What is life and where did it come from?

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Offline thedoc

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What is life and where did it come from?
« on: 19/12/2014 14:37:55 »
A big part of finding ET is understanding what life actually is.
We speak
to Nick Lane to find out how life and non-life are distinguished
Read a transcript of the interview by clicking here

or [chapter podcast=1000861 track=14.09.28/Naked_Scientists_Show_14.09.30_1002762.mp3] Listen to it now[/chapter] or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 19/12/2014 14:37:55 by _system »

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #1 on: 30/09/2014 23:58:42 »
The essence of life seems to be a local reversal of mesoscopic entropy.

Where did it come from? Why would anyone think it came from anywhere else? The conditions for the continuation of life seem to be fairly narrow, yet widely available on the surface of this planet, so evolution is most likely to have begun here. The question is whether it started first on the hard surface or (more likely in my uninformed opinion) on the sea bed.
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Offline chiralSPO

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #2 on: 01/10/2014 00:40:09 »
Alan, I have to respectfully disagree.

There are many spontaneous local reversals of entropy, including crystallization, condensation, accretion (even on planet scale). There are also many patterns that self propagate. There's more to it than that.

Also, a tortoise in the galapagos could be forgiven for thinking that all life was particularly well evolved for life on his rock, and therefore must have begun there. I'm not saying that I know of any evidence that we originated elsewhere, but the possibility cannot be dismissed just because it looks like life is too well adapted, and requires conditions found only on Earth (as far as we know for certain so far).

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Offline PmbPhy

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #3 on: 01/10/2014 05:35:51 »
Quote from: alancalverd
The essence of life seems to be a local reversal of mesoscopic entropy.
Someday we'll all have to sit down and decide when a definition of the terms that we use here is required. Lol!

Tell me something, Alan. What in the world is mesoscopic entropy and why should it have anything to do with life? I myself tend to believe there is a relation to energy and life but I've never had the time to sit down and seriously think about it.

Quote from: alancalverd
Where did it come from? Why would anyone think it came from anywhere else? The conditions for the continuation of life seem to be fairly narrow, yet widely available on the surface of this planet, so evolution is most likely to have begun here. The question is whether it started first on the hard surface or (more likely in my uninformed opinion) on the sea bed.
I myself think that life started off as something quite different than what we think of when we think of life and then the method of propagating  change worked itself and then evolution.

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Offline PmbPhy

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #4 on: 01/10/2014 05:42:51 »
Quote from: chiralSPO
Alan, I have to respectfully disagree.

There are many spontaneous local reversals of entropy, including crystallization, condensation, accretion (even on planet scale). There are also many patterns that self propagate. There's more to it than that.
In this context this is known as negative entropy. Schrodinger wrote a book called What is Life? in 1944 which has something to do with entropy. Not sure what though. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_and_life

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #5 on: 01/10/2014 09:59:11 »

There are many spontaneous local reversals of entropy, including crystallization, condensation, accretion (even on planet scale). There are also many patterns that self propagate. There's more to it than that.


It's misleading to think of entropy simply as disorder. It's really about probability. So a crystal, whilst being highly ordered, is in a lower energy state than a liquid of the same material and thus, at any temperature below its melting point, more probable.

However we look at living things, they are extremely improbable and locally out of equilibrium with their environment. But they do die, exhale, and generally cause chaos. Ergo mesoscopically and locally (both in space and time) negatively entropic even though their components are microscopically obeying all the usual Gibbs equations.
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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #6 on: 01/10/2014 13:51:13 »
Life is a vague term.

From the point of view of how it works, the biological species could be considered automatic robots of some sorts executing a code in-scripted in their DNA, i.e., a biological individual might be a mecanical-hydrodynaqmical-biochemical-electroddynamical robot composed of trillions of cellular sized micro-robots.

However, what is striking about biological species is that their brain create an internal representation of the world accesible only from 1st person perspective of the raw sensation of something. It seems to me that this internal representation of things put together by our brain [which from 1st person perspective 'it-feels-like-something' while for 3rd person perspective there is no feelings at all]  has to be related to the capacity of biological species to be/have conscious (or self-conscious).

The most important aspect regarding biological species sufficiently evolved to have nervous system is their consciousness (and self-consciousness for most evolved species).
« Last Edit: 01/10/2014 13:54:00 by flr »

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Offline PmbPhy

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #7 on: 01/10/2014 14:36:25 »
Quote from: flr
Life is a vague term.
I disagree.

Quote from: flr
From the point of view of how it works, the biological species could be considered automatic robots of some sorts executing a code in-scripted in their DNA, i.e., a biological individual might be a mecanical-hydrodynaqmical-biochemical-electroddynamical robot composed of trillions of cellular sized micro-robots.
Its actually for this reason that think that life is a well defined term in that its automata, i.e. little organic robots.

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #8 on: 01/10/2014 17:06:27 »
OK, if life is not a vague term, please define it!
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Offline PmbPhy

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #9 on: 01/10/2014 17:37:44 »
Quote from: alancalverd
OK, if life is not a vague term, please define it!
This type of query is a common error in both math and science. It assumes that just because something is not vague then there must be a clear definition to it.

A perfect example from math is the term set. People try to define a set as a collection of objects but all that does is require us to define the term "collection" thus putting us back in the same place that we started from.
« Last Edit: 01/10/2014 18:19:34 by PmbPhy »

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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #10 on: 02/10/2014 16:31:40 »
Wouldn't life have a special [extra]meaning because it can lead to conscious creatures?

Without self-aware creature how will be universe in 10^1000 (which might consists mainly in a soup of photons) be more interesting that today's universe that is highly structured, since the same law of nature apply anyway.?

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #11 on: 05/10/2014 21:37:08 »
OK, if life is not a vague term, please define it!

So I'll answer my own question. Life is the common property of living things. Now that remains undefined but at least it refers to something that can be defined since we can define the characteristic actions of a living thing, or we can list all things that we call living.

You might argue that there are still unresolved borders: is a virus alive? Not really a problem because the initial categorisation was only for convenience, as with species. We can look at another abstract noun: beauty. Yes, it's the common property of beautiful things, and we can list a whole lot of people, animals, sunsets and artefacts that everyone agrees as beautiful, but there will be unresolved borders.

So if you want to get mathematical, life is the characteristic of a fuzzy set. And I won't define fuzzy or set! 
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Offline Bill S

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #12 on: 07/10/2014 22:42:29 »
This might add some thoughts to the mix.

http://www.englandlab.com/uploads/7/8/0/3/7803054/2013jcpsrep.pdf

“Self-replication is a capacity common to every species of living thing, and simple physical intuition dictates that such a process must invariably be fueled by the production of entropy.”
There never was nothing.

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Offline Ethos_

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #13 on: 07/10/2014 23:54:15 »


So if you want to get mathematical, life is the characteristic of a fuzzy set. And I won't define fuzzy or set!
I detect a genuine brilliance in that statement alan, but if I may, I would like to add one small addition.

"Life is the characteristic of a fuzzy set that makes the futile attempt at resisting entropy."

« Last Edit: 07/10/2014 23:56:55 by Ethos_ »
"The more things change, the more they remain the same."

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #14 on: 08/10/2014 19:05:26 »
This might add some thoughts to the mix.

http://www.englandlab.com/uploads/7/8/0/3/7803054/2013jcpsrep.pdf

“Self-replication is a capacity common to every species of living thing, .”


....except for the mule, hybrid roses, GM rice, several humans.... The problem is that "species" is undefined but generally (but not exclusively) used to retrospectively label a group that has reasonably successfully reproduced. Sexual reproduction pretty well guarantees nonreplication, and if exact replication were the order of living things, there would have been no evolution. The best we can say in this line is that some living things beget more living things, which isn't much of a definition.   
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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #15 on: 08/10/2014 19:36:52 »
How about consciousness. If we would find a crystal able to have a conversation with us, would it be 'alive'?
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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #16 on: 08/10/2014 23:00:02 »
If I was allowed to make one rule for this and every discussion forum, for all time, it would be to remove any post that uses the word "consciousness" without defining it.

I have yet to enjoy a conversation with a slug or the lettuce it is eating, yet to the best of my knowledge they are both alive. On the other hand, mediums and churchgoers claim to have conversations with people who are dead, or entities that never existed.
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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #17 on: 09/10/2014 17:47:46 »
heh, slightly arid (as in dry that is :) response there my dear Alan.
You do have a point, and i think I agree, although that also depends on what we mean by consciousness? If we now would include the slug? what is 'self aware'? Is that a acceptable definition of consciousness? Is that just me having a problem with defining it as carbon based? then again, a crystal might not be the best definition if so :)
=
Nomenclature sux at times.
« Last Edit: 09/10/2014 17:50:02 by yor_on »
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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #18 on: 09/10/2014 19:08:15 »
There are very simple machines that are self-aware but far from alive. My present car engine checks its state of health and won't let me drive too fast if it isn't feeling completely happy. I have disconnected the bit that stops me driving into things (reversing sonar that can activate the brake) but the gadget that stops the wheels spinning or locking seems to be quite handy, as are the automatic windscreen wipers. In short, the car knows how to protect itself and its occupants from major trauma, and is aware of its relationship with its rapidly changing environment. Slugs are even more clever, though a bit short of defence mechanisms. 
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Offline jeffreyH

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #19 on: 09/10/2014 21:09:26 »
OK define unconsciousness.
Fixation on the Einstein papers is a good definition of OCD.

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Offline Bill S

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #20 on: 09/10/2014 22:21:26 »
Quote
....it would be to remove any post that uses the word "consciousness" without defining it.



It's those annoying intervals between sleeps.
There never was nothing.

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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #21 on: 10/10/2014 18:18:44 »
How about consciousness.

I believe this is the key question.
Is consciousness a result of the physical processes taking place in the brain? Can consciousness be fully explained by what happens in brain?
Neuroscience identified neuronal connections for certain basic conscious processes, however it cannot explain why passing of ions/e- through a certain neuronal pathway result in subjective experience of one particular person. 

Many critical biological processes are controlled by brain at subconscious level (such as heart rate, breathing, sugar level in blood, etc).
Why then haven't nature produced only philosophical zombies?

Quote
If we would find a crystal able to have a conversation with us, would it be 'alive'?

It could also be a smart computer program, in which case does not need to be 'alive'.
How could we know if it has conscious or it is just a smart computer code/bot?

-----




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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #22 on: 10/10/2014 18:22:19 »
That's one interpretations of what self aware could be. Another might be when you're aware about yourself, think I saw some writing that monkeys seems to know that they were looking at themselves, when looking in a mirror. Some other animals just don't make that connection, So let's go get back to that crystal again (ahem, not carbon based though) showing it a mirror :)

the darn thin should be deciding if it notice though? I've seen it said somewhere that crystals are notoriously bad in showing their emotions. Still, even so it might be self aware.
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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #23 on: 10/10/2014 18:27:26 »
And yeah, a Turing machine of sorts. But if it evolved naturally, wouldn't that be intelligence?
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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #24 on: 10/10/2014 18:37:24 »
OK define unconsciousness.

there is something it is like to be in that state from a subjective or first-person point of view.

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #25 on: 10/10/2014 18:39:29 »

Is consciousness a result of the physical processes taking place in the brain? Can consciousness be fully explained by what happens in brain?


Tell us what it is, and we'll find out how it works.
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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #26 on: 10/10/2014 18:51:43 »
And yeah, a Turing machine of sorts. But if it evolved naturally, wouldn't that be intelligence?

There may be a fundamental difference between Turning machine and awareness.

A Turning machine can only solve problems that can be put in algorithm. Algorithm means automatic, i.e. a pre-established way to traverse a tree; like a robot.  A turning machine cannot solve by itself the halting problem, while our mind instantaneously can.

I believe Rodger Penrose got this right: there is something fundamentally non-computable in the way our mind works.

It seems to me that what evolved naturally it is more than a Turning machine. It is something that could sense that from a subjective 1st person view that something it is like to be in that particular state. Turning machines cannot do that: to sense that there is something it is like to be in that particular state.   

« Last Edit: 10/10/2014 18:55:41 by flr »

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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #27 on: 10/10/2014 18:52:31 »
As for "Is consciousness a result of the physical processes taking place in the brain? Can consciousness be fully explained by what happens in brain?"

I like the idea of emergences myself. Seen it defined as what can not be back tracked to its constituents solely. The emergent new pattern have a complexity of its own. Defined so thoughts are an emergence. It makes the idea of 'consciousness' versus entropy really interesting.
=

It's not so that you can have one without the other. You need entropy, you need causality, you need a arrow to gain this new 'emergence' of thoughts. If we on the other hand speak of 'superpositions' I also understands it as we can assume a 'universal superposition', describing the whole universe, in all its states, before outcome(s)  (depending on how you see that/those later state(s)).

that can actually be thought of as a 'mind state' too, although then purely subjectively (non scientifically) described, the one in where you 'stop thinking', very popular in Zen meditation. It's not the same really, but to me it seem to have similarities.
« Last Edit: 10/10/2014 19:21:00 by yor_on »
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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #28 on: 10/10/2014 18:57:27 »
I was thinking of the Turing test there actually.  the one where you can't decide if it is a machine or a human you talk too. If we know 'sci fi' :) would get to talk to a 'rock' of some sort, using this test to decide. would that make the rock more 'evolutionary intelligent' than the example in where we would code a computer artificially. It's a side track though.
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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #29 on: 10/10/2014 19:08:17 »
The point using emergences may be that you're correct in one way, as is Penrose. This consciousness, intelligence, etc is more than the sum of its parts. And it is just that that fascinates me :)

On the other tentacle, what an emergence seem to state is that it is a logical process from underlying causes, meaning that it can come from 'anywhere', if the right pre-combination existing. that's what i mean by wondering if it has to be carbon based.
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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #30 on: 10/10/2014 19:26:15 »
If I understand correctly the emergencies could be understood (at least the weak one). For example we can deterministically explain/trace-back the wet-ability of water from only 2 water molecules. If the emergent property is the result of the collective motion of thousands/millions of molecules, that collective motion can be identified and therefore the emergence understood and no explanatory gap left.

In the case of consciousness the question is: how a circuit element (in brain) generate (say) redness and aware perception of redness? There still seems to be an explanatory gap between the flow of ions/e- on a certain path (in brain) and the aware perception of redness arising with/from that ion/e- flow.   



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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #31 on: 10/10/2014 19:30:00 »
Not really. "In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is conceived as a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties." Sure, we know the constituents, but what they present us with emerging is new information.
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Offline Ethos_

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #32 on: 10/10/2014 19:32:31 »


It could also be a smart computer program, in which case does not need to be 'alive'.


-----
Depending upon the level of intelligence our friendly computer had, that statement could well be argued with.
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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #33 on: 10/10/2014 19:41:41 »
Most of the things you feel, touch, smell and taste should be results of emergences. Like sugar being a logical shape of molecules, fitting receptors in your mouth, your brain emerging with a taste of 'sweetness'. Just as you dip your hand in a glass of water, to find a wetness.
=

Sweetness and sugar is actually a very good description of a emergence, as an artificial sweetener only have to have a better geometric fit to my mouths receptors to make me find my coffee disgustingly 'sweet', all as I understands it.
« Last Edit: 10/10/2014 20:01:42 by yor_on »
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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #34 on: 10/10/2014 20:01:07 »
Not really. "emergence is conceived as a process whereby larger entities, ... simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties."

Then it is possible to conceive the emergent properties from simpler elements that do not have it. The emergent property does not came as a mystery, instead it could be conceived. It does not came as a mystery out of nowhere, there has to be some logic connections with the parts that could be traced out.

Also, I would argue that in the case of weak emergencies conceived=deterministically understood.

Quote
Like sugar being a logical shape of molecules, fitting receptors in your mouth, you brain emerging with a taste of 'sweetness'

You skipped a step, the most important one. After tasting a candy the signal from receptors is transited to the brain. Then the neurons in brain will fire up in a certain pattern. The feel of sweetness is strongly correlated with this particular pattern of electric flow through axons in the brain (indeed, if this neuronal pattern is disrupted I may not feel any sweetness).
Why a feel of sweetness appears from a certain electrical pattern? How an electric pattern generate a subjective experience of sweetness? How could we conceive the feel of sweetness from an electric pattern?




 


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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #35 on: 10/10/2014 20:06:08 »
You could ask the same from the geometric shape it need to have. Because that is pure geometry as I get it, not chemistry as such. Defining it that way, 'thoughts' definitely belong there too.
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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #36 on: 10/10/2014 20:14:44 »
What you seem to wonder about is whether you could define some  emergence to a specific electrochemical stimulation of the brain though? And that I think should be possible, but I'm not sure? If we use the geometry as a pointer then it is the geometry, shouldn't matter what molecules that geometry consist of, to make the brain emerge with 'sweet!!!'. And it is also so that I think, although not a hundred percent sure, that this 'sweet' experience is more than a cultural, social experience, It's what I think 'hardwired' into the brain.
« Last Edit: 10/10/2014 20:32:04 by yor_on »
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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #37 on: 11/10/2014 00:38:07 »
What you seem to wonder about is whether you could define some  emergence to a specific electrochemical stimulation of the brain though?
How and why a certain neuronal firing pattern generate the feel of sweetness?
How and why an electrochemical circuit in brain generates 1st person subjective feeling? Why not that neuronal firing pattern 'go dark' and no-one experiences nothing?

I guess I am just skeptic that the Identity Theory is sufficient.

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #38 on: 11/10/2014 07:22:35 »
I have begun to wonder whether the Turing test is just a tautology.

Turing began with a need to define intelligent behaviour, and settled on "behaviour indistinguishable from a human being". Like it or not, this depends on two factors: the ability of the machine to behave, and the ability of a person to distinguish between two responses.

Consider a simple mechanical test. Switch on a light in a dark room. We sort of expect humans and indeed all animals and plants to be attracted towards the light, and we would distinguish a vampire or a zombie by its turning away from the light. Both are intelligent responses, inasmuch as they are voluntary (OK, the plant case is debatable, but sunflowers rotate anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere) actions associated with the survival of the subject, but we have prejudged one of them as being nonhuman, so it would fail the Turing test. 

Now walk into a starlit field and ask "where's the rabbit?" A human would say "I have no idea" and a dog would find it by smell and sound and bring it back to you. Widely different responses, but which one is the more intelligent? Turing foresaw some of this problem by limiting his test to text input and output, but surely the underlying criterion of intelligence here is "the ability to surprise the questioner".   

So what Turing comes down to is "two things are indistinguishable if you can't distinguish between them".
« Last Edit: 11/10/2014 11:23:46 by alancalverd »
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Offline chiralSPO

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #39 on: 11/10/2014 18:00:14 »
Consciousness and awareness may just be illusions. I recently read an interesting op ed by the author of the book Consciousness and the Social Brain on the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/opinion/sunday/are-we-really-conscious.html?action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article).

This professor of psychology and cognition at Princeton believes that our "self awareness" is just a mental construct, and that we don't actually perceive as much as we think we do. An interesting read.

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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #40 on: 12/10/2014 17:46:05 »
Consciousness and awareness may just be illusions.
I am very sure that I have aware thought now as I am writing this post. Actually that is the most important quality that I posses: to became aware of the environment and of myself.
Another example: I am quite sure I was clearly aware of a hunger feeling before having my breakfast this morning.

Indeed, only objective aspects can be a study of science however that does not mean we should  deny the [1st person view] subjective aspect of consciousness. It is not even necessary....

The eliminitivists argue that other theories of consciousness are based on intuition and the intuition can be wrong therefore we shall not trust those theories.
 However eliminitivists' theory is also based on their own intuition (see the double standard here?) .

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Finally, if the consciousness does not exist or it is just an illusion then that paper (the link you pointed) was not the result of the aware thoughts of a sentient being. Then why should I even care about it?

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A lazy way to 'solve' a problem is to pretend the problem does not exists in the first place.
« Last Edit: 12/10/2014 17:49:40 by flr »

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Offline chiralSPO

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #41 on: 14/10/2014 15:55:38 »
Consciousness and awareness may just be illusions.
I am very sure that I have aware thought now as I am writing this post. Actually that is the most important quality that I posses: to became aware of the environment and of myself.
Another example: I am quite sure I was clearly aware of a hunger feeling before having my breakfast this morning.

Indeed, only objective aspects can be a study of science however that does not mean we should  deny the [1st person view] subjective aspect of consciousness. It is not even necessary....

The eliminitivists argue that other theories of consciousness are based on intuition and the intuition can be wrong therefore we shall not trust those theories.
 However eliminitivists' theory is also based on their own intuition (see the double standard here?) .

===
Finally, if the consciousness does not exist or it is just an illusion then that paper (the link you pointed) was not the result of the aware thoughts of a sentient being. Then why should I even care about it?

====
PS.
A lazy way to 'solve' a problem is to pretend the problem does not exists in the first place.

I am not saying that it is certainly an illusion and doesn't require further study, but I do think that is a possibility that shouldn't be discounted off-hand. Our current understanding of consciousness may be akin to the 19th century's understanding of the Ether--something that must be there to allow light to propagate, but cannot be measured in any way--ultimately we learned that it was a problem with the model, and there was no Ether, not that it was impossible to observe/measure/study it.

I see three possibilities: consciousness is real and can be explained by (materialist) science; consciousness is real but cannot be measured in any way other than experiencing it; or consciousness is not actually real, or at least, is very different from what we think it is. At this point I don't think there is enough data to support any of these over the others.

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Offline chiralSPO

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #42 on: 14/10/2014 19:20:07 »
Consciousness and awareness may just be illusions.
I am very sure that I have aware thought now as I am writing this post. Actually that is the most important quality that I posses: to became aware of the environment and of myself.
Another example: I am quite sure I was clearly aware of a hunger feeling before having my breakfast this morning.


Also, one must consider the malleability of awareness, both of self and of the surroundings. A common effect of psychedelics such as mescaline, psilocybin, DMT or LSD in high doses is "depersonalization," in which someone either loses their concept of self, or dissociates it from their bodies (they may identify as an object, their surroundings or the universe). This could be taken as evidence that our minds are separate from our bodies, or it could be taken as evidence of the limitations of our perceptions.

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Offline flr

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #43 on: 14/10/2014 20:27:11 »
But the 'receiver' of the aware experience is still the same even if the aware experience is perceived as somewhat modified.

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #44 on: 16/10/2014 17:56:34 »
Heard a guy pointing out that we only have a limited amount of different receptors when it comes to drugs. As I gathered it his point was that there are a lot of possible 'drugs' that have no effect at all on us as we lack the equipment to experience them. And what I think it knits to is your argument flr, that there always should be 'something' experiencing it.
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Offline yor_on

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #45 on: 17/10/2014 17:04:02 »
I'll make a argument now :)

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #46 on: 20/10/2014 22:58:17 »
We have departed from the original question, and settled on a debate about consciousness.

I think an important piece of this debate that has only tangentially been brought up, is which beings have consciousness and which do not?

Are only humans conscious? If so, at what point did the first human have its first conscious thought? Are humans conscious from conception on, or does it "turn on"? Can it turn off?

Are other animals conscious? If so, which? How can we tell? Perhaps plants are conscious... perhaps computers are conscious, we just can't know the answer to any of these questions if consciousness is only self detecting. How do I know you are conscious--do I take you at your word?

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Offline alancalverd

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #47 on: 20/10/2014 23:01:55 »
Are other animals conscious?

Tell us what the word means, and we'll come up with an answer.
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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #48 on: 21/10/2014 03:48:09 »
Are other animals conscious?

Tell us what the word means, and we'll come up with an answer.

I think the responsibility of defining consciousness lies squarely on those positing that there is such a thing.

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Offline PmbPhy

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Re: What is life and where did it come from?
« Reply #49 on: 21/10/2014 05:38:58 »
I'd say that anything which can be asleep can also be conscious.