution has not much to do with the scientific empirical evidence regarding evolution ...the scientific empirical evidence regarding evolution that gets interpreted or rather misinterpreted by reductionism in a way that makes it fit into materialism as an ideology , as Nagel said in that book of his you should really try to read .

I love science so much to the point that i would love to see science proper get rid of that reductionist ideology and reductionist meta-paradigm dominating in science that do cripple the ability of science to deliver intelligible explanations of the universe and ourselves .....

Our consciousness does evolve indeed, religions too by the way , as the universe is still expanding , as the creation of the universe is still an ongoing dynamic process as well .

There is indeed nothing more important to human growth , progress , evolution, development , self-development , enlightenment ....than to try to figure out at least some secrets concerning the mysteries surrounding human consciousness reductionism in science cannot , per definition, deliver , ever .
I also think that the next level of human evolution will be occuring at the level of human consciousness : see what quantum physicist Peter Russell has to say on the subject as well  :


http://keentalks.com/primacy-consciousness/



Just try to read that Nagel's book , and you will understand what i was saying about reductionism as an ideology in science , and much more ...

The universe , life ....are not exclusively material as reductionism wanna make you believe in ,and therefore there is no way for materialism in science to deliver anything scientific regarding the immaterial side of life , the immaterial side of reality ...regarding the immaterial consciousness ...

Do not listen to me then,just read that book : you, guys , have been so brainwashed and indoctrinated by materialism for so long now that you cannot but confuse it with science proper : i do not really blame you for that fact : you are just yet another victim of reductionism .

P.S.: Reductionism, per definition, excludes any "ideas " regarding the immaterial or supernatural, including the "idea " of God , once again : God is in fact no "idea " ,they just use the word idea of God , in order to suggest that it was created by man via man's evolved brain ...

See in this regard reductionism at work , see how the mainstream reductionism  in science misinterprets the empirical evidence regarding the functioning of the human brain, for example, in order to make it fit into the materialist  world view :

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/god-on-the-brain/

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/phantoms-in-the-brain/

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/mystical-brain/

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/michael-shermer-the-believing-brain/

Some scientists in those videos might tell you that those materialist interpretations of theirs regarding those scientific results do not debunk the "idea " of God (Science proper is not interested in or rather cannot prove-disprove the "idea " of God indeed ) , but they are just lying , simply because materialism , per definition, excludes any "idea " of the supernatural : do you see that subtle difference between what science says or rather can or cannot say on the subject of the supernatural or God , and what those hypocrit materialist scientists say, in total contrast with their own materialism on the same subject that excludes the supernatural  ? I think you are intelligent enough to grasp just that subtle difference .


Good luck with your own search and journey .


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 22/09/2013 21:40:56
Just for the record : for those who might misunderstand or misinterpret my core points and motives :

I am no so-called evangelic missionary on a presumed or alleged mission to "convert " anyone here or elsewhere .

 I do despise all kinds of missionaries in fact, either religious or secular, (Reductionism in science is just a form of a secular missionary religion in science , unfortunately enough , we should all condemn as such )  :

I just try to make you, folks , try to differentiate science proper from missionary reductionism as an ideology in science : that's all .
I am in fact against any ideology for that matter in science ...
I do love science so much that i cannot but try to detect ,reveal ,   debunk or condemn any ideology for that matter in ...science proper .

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 22/09/2013 22:42:55
"What happened ? can't you handle ot rather deal with what i said ? that you just resorted to rhetorics, pleading , to that  promissory messianic materialism , to this psychological self-defense or retreat or denials ... as a result? .........Weird ."
Weird?

"Consciousness cannot be reduced to that definition of yours thus."
There are plenty of books describing the "conscious" mind - the stuff that you are aware of - and the sub-conscious, like core value systems and self-esteem. Of course, the activation of the relaxation response during meditation is an act outside of consciousness. Your expansion of the definition of consciousness to include elements that are clearly part of the sub-conscious mind makes no sense. I'm afraid that I will have to stick by my, admittedly plagiarised, definition.

"Once again, just try not to confuse reductionism as an ideology in science with science proper"
It could well be that I have misunderstood. I understand reductionism to suggest that everything can be explained according to science and will be, eventually, as our abilities increase. Have I missed the point here? If so please excuse me.

I am sure you hold your own spiritual views as closely as I hold my own, and I am always happy to find somebody who believes in God, regardless of how they came to that belief. From my viewpoint, you are a fortunate man. It is not that I find you an evangelist "for God" rather than I find you evangelising "against" a philosophy that attempts to disprove God, a philosophy that says, "we do not need God, Science has it all". I find this an excellent basis for acquiring knowledge of the Universe and do not understand why anybody would object. However, I may, as stated, have misunderstood the meaning of reductionism.

(By now you may have realised that I don't know how to use the "quote" feature, which is why I contacted Admin. There doesn't seem to be any info in the "help" on this site or the forum software providers site. All I can see is a general "quote" button on each post but no details on how to use it. No doubt I'll have an answer next week. Thank you for your concern; I didn't want to burden anybody.)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 22/09/2013 23:11:20
.. you haven't addressed the core issue of that introduction i posted = the fact that reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinism in science , is a bankrupt false impotent  ideology that should be rejected .
OK; I don't agree that it's 'a bankrupt false impotent  ideology that should be rejected'.

Quote from: DonQuichotte
.. that reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is false : a false view of the world that should be rejected by all sciences for that matter , simply because it  cannot explain the universe , just via matter and material or physical processes : the major anomaly that debunks naturalism is the hard problem of consciousness in science : see that book of Nagel on the subject .
If you reject all methodologies that cannot explain everything, you'll end up with none and miss out on a lot -  unless you know of an approach that can explain the universe and consciousness?

Quote from: DonQuichotte
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Quote from: DonQuichotte
you just resort to denigrating or at least questioning your opponents' intellect

Care to quote an example of me denigrating or questioning someone's intellect?
Never mind , we're not gonna get stuck in this side irrelevant issue .
I thought not.

Quote from: DonQuichotte
You said earlier , for example ,to mention just that , that my presumed failure to understand your emergence magical assertions (any idiot can in fact understand that "emergence " magical trick  , that's not really a difficult magic to understand ,even though it's a materialist false assumption ) ...is the issue here , not those naturalist reductionist magical false interpretations of   science and science results: you did not say that this way at least , this is just my own expression  or interpretation of what you said, since you do seem to be oversensitive regarding the misquotations of your words .
No indeed, I didn't say that. I said your failure to understand my viewpoint, despite repeated explanations of it, is telling.
I think it's reasonable to object to being misquoted or misrepresented. 

Quote from: DonQuichotte
I saw none but reductionist naturalist views from you  so far , but i might be mistaken indeed , since i do not have time enough to investigate all your sayings thoroughly this way at least  .
Do you think the idea of emergence is reductionist? :)

Quote from: DonQuichotte
What non-reductionist views do you have then,on the subject  ?
I already said, there are other useful approaches. I listed  some examples. These  approaches are all tools for gaining knowledge; they are useful in appropriate contexts. They're not mutually exclusive. You seem to think they're like religious belief systems; they're not.

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I am not aware of any distortions of your views ,it is perfectly possible thought that i might have done so , if there were some , do tell me about them .
I already did; remember the man with a hammer?

Quote from: DonQuichotte
Read that Nagel's book , and then tell me whether  you think he is  reasonably well-informed or not .
He may well be; that doesn't make him right.

Quote from: DonQuichotte
... you have already judged Nagel before reading that book of his , remember , and you used his integrity and honesty regarding his perfectly normal and logical relative ignorance on the subject he happened to have admitted as anyone should do in that regard ,you used that as "arguments" against him ,ironically enough .
I've judged only the introduction you posted. I commended him for admitting his limitations, ironically enough.

Quote from: DonQuichotte
you even explicitly uttered the  accusation that Nagel might be just looking for fame , for followers ...
Your selective amnesia is staggering .
No, I said "perhaps he feels he can attract more attention". You made up the bit about fame and followers. Selective amnesia?

Quote from: DonQuichotte
Second, you contradict yourself in this regard , since you , personally , happen to believe in a ,sorry , stupid irrational unproved conception of nature or the universe = the naturalist reductionist world view ,while attacking people that might disagree with you , via accusing them of ignorance, incredulity , ...
I didn't have to make accusations of ignorance and incredulity - Nagel admitted them.

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... this silly side talk about allegedly denigrating one's intellect  is irrelevant .
Quite, so why bring it up?

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Incredulity  ....can be a valid argument.
Incredulity isn't a valid argument, it's a state of mind...
Exactly
Make up your mind - either incredulity is a valid argument or it isn't (hint: it isn't).

Quote from: DonQuichotte
read the man before judging him or his assertions then .
I did. You posted some of his assertions, I read them, then judged them. Simples.

Quote from: DonQuichotte
Do you remember ,by the way, saying that any claims without evidence should be dismissed without evidence ? : the naturalist reductionist neo-Darwinian conception of nature or the universe is just that : a world view without any evidence whatsoever to support it ,that's why i dismiss it without any evidence .
So do you dismiss the multiple lines of evidence for evolution by natural selection - or are you just unaware of them ?

Quote from: DonQuichotte
The burden of proof is yours to address and eventually deliver , don't you think ? : see the difference ?  haha
You have it backwards. The burden of proof lies with those wishing to overturn, contradict, or correct the established body of knowledge. See the difference?

Quote from: DonQuichotte
Reductionism pretends to be scientific ,right ?
Your question doesn't make sense to me. Reductionism is an approach commonly used in science.

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see that book of Nagel on the subject : he might be delusional as well regarding the real existence of reductionism in science as a false unproved  untrue promissory messianic religion that's been dominating and hijacking science , for ideological "reasons", during all those centuries up to this present date .
You said it, not me :)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 22/09/2013 23:33:02
It is not that I find you an evangelist "for God" rather than I find you evangelising "against" a philosophy that attempts to disprove God, a philosophy that says, "we do not need God, Science has it all".
It's not so much a philosophy that 'attempts to disprove God' (that's not possible), but one which ignores God as irrelevant. That probably annoys theists more than denying or attempting to disprove it ;)

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By now you may have realised that I don't know how to use the "quote" feature, which is why I contacted Admin. There doesn't seem to be any info in the "help" on this site or the forum software providers site. All I can see is a general "quote" button on each post but no details on how to use it.
If you click on the [ Quote] link at the top left of the post you want to quote, it will be inserted into your post between quote 'tags': [ quote] ...quoted text... [ /quote] tags (leave out the spaces inside the [] ). You can split up the quoted text into sections for individual response by inserting your own end-quote and start-quote tags. There is also a 'quote' icon button in the selection of editing buttons (next to the [#] button). Just ensure each start-quote tag has a matching end-quote tag and you'll be OK.



Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 23/09/2013 18:43:34
.. you haven't addressed the core issue of that introduction i posted = the fact that reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinism in science , is a bankrupt false impotent  ideology that should be rejected .
OK; I don't agree that it's 'a bankrupt false impotent  ideology that should be rejected'.

It should be rejected , simply because its reductionist exclusively physical or biological view of the universe is intenable : it cannot explain the emergence of life on earth from dead matter , it fails to explain the evolution of life via its exclusive physical or biological view of the world: it gives only an incomplete account of evolution  ,it fails to explain the irreducibility of consciousness to just physical or biological processes ,it fails to explain consciousness , the rise of cognition reason thought process ...
Nagel rejects both materialist reductionism and theism by the way  , and tries to replace them by a non-reductionist naturalism that would allegedly be able to explain the above , without any notion thus of the intervention of any higher power = an eventual naturalist non-reductionist conception of nature that's doomed to fail also : Nagel can't realise just that fact .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
.. that reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is false : a false view of the world that should be rejected by all sciences for that matter , simply because it  cannot explain the universe , just via matter and material or physical processes : the major anomaly that debunks naturalism is the hard problem of consciousness in science : see that book of Nagel on the subject .
If you reject all methodologies that cannot explain everything, you'll end up with none and miss out on a lot -  unless you know of an approach that can explain the universe and consciousness?
No, reductionism is a false conception of nature ,and therefore cannot explain life , consciousness , ...via just biological physical approaches .
The mainstream reductionist naturalism that tries to explain everything in the universe via the so-called fundamental underlying laws of physics, tries to come up with a theory of everything in that regard : a theory of everything in that sense that cannot explain anything in fact ,simply because the universe is not exclusively driven by the laws of physics , there is a fundamental mental side to it reductionism tries to reduce to just physical processes ,simply because reductionism  cannot explain consciousness otherwise .
Nagel proposes a naturalist non-reductionist approach ,that cannot , in its turn , explain the rise or emergence of life ,consciousness, human cognition reason  values  meaning ...


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you just resort to denigrating or at least questioning your opponents' intellect

Care to quote an example of me denigrating or questioning someone's intellect?
Never mind , we're not gonna get stuck in this side irrelevant issue .
I thought not.

Quote from: DonQuichotte
You said earlier , for example ,to mention just that , that my presumed failure to understand your emergence magical assertions (any idiot can in fact understand that "emergence " magical trick  , that's not really a difficult magic to understand ,even though it's a materialist false assumption ) ...is the issue here , not those naturalist reductionist magical false interpretations of   science and science results: you did not say that this way at least , this is just my own expression  or interpretation of what you said, since you do seem to be oversensitive regarding the misquotations of your words .
No indeed, I didn't say that. I said your failure to understand my viewpoint, despite repeated explanations of it, is telling.
I think it's reasonable to object to being misquoted or misrepresented.


Your reductionist view point is intenable : can't explain the universe ,can't explain life , consciousness, human cognition reason ...
It's not that i do not understand your view, i do, it just makes no sense= that's the mainstream reductionist view in science in fact  .
Otherwise , try to explain life , consciousness ...to me via your reductionist exclusive physical biological approaches : you cannot : your reductionist magical approaches of consciousness, life ...make no sense .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
I saw none but reductionist naturalist views from you  so far , but i might be mistaken indeed , since i do not have time enough to investigate all your sayings thoroughly this way at least  .
Do you think the idea of emergence is reductionist? :)

Yes, indeed : that's the major example of reductionism : reducing consciousness to just physical biological processes that allegedly "emerged " from the evolutionary complexity of the brain = magical non-sense .
The phenomena of emergence does exist in fact indeed , but can be applied only to biological processes though , consciousness is not a biological process .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
What non-reductionist views do you have then,on the subject  ?
I already said, there are other useful approaches. I listed  some examples. These  approaches are all tools for gaining knowledge; they are useful in appropriate contexts. They're not mutually exclusive. You seem to think they're like religious belief systems; they're not.

You seem to miss the whole point of what i am saying : materialism can only lead to reductionism : the only way to avoid reductionism is by trying to apply some sort of non-reductionist naturalism ,not to mention the anti-reductionism options represented by  theism or idealism that i eliminate from from  this "equation ", just for the sake of this discussion, ,  by acknowledging the non-biological and non-physical nature of mental states, consciousness, life , reason ... ...by acknowledging the non-biological and non-physical side of evolution....as Nagel proposes .
I see not how   that eventual  non-reductionist naturalism can do just  that  . .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
I am not aware of any distortions of your views ,it is perfectly possible thought that i might have done so , if there were some , do tell me about them .
I already did; remember the man with a hammer?

haha : I do not see everything as nails to be nailed down : i am very specific about the actual reductionist nails that must be hammered in .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
Read that Nagel's book , and then tell me whether  you think he is  reasonably well-informed or not .
He may well be; that doesn't make him right.

The same goes for you,for me , and for everyoneelse for tha matter  .

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... you have already judged Nagel before reading that book of his , remember , and you used his integrity and honesty regarding his perfectly normal and logical relative ignorance on the subject he happened to have admitted as anyone should do in that regard ,you used that as "arguments" against him ,ironically enough .
I've judged only the introduction you posted. I commended him for admitting his limitations, ironically enough.

We already talked about that .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
you even explicitly uttered the  accusation that Nagel might be just looking for fame , for followers ...
Your selective amnesia is staggering .
No, I said "perhaps he feels he can attract more attention". You made up the bit about fame and followers. Selective amnesia?

How can you say that without even reading the man then .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
Second, you contradict yourself in this regard , since you , personally , happen to believe in a ,sorry , stupid irrational unproved conception of nature or the universe = the naturalist reductionist world view ,while attacking people that might disagree with you , via accusing them of ignorance, incredulity , ...
I didn't have to make accusations of ignorance and incredulity - Nagel admitted them.


He admitted that ,as everyoneelse should for that matter .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
... this silly side talk about allegedly denigrating one's intellect  is irrelevant .
Quite, so why bring it up?

Intellect is no physical biological product of evolution: the exclusively physical biological reductionist interpretation or rather reductionist misinterpretation of evolution cannot explain the rise of intellect that reductionist way, no way .
Just try to tell me instead how can man explain the whole universe , consciousness, life ...just via the underlying laws of physics that seem to govern everything , including evolution ...:

 There might be some  more fundamental principles  underlying  the laws of physics  themselves : How can life rise from the dead matter , how can the unconscious matter give rise to the immaterial consciousness : to reduce all that to just material physical biological processes would make no sense ,and that can therefore explain nothing .
If our consciousness  thought process reason  cognition ...were the products of accidental evolution ,then they are not reliable : see the implications of that for all our knowledge , including the scientific one, including that regarding evolution itself ?


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Incredulity  ....can be a valid argument.
Incredulity isn't a valid argument, it's a state of mind...
Exactly
Make up your mind - either incredulity is a valid argument or it isn't (hint: it isn't).

Never mind : reductionism makes no sense ,and  can't explain life , consciousness , ...

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
read the man before judging him or his assertions then .
I did. You posted some of his assertions, I read them, then judged them. Simples
.

What i posted from the man is no sufficient data regarding  his views or analyses , not sufficient to "judge " him .

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
Do you remember ,by the way, saying that any claims without evidence should be dismissed without evidence ? : the naturalist reductionist neo-Darwinian conception of nature or the universe is just that : a world view without any evidence whatsoever to support it ,that's why i dismiss it without any evidence .
So do you dismiss the multiple lines of evidence for evolution by natural selection - or are you just unaware of them ?

I am the one who should say that your obvious  failure to understand my views i repeated here extensively is more than telling .
You're even misquoting , misunderstanding and misinterpretaing those views of mine .
Who said i reject evolution ? Be serious : i just said i do reject the reductionist interpretation or rather reductionist misinterpretation of evolution : see the difference ? ,in the sense that if evolution is exclusively physical biological , as reductionism assumes it to be , then is that reductionist version of evolution incapable of explaining life , consciousness ...

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
The burden of proof is yours to address and eventually deliver , don't you think ? : see the difference ?  haha
You have it backwards. The burden of proof lies with those wishing to overturn, contradict, or correct the established body of knowledge. See the difference?

Quote from: DonQuichotte
Reductionism pretends to be scientific ,right ?
Your question doesn't make sense to me. Reductionism is an approach commonly used in science.

Reductionism is rather a false conception of nature , a world view that has nothing to do with science proper .

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see that book of Nagel on the subject : he might be delusional as well regarding the real existence of reductionism in science as a false unproved  untrue promissory messianic religion that's been dominating and hijacking science , for ideological "reasons", during all those centuries up to this present date .
You said it, not me :)

I was just being ironic .
How can't you see that reductionism is just an ideology in science ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 23/09/2013 19:16:31
"What happened ? can't you handle ot rather deal with what i said ? that you just resorted to rhetorics, pleading , to that  promissory messianic materialism , to this psychological self-defense or retreat or denials ... as a result? .........Weird ."
Weird?

"Consciousness cannot be reduced to that definition of yours thus."
There are plenty of books describing the "conscious" mind - the stuff that you are aware of - and the sub-conscious, like core value systems and self-esteem. Of course, the activation of the relaxation response during meditation is an act outside of consciousness. Your expansion of the definition of consciousness to include elements that are clearly part of the sub-conscious mind makes no sense. I'm afraid that I will have to stick by my, admittedly plagiarised, definition.

I should have used the word Mind with a big T , instead of consciousness then.

Never mind : the core point is : naturalist reductionism fails to explain life , consciousness ...the universe ...simply because it is a false conception of nature and the universe that must be rejected , and replaced by a more or less valid conception of nature .
The mainstream reductionist view of the universe as just a matter of the underlying so-called fundamental physical laws, is incomplete and incorrect , and therefore fails to explain life , consciousness ...or just tries to reduce them to just a matter of the underlying laws of physics : there gotta be some more fundamental principles out there governing the universe, more fundamental than and underlying the laws of physics . .

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"Once again, just try not to confuse reductionism as an ideology in science with science proper"
It could well be that I have misunderstood. I understand reductionism to suggest that everything can be explained according to science and will be, eventually, as our abilities increase. Have I missed the point here? If so please excuse me.

No problem : reductionist naturalism in science sees the universe , including life on earth thus , consciousness,evolution  ...as just a matter of physical or biological processes governed by the so-called fundamental underlying laws of physics = the major hard problem of life , consciousness ... in science disprove that reductionist physical biological world view in science thus .
Besides, neither science ,nor reason logic , or any human epistemology ,method or approach for that matter can ever be able to explain "everything " : we cannot know everything there is to know out there via our human limited faculties ,despite the fact that reductionism tries to come up with some sort of underlying theory of everything,reductionism  cannot , per definition, deliver either  .

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I am sure you hold your own spiritual views as closely as I hold my own, and I am always happy to find somebody who believes in God, regardless of how they came to that belief. From my viewpoint, you are a fortunate man. It is not that I find you an evangelist "for God" rather than I find you evangelising "against" a philosophy that attempts to disprove God, a philosophy that says, "we do not need God, Science has it all". I find this an excellent basis for acquiring knowledge of the Universe and do not understand why anybody would object. However, I may, as stated, have misunderstood the meaning of reductionism
.

Science proper "is not interested in God that's not its field of inquiry ,that's the domain of religion ", and therefore science proper can ,per definition , neither pretend to prove nor disprove the existence of God: it also can do neither  : I see dlorde   saying to you that God is irrelevant for science , it is not the case : God is not the field of science , basta : but , God is irrelevant to reductionism in science,for obvious reductionist ideological "reasons " that have to do with reductionism itself as a secular world view : see the difference ?  .

Once again , i do love science so much that i would love to see it get rid of that false untrue intenable incorrect reductionism in science , reductionism as an ideology and view of the world universe .

See how muslims were the first ever to "invent " and practice the scientific method, thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology .

Science and religion, or Islam in this case , are necessary to each other , need each other , complete each other , are the both sides of the same coin ...and thus do have different natures, functions and roles to play ...if only science would be able,as science will be in fact some day ,  to get rid of reductionism as an ideology in science .
I think i cannot be more clearer than this .

We should thus stop seeing religion, or Islam in this case ,  and science as concurrents or as opposite opponents .

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(By now you may have realised that I don't know how to use the "quote" feature, which is why I contacted Admin. There doesn't seem to be any info in the "help" on this site or the forum software providers site. All I can see is a general "quote" button on each post but no details on how to use it. No doubt I'll have an answer next week. Thank you for your concern; I didn't want to burden anybody.)

Don't worry about it : dlorde here explained that to you .
I will continue answering your posts , as much as possible , even if you continue to post them this way : no problem = i have no problem with just that : my apologies for being somewhat or somehow a bit rude about it earlier , sorry ....
Just continue posting your replies this way then ,if you cannot otherwise ,  no worries .


P.S.: Just try to read Nagel's "Mind and cosmos ..." i did provide a free download link for previously , here above , and you would understand what i mean regarding that untrue reductionist naturalist materialism in science ...and much more ...
Nagel can make you understand just that , much better than i can ever do , even though he's some kindda "torturing read " , sometimes, as Cheryl put it .

Thanks, appreciate indeed .
All the best .
Kind regards .
The same for our friend dlorde here, and for the rest of our abscent friends here as well .


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 23/09/2013 20:05:42
Quote from: DonQuichotte link=topic=48746.msg418872#msg418872


I can understand that you would disagree with him, but why "torture yourself " by reading him,  or was that just sarcasm  ...



Well, I was joking, in a way. I read things written by people even when I suspect I won't agree with them because it might change my views, or modify them. And because it seems to provoke more creative or clearer thinking than reading someone who just confirms what I already knew or believed
.

Sorry, i missed this post of yours .
Indeed : agree : that  's 1 of the reasons why i am here .
Different views do enrich ours.

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I honestly don’t understand why you accuse anyone who doesn’t agree with you of “magical” thinking. History overwhelming contradicts your assertion  that  scientific materialism in any way appeals to or relies on   “magical” processes. Innumerable natural phenomena once attributed to acts of Gods or angry spirits have been explained, from lightening to plagues, the changing seasons, the rising of the sun, birth defects, earthquakes, comets...or do you question the magical materialist explanation of those as well? Dlorde made the comment earlier: “Everything else we know about the universe exists and functions within the laws of physics, and as has been said here repeatedly, there's no good reason to make an exception for consciousness, and all the evidence suggests that it isn't an exception.” So why do you think human consciousness is a special exception?

Science has been able to achieve all those "miracles , thanks only to its efective and unparralled method that's like no other , reductionist naturalism had/ has nothing to do with all that : reductionism just takes a free ride on the unwilling back of science , in order to validate itself , by pretending to be scientific .

The reductionist assumption that everything in the universe is governed by those so-called fundamental laws of physics is an untrue one : the major hard problems in science , as Nagel and others proved , hard problems in science such as consciousness, life ....disprove that untrue reductionist assumption .
There gotta be some more fundamental underlying principles , more fundamental than those laws of physics , otherwise , neither the mainstream reductionist misinterpretation of evolution , nor the mainstream reductionist misinterpretation of the origin of life , to mention just that , can explain the emergence of life from dead or inanimate inorganic matter , or can explain consciousness ...

P.S. : Reductionism as an ideology in science  that should be , once again, not confused with science proper , reductionism  in the above mentioned sense thus , is  certainly magical  : its major  magical  "emergence " trick  regarding the origin of consciousness is 1 of those major examples concerning the magical untrue nature of reductionism .


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Utility does not prove validity

Indeed : say that to those pragmatic utilitarianist materialist opportunnist machiavellistic reductionists .

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, but mysticism certainly has a dismal track record. You can’t wire a house or build computers or launch rockets with mysticism, you can’t understand photosynthesis or how the kidney works with mysticism, you can’t figure out the age of fossils with mysticism.  ( I honestly don’t know what else to call the immaterial forces or processes you believe are responsible for consciousness, since you won’t identify them either. I’m sorry if mysticism is the wrong word, but it’s the definition that seems to apply.  “Mysticism: Mysticism is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism:the belief that direct knowledge of ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience such as intuition or insight ')


You're confusing oranges with carrots :
Mysticism and science are 2 totally different 'things "

I did myself talk about the extremely unreliabe mysticism , didn't i ?

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This is what I think: In the end, even if it turns out there is some  mystical component of consciousness that I cannot test, identify, or understand, I suspect that I  will still know a lot more interesting and useful things about the mind/ brain, and people through materialistic science than you will through mysticism. What's more, these facts or theories can be shared, and are easily verifiable to other people, and their understanding does not depend on any special, subjective state of mystical insight in myself or them.

What had/ has reductionism in science to do with those scientific empirical evidences, scientific approaches, scientific facts or scientific results  ...?= absolutely nothing = 0,0000000000000

Once again , you are confusing science proper with reductionism as an ideology  in science , unfortunately enough : See in that regard Nagel's "Mind and cosmos ..." book on the subject i did provide a free download link for previously .

Take care
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 23/09/2013 21:37:36
Your reductionist view point is intenable : can't explain the universe ,can't explain life , consciousness, human cognition reason ...
It's not that i do not understand your view, i do, it just makes no sense= that's the mainstream reductionist view in science in fact  .
Appropriately enough, you're tilting at windmills; my view is that science is the best means we have for discovering and learning about the universe. A reductionist approach has proved very effective so far, and is likely to continue to do so. However, where it is inappropriate or unproductive, other approaches will be used. Your objections are like chaff in the wind.

BTW, it's 'untenable'.
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Do you think the idea of emergence is reductionist? :)
Yes, indeed : that's the major example of reductionism : reducing consciousness to just physical biological processes that allegedly "emerged " from the evolutionary complexity of the brain = magical non-sense .
The phenomena of emergence does exist in fact indeed , but can be applied only to biological processes though , consciousness is not a biological process .
OK; you seem to have a radically different idea of what emergence is to the commonly held understanding. Try the wiki article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence) to see if you can get back on the same page.

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haha : I do not see everything as nails to be nailed down : i am very specific about the actual reductionist nails that must be hammered in .
There's a subtle difference between accuracy and precision.

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Just try to tell me instead how can man explain the whole universe , consciousness, life ...just via the underlying laws of physics that seem to govern everything , including evolution ...:
The best chance we have is science.

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If our consciousness  thought process reason  cognition ...were the products of accidental evolution ,then they are not reliable : see the implications of that for all our knowledge , including the scientific one, including that regarding evolution itself ?
Quite right - our mental processes are extremely unreliable; that's been one of the major discoveries of cognitive research in recent years. Fortunately, we have developed techniques to help account for and minimise the effects of this unreliability; simply becoming aware of it was an important step.

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Quote from: DonQuichotte
...the naturalist reductionist neo-Darwinian conception of nature or the universe is just that : a world view without any evidence whatsoever to support it...
So do you dismiss the multiple lines of evidence for evolution by natural selection - or are you just unaware of them ?
You're even misquoting , misunderstanding and misinterpretaing those views of mine .
Who said i reject evolution ?
Not misquoting, cut & paste sees to that. You claimed the neo-Darwinian conception of nature is 'a world view without any evidence whatsoever to support it'.  Since the the neo-Darwinian conception of nature is based on the theory of evolution by natural selection, it seems reasonable to question whether you reject the evidence that leads to it. But, whatever.

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How can't you see that reductionism is just an ideology in science ?
The reductionist approach is just a tool science can use where appropriate. The vast majority of scientific progress and the technical developments that resulted have been achieved using that approach.

If you want to attack reductionism as an ideology, I'm sure there are philosophy forums where rabid reductionist ideologues hang out. Good luck with that.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 23/09/2013 21:51:43
I should have used the word Mind with a big T...
I'm not even sure I want to hear the explanation for that! :)

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...there gotta be some more fundamental principles out there governing the universe, more fundamental than and underlying the laws of physics . .
When and if they're discovered, those more fundamental principles will become the new 'laws of physics', replacing and subsuming the standard model of the time, just as General Relativity replaced and subsumed Newtonian physics. So it goes...

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I see dlorde   saying to you that God is irrelevant for science , it is not the case...
Care to explain how God is relevant to science?

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 23/09/2013 22:07:51

There gotta be some more fundamental underlying principles , more fundamental than those laws of physics , otherwise , neither the mainstream reductionist misinterpretation of evolution , nor the mainstream reductionist misinterpretation of the origin of life , to mention just that , can explain the emergence of life from dead or inanimate inorganic matter , or can explain consciousness ...






Well, when you discover them and can identify them, and verify to others that they exist, let me know. So far this is all I could find in the past 12 pages of posts that you have offered as an alternative a means to understanding consciousness, and I quote:

"The real awareness or self awareness ,  the real consciousness or self-consciousness do exist only at the levels of some adult humans , and they can be improved as well = extended levels of awareness , self-awareness, consciousness, self-consciousness ...they can be extended via meditation , personal experiences , ....via prayers ...via hard work ...via certain world views ...
Action triggered by or in fact as equal to the human mind put in motion via Higgins' field that maybe , just maybe gets in its turn made in motion by a higher power that might hold everything existing together for that matter, our minds that depend on or tend to long for unity with that fundamental root capacity of that higher power or root  Self  , that action might be the core " building block element " of the  "structure "  of the universe , who knows ?
(Heart's intelligence as the highest form of intelligence or intellect , heart as no emotions feelings , or biological organ , once again. Heart as intuition or intuitive insights : informed experienced developed extended intuition, not the ordinary intuition that 's not really reliable though  )
...we can try to approach consciousness via trying to extend our levels of consciousness via personal experiences shaped by certain world views, by the personal experiences of others on the subject , by ancient wisdoms on the subject..
I think that human consciousness does not only hold THE  key to unveiling major mysteries in this universe , but also that  the most important and next level of human evolution at the level of consciousness  is yet to be undertaken by humanity as a whole  , while grasping its incredible implications for all humanity...
But, it takes hard work, life experiences, it takes flirting with death itself and looking it deep in the eye  ....it takes blood sweat and tears , joy , rise and fall ,setbacks and breakthroughs ....to just be able to develop that 6th sense that makes one sharp alert and awake sober lucid enough to know , not just believe in, there are   whole unimaginable dimentions and levels of reality out there our powerful developed mind can make us able to approach somehow , to some degree at least .
humans can be trained to develop those consciousness powers or skils in themselves, by developing their 'contacts " with their consciousness via some means
High levels of consciousness can also be experienced only under certain meditation and other spiritual circumstances where the body or the material world cease to "exist " or cease to be perceived as such for the given person under those meditation or under other spiritual states ,due to that extremely targeted attention or focuss of the given person at the level of the pure consciousness
Critical thinking might be a better word to approach what people claim to experience , but then again, critical thinking fails short at the level of "pure " consciousness  "beyond thought "
This might seem to you as just semantics , but i see no better way to put it to you , since "pure 'consciousness via meditation and via other spiritual means is , per definition, uncommunicable = words fail short to describe it .
The only way to figure out all that for yourself in that regard is by trying to experience those states of consciousness yourself via meditation or via other spiritual means : science or critical thinking alone cannot help you in that regard ,since "pure " consciousness is beyond thought , science .
But then again, you would say : there is nothing more tricky deceptive and elusive than spirituality ,i would say : that's the beauty of it : we gotta try to figure it out for ourselves = an endless restless dynamic journey = a journey far more exciting and challenging difficult ..than science can ever be ,even thou science can help us somehow on that spiritual path we gotta take as well
I see this natural reality as just a veil that deprives us from seeing  the underlying true real reality ,the latter we can only See above : the only way to figure that out for yourself is by trying to experience those states of consciousnsess, via meditation and via other spiritual means = that's beyond the territory of conventional science and thought . try to approach via spirituality,once again
Only real true mystics can experience the relatively full scale of human consciousness or pure consciousness and beyond
But , art , meditation, spirituality , creative work ....music ....love...do make me get in touch , sometimes , with incredible states of consciousness , awareness, self-awareness ...that are , per definition, uncommunicable as the mystics say , science can never be able to give me .
Words cannot describe those states of consciousness i do experience sometimes , and i can tell you with relative confidence= i am not really sure , who can be in that context ?,  that i developed a sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense , so to speak, that make me able to detect the real thing from fraud or illusions,delusions ..
Did it ever occur to you that human consciousness might exist and function outside of the laws of physics ?"

End Quote


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 23/09/2013 22:34:41
... i developed a sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense , so to speak, that make me able to detect the real thing from fraud or illusions,delusions ..
Ouch - there goes another irony meter...

Thanks for that cheryl, I missed it first time round.

I wonder how he can tell whether his 'sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense' is itself the 'real thing' or an illusion or delusion...

As Feynman said, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool".
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 24/09/2013 00:37:15
We should thus stop seeing religion, or Islam in this case ,  and science as concurrents or as opposite opponents .

*** Exactly my point!

You appear to be attacking science because it is not religious enough.

it is a false conception of nature and the universe

That cannot be. Science, by its very nature, is only a tool to "investigate" and "explain" the nature of the universe. This is like saying that a microscope is a conception of the nature of micro-biology.

we cannot know everything there is to know out there via our human limited faculties

Nobody on this forum would disagree with you there but, as you said, we have more to come. I am sure that this universe - Gods universe - hasn't finished with us yet - one day we may not even be able to call ourselves human by any yardstick we use today. Until then, and beyond, I hope with all my heart, that science continues on its mission, using whatever tools best fit the job, and tries to explain absolutely everything WITHOUT reference to God; better still, on the fundamental assumption that there is no God - it's ALL up to us. This is the best way to learn. Whether by chemistry or divine will we have been given the drive to classify and the tools with which to do it. My guess is, either way, that means that we are meant to use them

Gennlemen, if this works then thank you indeed!
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Europan Ocean on 24/09/2013 04:36:13
The question with doctors is whether human consciousness is generated by the brain or received by the brain. It is a question of humanism or dualism.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 24/09/2013 09:59:58
The question with doctors is whether human consciousness is generated by the brain or received by the brain. It is a question of humanism or dualism.
Which doctors are you referring to, specifically? It seems to me it isn't a question the majority of doctors are concerned with in their work.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 24/09/2013 17:27:06
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See how muslims were the first ever to "invent " and practice the scientific method, thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology .

Apart from everyone else, that is.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 24/09/2013 18:04:47
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See how muslims were the first ever to "invent " and practice the scientific method, thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology .
Apart from everyone else, that is.
Yeah. We covered that at length in What's the real origin of the scientific method? (http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=48315.0), where it turned out the title was less a question, more a rhetorical preface to a diatribe on the Islamic contribution. For example:
Those muslims did much much more , including giving birth to science itself ... i am talking here mainly about the fact that science owes its very existence to muslims indeed .
and so-on.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 24/09/2013 19:11:06
We should thus stop seeing religion, or Islam in this case ,  and science as concurrents or as opposite opponents .

*** Exactly my point!

You appear to be attacking science because it is not religious enough.

No, i was just attacking that untrue ideological reductionism as a secular religion in science : see the difference ?

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it is a false conception of nature and the universe

That cannot be. Science, by its very nature, is only a tool to "investigate" and "explain" the nature of the universe. This is like saying that a microscope is a conception of the nature of micro-biology.

I am talking , once again, about reductionism as an ideology in science,not about science proper  : can't you see the difference ?

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we cannot know everything there is to know out there via our human limited faculties

Nobody on this forum would disagree with you there but, as you said, we have more to come. I am sure that this universe - Gods universe - hasn't finished with us yet - one day we may not even be able to call ourselves human by any yardstick we use today. Until then, and beyond, I hope with all my heart, that science continues on its mission, using whatever tools best fit the job, and tries to explain absolutely everything WITHOUT reference to God; better still, on the fundamental assumption that there is no God - it's ALL up to us. This is the best way to learn. Whether by chemistry or divine will we have been given the drive to classify and the tools with which to do it. My guess is, either way, that means that we are meant to use them.

God is not the field of science : science is not interested in God ,so to speak,  science can thus neither pretend to prove nor disprove the existence of God : why bring God up in this discussion then , discussion concerning reductionism in science ?.
The main issue here is that dominance of that untrue reductionism in science , not science proper .
That reductionism in science that gotta be replaced by a more or less valid conception of nature .


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Gennlemen, if this works then thank you indeed!

What are you talking about ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 24/09/2013 19:21:27
... i developed a sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense , so to speak, that make me able to detect the real thing from fraud or illusions,delusions ..
Ouch - there goes another irony meter...

Thanks for that cheryl, I missed it first time round.

I wonder how he can tell whether his 'sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense' is itself the 'real thing' or an illusion or delusion...

As Feynman said, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool".

I did already say that that alleged "radar " haha was not really realiable, as my own belief warns me about by the way .
Why don't you try to focuss on the real issues i was bringing up, instead of this unnuanced none-sense of yours ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 24/09/2013 19:22:57
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See how muslims were the first ever to "invent " and practice the scientific method, thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology .
Apart from everyone else, that is.
Yeah. We covered that at length in What's the real origin of the scientific method? (http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=48315.0), where it turned out the title was less a question, more a rhetorical preface to a diatribe on the Islamic contribution. For example:
Those muslims did much much more , including giving birth to science itself ... i am talking here mainly about the fact that science owes its very existence to muslims indeed .
and so-on.

Well, that thread in question speaks for itself ,so.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 24/09/2013 19:24:37
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See how muslims were the first ever to "invent " and practice the scientific method, thanks to that Qur'anic epistemology .

Apart from everyone else, that is.

What do you have to say about reductionism in science , genius ?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 24/09/2013 19:35:43
... i developed a sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense , so to speak, that make me able to detect the real thing from fraud or illusions,delusions ..
Ouch - there goes another irony meter... I wonder how he can tell whether his 'sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense' is itself the 'real thing' or an illusion or delusion...
I did already say that that alleged "radar " haha was not really realiable, as my own belief warns me about by the way .
Oh boy... your own belief warns you when the 'sophisticated radar or 6th sense' that allows you to tell what's reliable, is unreliable?

Quote
Why don't you try to focuss on the real issues i was bringing up, instead of this unnuanced none-sense of yours ?
If you could post them clearly and concisely instead of camouflaging them in flannel and distractions, they might be easier to focus on. Is there some particular 'real' issue you'd like me to look at?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 24/09/2013 19:50:03

There gotta be some more fundamental underlying principles , more fundamental than those laws of physics , otherwise , neither the mainstream reductionist misinterpretation of evolution , nor the mainstream reductionist misinterpretation of the origin of life , to mention just that , can explain the emergence of life from dead or inanimate inorganic matter , or can explain consciousness ...






Well, when you discover them and can identify them, and verify to others that they exist, let me know. So far this is all I could find in the past 12 pages of posts that you have offered as an alternative a means to understanding consciousness, and I quote:

"The real awareness or self awareness ,  the real consciousness or self-consciousness do exist only at the levels of some adult humans , and they can be improved as well = extended levels of awareness , self-awareness, consciousness, self-consciousness ...they can be extended via meditation , personal experiences , ....via prayers ...via hard work ...via certain world views ...
Action triggered by or in fact as equal to the human mind put in motion via Higgins' field that maybe , just maybe gets in its turn made in motion by a higher power that might hold everything existing together for that matter, our minds that depend on or tend to long for unity with that fundamental root capacity of that higher power or root  Self  , that action might be the core " building block element " of the  "structure "  of the universe , who knows ?
(Heart's intelligence as the highest form of intelligence or intellect , heart as no emotions feelings , or biological organ , once again. Heart as intuition or intuitive insights : informed experienced developed extended intuition, not the ordinary intuition that 's not really reliable though  )
...we can try to approach consciousness via trying to extend our levels of consciousness via personal experiences shaped by certain world views, by the personal experiences of others on the subject , by ancient wisdoms on the subject..
I think that human consciousness does not only hold THE  key to unveiling major mysteries in this universe , but also that  the most important and next level of human evolution at the level of consciousness  is yet to be undertaken by humanity as a whole  , while grasping its incredible implications for all humanity...
But, it takes hard work, life experiences, it takes flirting with death itself and looking it deep in the eye  ....it takes blood sweat and tears , joy , rise and fall ,setbacks and breakthroughs ....to just be able to develop that 6th sense that makes one sharp alert and awake sober lucid enough to know , not just believe in, there are   whole unimaginable dimentions and levels of reality out there our powerful developed mind can make us able to approach somehow , to some degree at least .
humans can be trained to develop those consciousness powers or skils in themselves, by developing their 'contacts " with their consciousness via some means
High levels of consciousness can also be experienced only under certain meditation and other spiritual circumstances where the body or the material world cease to "exist " or cease to be perceived as such for the given person under those meditation or under other spiritual states ,due to that extremely targeted attention or focuss of the given person at the level of the pure consciousness
Critical thinking might be a better word to approach what people claim to experience , but then again, critical thinking fails short at the level of "pure " consciousness  "beyond thought "
This might seem to you as just semantics , but i see no better way to put it to you , since "pure 'consciousness via meditation and via other spiritual means is , per definition, uncommunicable = words fail short to describe it .
The only way to figure out all that for yourself in that regard is by trying to experience those states of consciousness yourself via meditation or via other spiritual means : science or critical thinking alone cannot help you in that regard ,since "pure " consciousness is beyond thought , science .
But then again, you would say : there is nothing more tricky deceptive and elusive than spirituality ,i would say : that's the beauty of it : we gotta try to figure it out for ourselves = an endless restless dynamic journey = a journey far more exciting and challenging difficult ..than science can ever be ,even thou science can help us somehow on that spiritual path we gotta take as well
I see this natural reality as just a veil that deprives us from seeing  the underlying true real reality ,the latter we can only See above : the only way to figure that out for yourself is by trying to experience those states of consciousnsess, via meditation and via other spiritual means = that's beyond the territory of conventional science and thought . try to approach via spirituality,once again
Only real true mystics can experience the relatively full scale of human consciousness or pure consciousness and beyond
But , art , meditation, spirituality , creative work ....music ....love...do make me get in touch , sometimes , with incredible states of consciousness , awareness, self-awareness ...that are , per definition, uncommunicable as the mystics say , science can never be able to give me .
Words cannot describe those states of consciousness i do experience sometimes , and i can tell you with relative confidence= i am not really sure , who can be in that context ?,  that i developed a sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense , so to speak, that make me able to detect the real thing from fraud or illusions,delusions ..
Did it ever occur to you that human consciousness might exist and function outside of the laws of physics ?"

End Quote

Well, do not try to derail the discussion, honey, please :
In a discussion, views change , thanks to that discussion exchange: that's the purpose ,beauty ,meaning , value, and utility of a constructive discussion .
I was  just  talking about the disease and its sympthoms in science = reductionism and its exclusively physical biological conception of nature that's obviously untrue .
Nagel ,so far as i can tell from reading some parts of his "Mind and cosmos ..." book , proposes an alternative to reductionism in the form of a non-reductionist naturalism : that's all what a secular guy can come up with : a non-reductionist naturalism in science that allegedly can explain the fact concerning how nature might have  generated the mind or consciousness ,reductionism cannot explain the latter via its handicaped reductionist and incomplete exclusive physical biological approach or rather conception of nature ,obviously  .
I ,personally , think that science cannot alone explain consciousness, there gotta be a holistic approach to that that can try to tackle that hard problem of consciousness,life ...and their evolutions via a non-reductionist conception of nature . .
Sheldrake, for example, talks about morphic fields underlying the laws of physics, i suppose , if i am not mistaken .
In short :
The best way to solve the  problem of reductionism in science is by trying to put the finger on the problem itself and its sympthoms ,by defining them  clearly,as Nagel does ,for example,  ,and then by trying to look for some alternatives to the reductionism problem in science that has been crippling science in trying to figure out consciousness, life ...and their evolutions via a complete valid alternative that's not reductiionistic  . .


There gotta be some fundamental underlying principles out there , obviously, more fundamental than and underlying those laws of physics themsleves , otherwise , there is no true scientific way to approach the hard problem of consciousness, life ...their origins or their evolutions , a true eventual scientific way that should include the fact that consciousness , life ...their origins and evolution cannot be exclusively explained by just physical biological reductionist approaches ,no way  : that materialist reductionist magical approach of consciousness,life ...their origins and their evolutions ... is just a way to avoid the problem that cannot be avoided that way for a long time thus .
See what Nagel has to say on the subject then .
I am really fed up with your silly denials and exit starategies .
Just know that : ideas are first opposed , ridiculed and then accepted as such as obvious evidence afterwards = you gotta try to go through just that process, or not , who cares ...- your silly attitudes won't change the facts on the reality ground concerning all the above ...
Scientific guys  you are , my ass , excuse my French ...


Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 24/09/2013 20:00:04
... i developed a sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense , so to speak, that make me able to detect the real thing from fraud or illusions,delusions ..
Ouch - there goes another irony meter... I wonder how he can tell whether his 'sort of a sophisticated radar or 6th sense' is itself the 'real thing' or an illusion or delusion...
I did already say that that alleged "radar " haha was not really realiable, as my own belief warns me about by the way .
Oh boy... your own belief warns you when the 'sophisticated radar or 6th sense' that allows you to tell what's reliable, is unreliable?

Stop being a jerk, be serious : and do not try to derail the discussion you obvioulsly cannot handle .
I meant that my own belief warns me against the relative unreliability of that "radar ". so to speak .
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Why don't you try to focuss on the real issues i was bringing up, instead of this unnuanced none-sense of yours ?
If you could post them clearly and concisely instead of camouflaging them in flannel and distractions, they might be easier to focus on. Is there some particular 'real' issue you'd like me to look at?

What ? Do you want me to draw you a picture ? I think i was clear enough .
I have even referred you to a more competent guy on the subject than myself .
If you cannot deliver yourself from those reductionist indoctrinations  and brainwash you obviously do confuse with science proper , that's not my problem , but yours to deal with ,otherwise just go see a ..shrink .

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 24/09/2013 20:22:51
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I see dlorde   saying to you that God is irrelevant for science , it is not the case...
Care to explain how God is relevant to science?

Did i say that God is to science ?
You know what : you are out of the pic again : i am not even gonna respond to the rest of your silly denials,misinterpretations of my views , lack of understanding what people tell you .. ...I will ignore you from now on , simply because you are not only not serious , but you are also a guy who are not willing to consider non-reductionist views ...so, why should i bother wasting my time on you ? I will not , from now on :
Just read that book of Nagel then , or not , who gives a f...?
What kindda "scientific " guys are you ? Unbelievable .


This issue of reductionism in science is an  extremely  relevant one to the progress of science ,you have no idea , not just only to  non-reductionist sites or whatever ...This issue of that untrue rductionism in science is a huge issue to mankind's evolution, progress , development ............................to say just that .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 24/09/2013 21:08:19
Stop being a jerk, be serious : and do not try to derail the discussion you obvioulsly cannot handle .
I meant that my own belief warns me against the relative unreliability of that "radar ". so to speak .
I know; but it's hard to be serious when you say stuff like that. Having something that tells you when the something that tells you when something is unreliable, is unreliable, is truly Kafkaesque :)
 
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... Is there some particular 'real' issue you'd like me to look at?
What ? Do you want me to draw you a picture ? I think i was clear enough .
So, you can't remember either? :)

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If you cannot deliver yourself from those reductionist indoctrinations  and brainwash you obviously do confuse with science proper , that's not my problem , but yours to deal with ,otherwise just go see a ..shrink .
If I don't agree with you I need a psychiatrist? Disappointing stuff... playground taunts really don't help your credibility.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 24/09/2013 21:24:52
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Quote
I see dlorde   saying to you that God is irrelevant for science , it is not the case...
Care to explain how God is relevant to science?

Did i say that God is to science ?
C'mon Don, it's simple logic; if, as you say, God is not irrelevant for science, then in what way is God relevant to science?

Quote
... i am not even gonna respond to the rest of your silly denials,misinterpretations of my views , lack of understanding what people tell you .. ...I will ignore you from now on , simply because you are not only not serious , but you are also a guy who are not willing to consider non-reductionist views ...so, why should i bother wasting my time on you ? I will not , from now on :
Oh no, not again... :)

For everyone else's benefit, why don't you explain the methods by which science will make progress when all reductionist approaches have been expunged?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Skyli on 24/09/2013 22:11:17
No, i was just attacking that untrue ideological reductionism as a secular religion in science : see the difference ?
..
I am talking , once again, about reductionism as an ideology in science,not about science proper  : can't you see the difference ?
 

I can see the difference between a saw and the art of carpentry. Reductionism is a tool, a method, and it produces results. I cannot understand how it could be considered an "ideology" or a "religion".

God is not the field of science : science is not interested in God ,so to speak,  science can thus neither pretend to prove nor disprove the existence of God : why bring God up in this discussion then , discussion concerning reductionism in science ?.
I absolutely agree with the first part of this statement, I do not believe that science is pretending anything - or trying to and I see no reason to imagine that it is. In answer to your question, I didn't; actually you did. I followed your reference to see if you agreed with the first part of your statement.

I would be fascinated to hear what it is about reductionism that makes you classify it as any more than a method or tool, if that would not stray to far off the subject of this thread.

The thanks was for your information on using the quote feature - it wasn't a bad first try! :)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 25/09/2013 01:20:11
Well, David Cooper was correct about one thing. Trolls are impossible and it is probably best to ignore them. No matter what logical evidence you support your arguments with, no matter what credible scientific studies provide positive proof for something, they will say "But it fails to explain this other thing," followed by an ideological rant about why something is "obviously" false just because they keep saying it is.  What's worse, they offer no reasonable, verifiable alternative for any of it.
Don essentially says you cannot expect him to provide scientific proof of the immaterial because it is immaterial. And my response is "Great! Go post these immaterial things on the The Mystical Angel My Little Pony Website."

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: cheryl j on 25/09/2013 01:54:23


For everyone else's benefit, why don't you explain the methods by which science will make progress when all reductionist approaches have been expunged?


Yes, Don, I have asked this, as have several other posters. What is "science proper" ???You keep saying science proper is "more than" reductionism, so tell us how science proper works without isolating and controlling certain variables in an experiment and taking things apart to see how things work?  Tell me how to do a scientific experiment in a "non-reductionist" or "holistic" way. Give me an example. If you can't do that, everything you've said is basically BS, or at least, not science.   
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: Europan Ocean on 25/09/2013 05:40:44
dlorde, these Doctors are interested in the dualism or humanism, what creates consciousness question:

There is Dr Melvin Morse:
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/experts06.html

Dr Pim Van Lommel
Dr Eben Alexander who recommends:
http://www.lifebeyonddeath.net/reading-list-0
Dr Peter Fenwick.
Dr Bruce Greyson.
Dr Charbonier.
Dr Donald Whitaker.
Dr Maurice Rawlings.
Dr Heather Ross.
Dr LLoyd Rudy.
Dr George Ritchie.
Dr Raymond Moody.
They are on youtube free...
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 25/09/2013 09:56:22
dlorde, these Doctors are interested in the dualism or humanism, what creates consciousness question:
OK, thanks. So not doctors in general, but 11 particular doctors.

There are lots of people interested in the dualism/monism issue; I was wondering why you decided to pick a few doctors?
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 25/09/2013 10:05:07
Well, David Cooper was correct about one thing. Trolls are impossible and it is probably best to ignore them.
They can be useful practice... up to a point. This one either becomes insulting and rude or stops responding (temporarily) when you point out flaws in his logic or try to pin him down to reasoned arguments.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 25/09/2013 12:17:09
Having something that tells you when the something that tells you when something is unreliable, is unreliable, is truly Kafkaesque :)
 

But it happens in real life. "Flight 401" is an infamous instance. Approaching their destination, the crew lowered the undercarriage but one of the "three greens" (lamps signifying "undercarriage locked") didn't appear. So they faffed around trying to change the bulb, peer out of the window at the wheels, and generally do everything except fly the plane, which flew itself into the Everglades and killed 101 people.   

I have the same problem with officious twits who insist (at your expense) on putting "warning lights" outside x-ray rooms. If the bulb fails (which it does, because the light is on for most of the working day) you have signalled a dangerous area as safe!   
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 25/09/2013 14:39:54
Having something that tells you when the something that tells you when something is unreliable, is unreliable, is truly Kafkaesque :)
 

But it happens in real life. "Flight 401" is an infamous instance. Approaching their destination, the crew lowered the undercarriage but one of the "three greens" (lamps signifying "undercarriage locked") didn't appear. So they faffed around trying to change the bulb, peer out of the window at the wheels, and generally do everything except fly the plane, which flew itself into the Everglades and killed 101 people.
Sorry, I don't get it - how is that similar to having a reliability indicator for a reliability indicator?

I was also wondering if he could use each 'sixth sense' to tell whether the other was reliable, and how reliable the combination could be - which one would he believe? :)
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: alancalverd on 25/09/2013 15:05:28
It's an unreliable indicator of the reliability of an unreliable system, which is actually less unreliable than the indicator. These things abound on aircraft, fuel gauges being the most prominent. Because fuel is stored in the very flat wings and the whole thing tilts in all directions, "level" isn't a reliable indication of content. Because it is also subject to varying g forces, weight isn't a useful indicator either. In fact for most small aircraft, sticking your finger in the tank before you start, and using a stopwatch, is the most reliable indication of remaining fuel, but the Authorities demand that (a) you must have an expensive and useless bit of electical gadgetry and (b) you must be taught to ignore it. 

I think DonQ is actually female. When accused of talking improbable nonsense my mum used to say "I just know". 
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 25/09/2013 16:23:28
Stop being a jerk, be serious : and do not try to derail the discussion you obvioulsly cannot handle .
I meant that my own belief warns me against the relative unreliability of that "radar ". so to speak .
I know; but it's hard to be serious when you say stuff like that. Having something that tells you when the something that tells you when something is unreliable, is unreliable, is truly Kafkaesque :)

I will give you yet another chance , the very last one , after that , if you screw up again, we will have to go our separate ways :

This is a side issue you're making such a fuss about,an easy one  : I told you that that "radar " ,so to speak, is relatively unreliable : my own faith or religion  tells me it is indeed.
Got it ?
When i said that you should not try to derail this discussion you cannot handle obviously : I meant : you either misinterpret my views or do not understand them properly as i meant them to be at least , you distort them beyond any recognition, you quote parts   of my statements by isolating them from their actual context , ...and you do put words in my mouth that are not mine ...to say just that :
Just try to compare  what i said in my previous posts to  how you responded to them as described above .
Example : I said that the reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian approach or conception of evolution ( as the direct consequence  of the reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian conception of nature thus ) ,  for instance ,  is just  a reductionist misinterpretation of evolution   = the reductionist version of evolution that has no evidence to support it : in the sense that evolution is not exclusively biological physical , otherwise we cannot explain life , consciousness, their origins and their evolution fully .
You did not understand that : your response was like this : there is plenty of or overwhelming empirical evidence regarding   evolution ....
Compare what i said here to your reply then : i said 1 thing and you responded with a totally  different other  .
There is indeed overwhelming evidence regarding the biological physical side of evolution , but i was not talking about the latter , just about the reductionist exclusively biological physical version of evolution as a whole .

What i meant by  the reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian misinterpretation of evolution that has nothing to support it ,once again= the reductionist version of evolution, was  rather this in fact : evolution cannot be explained by just those reductionist naturaist neo-Darwinian exclusive biological physical explanations approaches , simply because evolution has a non-biological non-physical side to it as well , so , there is nothing out there that supports the reductionist assumption or reductionist version of evolution that evolution  is just a matter of exclusively physical biological processes .
Got it ?
Plus , those reductionist exclusive biological physical approaches  of evolution give just an incomplete acccount of evolution, simply because evolution has a non-physical non-biological side to it also = the reductionist version of evolution has nothing to support it = evolution is not exclusively biological physical .
Another example : i see it here below in 1 of your posts , i will respond to in a sec .
There are plenty of statements of mine like that , either you do not understand, misquote way out of their context , misinterpret ...beyond ny recognition...
Another example : i said that the reductionist "emergence " trick regarding consciousness is indeed reductionistic , in the sense that it reduces consciousness to biological processes : i did not say that the purely physical biological emergence phenomena were / are reductionist = only that "emergence " reductionist magical trick regarding consciousness is reductionist : see the difference ?

 
Quote
Quote
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... Is there some particular 'real' issue you'd like me to look at?
What ? Do you want me to draw you a picture ? I think i was clear enough .
So, you can't remember either? :)

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If you cannot deliver yourself from those reductionist indoctrinations  and brainwash you obviously do confuse with science proper , that's not my problem , but yours to deal with ,otherwise just go see a ..shrink .
If I don't agree with you I need a psychiatrist? Disappointing stuff... playground taunts really don't help your credibility.

These statements of yours are yet another major example of what i was saying here above regarding your  gross misinterpretations of my words :
That you would agree-disagree with me is certainly  not the issue here : that's a rather pretty normal fact = that's 1 of the reasons why i am here , in order to learn from different views, different conceptions of nature , from different world views ...from science proper that shuld not be confused with those reductionist world views, reductionist conception of nature ......
What i meant was : if you cannot either understand what i was saying regarding reductionism to the point that you distort and misinterpret my words on the subject beyond any recognition , or if you cannot see how you have been brainwashed and indoctrinated by reductionism you obviously still do confuse with science proper , than is that not my problem, but yours to handle, otherwise go see a shrink : that's what i meant when i said shall i draw you a pic ,when you responded that i was not clear enough or not concise : it is not that i was not clear enough , maybe  i was ,to some degree at least : it is in fact you who do not understand my words , distort them , misinterprets them , takes them out of context ,...beyond any recognition ....

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: dlorde on 25/09/2013 16:48:10
I will give you yet another chance , the very last one , after that , if you screw up again, we will have to go our separate ways :
You're funny :)

I see dlorde   saying to you that God is irrelevant for science , it is not the case...
So anyway Don, are you going to explain this? how is God relevant to science?

And while you're at it, can you explain the methods by which science will make progress when all reductionist approaches have been expunged as you advocate?

Both questions have been asked more than once and ignored so far.
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 25/09/2013 17:21:38
Well, David Cooper was correct about one thing. Trolls are impossible and it is probably best to ignore them. No matter what logical evidence you support your arguments with, no matter what credible scientific studies provide positive proof for something, they will say "But it fails to explain this other thing," followed by an ideological rant about why something is "obviously" false just because they keep saying it is.  What's worse, they offer no reasonable, verifiable alternative for any of it.
Don essentially says you cannot expect him to provide scientific proof of the immaterial because it is immaterial. And my response is "Great! Go post these immaterial things on the The Mystical Angel My Little Pony Website."

You got it all wrong , honey : see what i said to dlorde on the subject right here  above .
The exclusively biological physical reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is false , simply because it obviously and intrinsically inherently misses the non-biological non-physical side of nature ,as Nagel said, that's why he proposed a non-reductionist naturalist conception of nature,as an alternative to reductionism  .
Besides, that reductionist exclusively biological physical conception of nature has therefore implications for how reductionists approach ,see and explain the emergence of life , the emergence of consciousness in nature ,and for their respective origins and evolution , logically =reductionism gives thus an incomplete account of evolution in general , of life's origins , emergence and evolution, of consciousness ' emergence origins and evolution ...

But, there is indeed overwhelming empirical evidence indeed for the biological physical side of evolution ,it's just that evolution has also a non-physical non-biological side to it as well ,reductionism tries so desperately to reduce to just physical biological processes , simply because reductionism , per definition, cannot do otherwise .

All those wonderful amazing great "miracles " achieved by science proper were the direct consequences of the scientific method used by scientists  ,were  the direct consequences of the effective and unparralleled scientific method thus that's like no other : reductionism in science has absolutely nothing to do with all those scientific results and huge advances ...= reductionism just takes a free ride on the  unwilling back of science proper , in order to validate itself  so desperately  , in vain .

In short :

The main core issue here is that reductionist naturalist neo-Darwinian misconception of nature in science .

Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 25/09/2013 17:54:58
I will give you yet another chance , the very last one , after that , if you screw up again, we will have to go our separate ways :
You're funny :)

No, i am certainly not in this case , i am deadly serious : remember your oversensitivity whenever someone misquotes you : you were not only misquoting my words , but you also did not understand them properly as i meant them to be at least , you distorted misinterpreted them beyond any recognition ...so.
Maybe , i did not formulate my answers properly : in that case , you should have asked for a better formulation, instead of  distorting my views ..
If one would continue  doing just that , there is absolutely no point in continuing any discusions for that matter with him / her : that would be an utter and total waste of time .

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I see dlorde   saying to you that God is irrelevant for science , it is not the case...
So anyway Don, are you going to explain this? how is God relevant to science?

I told you here above that i would react to that , didn't i ?
I did not say that God is relevant to science ,did i ?
You still continue to misquote me , i see : my patience with you is really running out .
Anyway :
This is another example  concerning the fact that you were taking my words out of context by just quoting some parts of my statements on the subject : why didn't you quote the whole sentense  ?

I said : God is not the field of science , i see dlorde here saying to you that God is irrelevant to science , it is not the case , God is irrelevant only to reductionism in science in fact , reductionism as a secular religion in science ...stuff like that .
So, God is neither  irrelevant nor relevant  to science proper , simply because God is not the field of science,so to speak then ...
You're really making me nuts with these misquotes , distortions ...of my words .

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And while you're at it, can you explain the methods by which science will make progress when all reductionist approaches have been expunged as you advocate?

Science has its own effective unparalleled method thanks to and through which science has been able to achieve all those "miracles " : what has reductionism as a misconception of nature  to do with science proper or with the scientific method , scientific approaches, scientific results = absolutely nothing= reductionism was/is  just crippling science via its reductionist meta-paradigm in science in fact ... .
Reductionism is no method , just a world view in science = a misconception of nature in science = science needs to be guided by a more or less valid non-reductionist  meta-paradigm in science = a non-reductionist naturalist one maybe , as Nagel proposes at least ...........

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Both questions have been asked more than once and ignored so far.

Both questions were  previously  answered : your own failure to see just that is your problem, not mine .
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 25/09/2013 20:25:31
"Mind and Cosmos : Why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false : Chapter 4 : Cognition " By Thomas Nagel :
The following is of course in English, folks, as you can see ,not in ...Arabic or in Chinese :
If Mohammed cannot go to the mountain, the mountain will have to come to Mohammed ,i see :


Chapter 4
Cognition
1
I now want to take up a different type of antireductionist argument and its consequences.
Consciousness presents a problem for evolutionary reductionism because of its irreducibly subjective
character. This is true even of the most primitive forms of sensory consciousness, such as those
presumably found in all animals. The problem that I want to take up now concerns mental functions
such as thought, reasoning, and evaluation that are limited to humans, though their beginnings may be
found in a few other species. These are the functions that have enabled us to transcend the perspective
of the immediate life-world given to us by our senses and instincts, and to explore the larger objective
reality of nature and value.
I shall assume that the attribution of knowledge to a computer is a metaphor, and that the higherlevel
cognitive capacities can be possessed only by a being that also has consciousness (setting aside
the question whether their exercise can sometimes be unconscious). That already implies that those
capacities cannot be understood through physical science alone, and that their existence cannot be
explained by a version of evolutionary theory that is physically reductive. But the problem I now want
to discuss goes beyond this. It has to do with the nature of these capacities and the relation they put us
in to the world. What we take ourselves to be doing when we think about what is the case or how we
should act is something that cannot be reconciled with a reductive naturalism, for reasons distinct
from those that entail the irreducibility of consciousness. It is not merely the subjectivity of thought
but its capacity to transcend subjectivity and to discover what is objectively the case that presents a
problem.
Thought and reasoning are correct or incorrect in virtue of something independent of the thinker’s
beliefs, and even independent of the community of thinkers to which he belongs. We take ourselves to
have the capacity to form true beliefs about the world around us, about the timeless domains of logic
and mathematics, and about the right thing to do. We don’t take these capacities to be infallible, but
we think they are often reliable, in an objective sense, and that they can give us knowledge. The
natural internal stance of human life assumes that there is a real world, that many questions, both
factual and practical, have correct answers, and that there are norms of thought which, if we follow
them, will tend to lead us toward the correct answers to those questions. It assumes that to follow
those norms is to respond correctly to values or reasons that we apprehend. Mathematics, science, and
ethics are built on such norms.
It is difficult to make sense of all this in traditional naturalistic terms. Unless we are prepared to
regard most of it as an illusion, this points to a further expansion of our conception of the natural
order to include not only the source of phenomenological consciousness—sensation, perception, and
emotion
Title: Re: What, on Earth, is The Human Consciousness?
Post by: DonQuichotte on 25/09/2013 20:38:03
 tell us,
the ability of creatures like us to arrive at such truth, or even to think about it, requires explanation.
An important aspect of this explanation will be that we have acquired language and the possibilities of
interpersonal communication, justification, and criticism that language makes possible. But the
explanation of our ability to acquire and use language in these ways presents problems of the same
order, for language is one of the most important normatively governed faculties. To acquire a
language is in part to acquire a system of concepts that enables us to understand reality.
I am going to set aside at this point all the problems mentioned earlier about the probability of the
origin of life and the sufficiency of random mutation and natural selection to account for the actual
evolutionary history of life on earth. The question I want to raise remains even if those problems can
be solved for the evolution of plants and lower animals. I will also suppose for the sake of argument
that evolutionary theory can be recast in a way that is consistent with antireductionism, so as to make
it capable of explaining the appearance of consciousness. The question I now want to pose is whether
our cognitive capacities can be placed in the framework of an evolutionary theory that is in this way
no longer exclusively materialist, but that retains the Darwinian structure. It is a hypothetical
question, since there may not be such a theory. But I will talk as if there were.
The problem has two aspects. The first concerns the likelihood that the process of natural selection
should have generated creatures with the capacity to discover by reason the truth about a reality that
extends vastly beyond the initial appearances—as we take ourselves to have done and to continue to
do collectively in science, logic, and ethics. Is it credible that selection for fitness in the prehistoric
past should have fixed capacities that are effective in theoretical pursuits that were unimaginable at
the time? The second problem is the difficulty of understanding naturalistically the faculty of reason
that is the essence of these activities. I will begin by considering a possible response to the first
problem, before going on to the second, which is particularly intractable.
2
The first problem arises only if one presupposes realism about the subject matter of our thought. We
want to know how likely it is, for example, that evolution should have given some human beings the
capacity to discover, and other human beings the capacity to understand, the laws of physics and
chemistry. If there is no real, judgment-independent physical world, no judgment-independent truths
of mathematics, and no judgment-independent truths of ethics and practical reason, then there is no
problem of explaining how we are able to learn about them. On an antirealist view, scientific or moral
truth depends on our systematic cognitive or conative responses rather than being something
independent to which our responses may or may not conform. The “worlds” in question are all just
human constructions. In that case an explanation of how those responses—including our scientific
theories—were formed will not have to explain their objective correctness in order to be acceptable
(although it will have to explain their internal coherence).
Antirealism of this kind is a more serious option for the moral than for the scientific case. One can
intelligibly hold that moral realism is implausible because evolutionary theory is the best current
explanation of our faculties, and an evolutionary account cannot be given of how we would be able to
discover judgment-independent moral truth, if there were such a thing.1 But it would be awkward to
abandon scientific realism for analogous reasons, because one would then have to become an
antirealist about evolutionary theory as well. This would mean that evolutionary theory is inconsistent
with scientific realism and cannot be understood realistically, which seems an excessively strong
result. There would be something strange to the point of incoherence about taking scientific
naturalism as the ground for antirealism about natural science.
If we leave the assumption of realism in place, the best hope for a naturalistic response to the first
problem would be that evolutionary theory, and in particular evolutionary psychology, is in fact
capable of giving a credible account of the success of our cognitive capacities. For factual knowledge,
this is the aim of naturalized epistemology. The goal would be to explain how innate mental
capacities that were selected for their immediate adaptive value are also capable of generating,
through extended cultural evolutionary history, true theories about a law-governed natural order that
there was no adaptive need to understand earlier. The evolutionary explanation would have to be
indirect, since scientific knowledge had no role in the selection of the capacities that generated it.
The just-so story would go roughly like this. Even in the wild, it isn’t just perception and operant
conditioning that have survival value. The capacity to generalize from experience and to allow those
generalizations, or general expectations, to be confirmed or disconfirmed by subsequent experience is
also adaptive. So is a basic disposition to maintain logical consistency in belief, by modifying beliefs
when inconsistencies arise. A further, very important step would be the capacity to correct individual
appearances not only by reference to other conflicting appearances of one’s own but also by reference
to how things appear to other perceivers. That requires recognition of other minds, an ability with
obvious adaptive potential. The reach of these capacities can be greatly extended and deliberately
exercised with the help of language, which also permits knowledge to be collectively created,
accumulated, and transmitted. With language we can hold in our minds and share with others
alternative possibilities, and decide among them on the basis of their consistency or inconsistency
with further observations. Complex scientific theories that entail empirical predictions are therefore
extensions of the highly adaptive capacity to learn from experience—our own and that of others.
This story depends heavily on the supposition of a biological origin of the capacity for
nonperceptual representation through language, resulting in the ability to grasp logically complex
abstract structures. It is not easy to say how one might decide whether this could be a manifestation of
abilities that have survival value in prehistoric everyday life. In view of the mathematical
sophistication of modern physical theories, it seems highly unlikely; but perhaps the claim could be
defended.
It is even possible to tell a parallel just-so story about the compatibility between evolutionary
theory and moral realism. I am not thinking of the familiar appeal to sociobiology, with its essentially
nepotistic interpretation of innate altruistic dispositions. I am not even thinking of the explanation
through group selection of dispositions to cooperation in social creatures.2 Rather, I have in mind the
discovery of general principles of value by rational means analogous to those used elsewhere. Starting
from an understanding of innate desires and aversions as immediate impressions of value—of what is
good or bad for ourselves or our kin—the discovery of a larger, principle-governed normative domain,
or domain of practical reason, in which these immediately apparent values are situated, can again
proceed through the capacity to generalize and the disposition to avoid inconsistency.
Generalization would lead to the recognition of value in possible future experiences, in the means
to them, and in the lives of creatures other than ourselves. These values are not extra properties of
goodness and badness, but just truths such as the following: If something I do will cause another
creature to suffer, that counts against doing it. I can come to see that this is true by generalizing from
the evident disvalue of my own suffering, and once I recognize the more general truth, my motives
will be altered. If there are objective general norms of conduct, this kind of thinking would allow us to
discover them even if they are no more innate than the laws of physics. As with science, the process of
discovery would be impossible without language, interpersonal communication, and cultural memory.
In both cases, although the basic capacities employed are adaptive in their simple form, they would
permit us to transcend our starting points to discover large domains of truth quite independently of
whether such knowledge enhances fitness.
All this is very far-fetched, but no more so than much evolutionary speculation. It requires that
mutations and whatever else may be the sources of genotypic variation should generate not only
physical structures but phenomenology, desire and aversion, awareness of other minds, symbolic
representations, and logical consistency, all having essential roles in the production of behavior.
Provided we can assume some global solution to the mind-body problem that allows all this, the rest
of the story suggests that knowledge of objective scientific and moral truth, should there be such
things, could result from the exercise of capacities that, in more mundane applications, are at least not
inimical to survival. There may not be an insuperable problem of improbability, provided we accept
the evolutionary framework itself as probable.
3
However, even if we suppose for the sake of argument that some evolutionary explanation of this kind
is true, there is a further problem about thinking of our basic reasoning capacities in this way. It
emerges if we contrast the attitude we can reasonably take toward our perceptual and appetitive
systems with the attitude we can take toward our reasoning. This will lead to the second problem
identified above—the difficulty of understanding reason naturalistically.
If we suppose that there is some way to include consciousness in the evolutionary story, then we
can understand our visual system, like the visual systems of other species, to have been shaped by
natural selection. The specifics of human vision respond to aspects of the world that have been
important in the lives of our ancestors. That allows us to continue to rely on the prima facie evidence
of our senses, while recognizing that the evidence will sometimes be misleading, selective, or
distorted, and that it bears the marks of our particular biological ancestry.
Something similar is possible in our attitudes toward our intuitive judgments of probability, or
toward some of our intuitive value judgments (the desire for revenge, for example). We may come to
understand those intuitions as rough but useful unreflective responses shaped by natural selection to a
fitness-enhancing form in the circumstances in which our forebears lived and died. At the same time,
we can recognize that they may need correction or inhibition. Evolutionary self-awareness of this kind
is a common feature of our reflective attitudes toward our natural dispositions of hunger, fear, lust,
anger, and so forth.
But whenever we take such a reasonable detached attitude toward our innate dispositions, we are
implicitly engaged in a form of thought to which we do not at the same time take that detached
attitude. When we rely on systems of measurement to correct perception, or probability calculations
to correct intuitive expectations, or moral or prudential reasoning to correct instinctive impulses, we
take ourselves to be responding to systematic reasons which in themselves justify our conclusions,
and which do not get their authority from their biological origins.3 They could not be backed up in
that way. They don’t get their authority from their cultural origins, either; on the contrary, the cultural
history that has yielded their development is validated as an instance of progress only by the fact that
it has led to these methods for increasing the accuracy of our judgments.
Relying on one’s vision and relying on one’s reason are similar in one respect: in both cases, the
reliance is immediate. When I see a tree, I do not infer its existence from my experience any more
than I infer the correctness of a logical inference from the fact that I can’t help believing the
conclusion. However, there is a crucial difference: in the perceptual case I can recognize that I might
be mistaken, but on reflection, even if I think of myself as the product of Darwinian natural selection,
I am nevertheless justified in believing the evidence of my senses for the most part, because this is
consistent with the hypothesis that an accurate representation of the world around me results from
senses shaped by evolution to serve that function. That is not a refutation of radical skepticism, since
evolutionary theory, like all of science, depends on the evidence of the senses. But it does provide a
coherent picture of my place in the world that is consistent with the general reliability of such
evidence.
By contrast, in a case of reasoning, if it is basic enough, the only thing to think is that I have
grasped the truth directly. I cannot pull back from a logical inference and reconfirm it with the
reflection that the reliability of my logical thought processes is consistent with the hypothesis that
evolution has selected them for accuracy. That would drastically weaken the logical claim.
Furthermore, in the formulation of that explanation, as in the parallel explanation of the reliability of
the senses, logical judgments of consistency and inconsistency have to occur without these
qualifications, as direct apprehensions of the truth. It is not possible to think, “Reliance on my reason,
including my reliance on this very judgment, is reasonable because it is consistent with its having an
evolutionary explanation.” Therefore any evolutionary account of the place of reason presupposes
reason’s validity and cannot confirm it without circularity.
Eventually the attempt to understand oneself in evolutionary, naturalistic terms must bottom out
in something that is grasped as valid in itself—something without which the evolutionary
understanding would not be possible. Thought moves us beyond appearance to something that we
cannot regard merely as a biologically based disposition, whose reliability we can determine on other
grounds. It is not enough to be able to think that if there are logical truths, natural selection might
very well have given me the capacity to recognize them. That cannot be my ground for trusting my
reason, because even that thought implicitly relies on reason in a prior way.
We can suppose that the capacities which enable us to travel far beyond our innate dispositions in
representing and responding to the world have appeared in an ancestor and then been preserved in
subsequent generations. The appearance of these capacities has to be integrated with the evolutionary
process in that they are at least not inimical to fitness, so that they are not extinguished by natural
selection. That much seems plausible. But if I am right to think that we can’t regard them merely as
further instinctive dispositions, some other explanation is needed of what these capacities are.
Just as consciousness cannot be explained as a mere extension or complication of physical
evolution, so reason cannot be explained as a mere extension or complication of consciousness. To
explain our rationality will require something in addition to what is needed to explain our
consciousness and its evidently adaptive forms, something at a different level. Reason can take us
beyond the appearances because it has completely general validity, rather than merely local utility. If
we have it, we recognize that it can be neither confirmed nor undermined by a theory of its
evolutionary origins, nor by any other external view of itself. We cannot distance ourselves from it.
That was Descartes’ insight.
If such a thing appeared on the evolutionary menu, it could have proven its adaptive value locally.
Then, with the help of cultural deployment and development, it might have risen to its current
position of critical authority, correcting and often overruling the older promptings of perception,
instinct, and intuition, and not subject to correction by anything else. Its entrenchment and eventual
sovereignty over older instincts is comprehensible—but only if we can understand how such a thing
can exist at all.
4
This is the second problem: What is the faculty that enables us to escape from the world of
appearance presented by our prereflective innate dispositions, into the world of objective reality? And
what, besides consciousness, do we have to add to the biological story to make sense of such a
faculty?
The distinctive thing about reason is that it connects us with the truth directly. Perception connects
us with the truth only indirectly. When I see a tree, I see it because it is there, but not just because it is
there. Perception is not a form of insight: I do not grasp the presence of the tree immediately, even
though it may seem so prior to reflection. Rather I am aware of it because the tree causes a mental
effect in me in virtue of the character of my visual system, which we may suppose has been shaped by
natural selection to react in this way to light reflected from physical objects. Having such a system,
together with other perceptual and motivational dispositions, enables me to survive in the world. So it
is only in a complicated and indirect sense that when I see a tree, I see it because it is there.
But suppose I observe a contradiction among my beliefs and “see” that I must give up at least one
of them. (I am driving south in the early morning, and the sun rises on my right.) In that case, I see
that the contradictory beliefs cannot all be true, and I see it simply because it is the case. I grasp it
directly. It is not adequate to say that, faced with a contradiction, I feel the urgent need to alter my
beliefs to escape it, which is explained by the fact that avoiding contradictions, like avoiding snakes
and precipices, was fitness-enhancing for my ancestors. That would be an indirect explanation of how
the impossibility of the contradiction explains my belief that it cannot be true. But even if some of our
ancestors were prey to mere logical phobias and instincts, we have gone beyond that: We reject a
contradiction just because we see that it is impossible, and we accept a logical entailment just because
we see that it is necessarily true.
In ordinary perception, we are like mechanisms governed by a (roughly) truth-preserving
algorithm. But when we reason, we are like a mechanism that can see that the algorithm it follows is
truth-preserving. Something has happened that has gotten our minds into immediate contact with the
rational order of the world, or at least with the basic elements of that order, which can in turn be used
to reach a great deal more. That enables us to possess concepts that display the compatibility or
incompatibility