Major Bombshell : Manifesto For A Post-Materialistic Science :

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Offline DonQuichotte

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


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

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

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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



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



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


You haven't done your homework well , Cheryl :

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

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

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

Try to apply positivism to QM lol

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Offline Ethos_

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

First define consciousness, then provide evidence why it can't be understood thru the workings of the nervous system.
"The more things change, the more they remain the same."

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Offline DonQuichotte

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



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


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

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

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

Watch the following on the subject then : 

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

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

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



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Offline DonQuichotte

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


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

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

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

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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Offline dlorde

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

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

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

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Offline cheryl j

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

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

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

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Offline alancalverd

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


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

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Offline cheryl j

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

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Volitional effort is effort of attention :

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

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

Source : Psychology : A Briefer Course by William James

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Offline DonQuichotte

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

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

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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

Same source .

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Offline DonQuichotte

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

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

In short :

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

In other words :

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

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

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

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


Another comment on amazon.com :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Final thought for today at least :

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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alancalverd :

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

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

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Offline alancalverd

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

And so another day passes.
helping to stem the tide of ignorance

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Offline dlorde

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

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

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Offline dlorde

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

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Offline Ethos_

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

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

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Offline cheryl j

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

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

In short :

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

In other words :

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




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

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

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

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

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

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Offline DonQuichotte

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Evidence III : For How The Mind Can Change The Brain Through The Will via The Effort of Attention ::

"...The following year, another team of neuroscientists confirmed that attention exerts real, physical effects. This time, they looked not for increased neuronal activity but for something that often goes along with it: blood flow.

 After all, blood carries oxygen to neurons just as it does to every other cell in the body. Just as a muscle engaged in strenuous aerobic activity is a glutton for oxygen, so a neuron that’s firing away needs a voluminous supply of the stuff. In the 1991 experiment, some subjects were instructed to pay attention to vibrations applied to the tips of their fingers, while others were not. The researchers found that, in the subjects paying attention to the vibrations, activation in the somatosensory cortex region representing the fingertips increased 13 percent compared to activation in subjects receiving the identical stimulation but not paying attention. It was another early hint that paying attention to some attribute of the sensed world—colors, movements, shapes, faces, feels, or anything else—affects the regions of the brain that passively process that stimulus. Attention, then, is not some fuzzy, ethereal concept. It acts back on the physical structure and activity of the brain. Attending to one sense, such as vision, does not simply kick up the activity in the region of the brain in charge of that sense. It also reduces activity in regions responsible for other senses.

 If you are really concentrating on the little black lines and curves on this white page, you are less likely to feel someone brush against you, or to hear someone speaking in the background. When you watch a ballet, if you’re focusing on the choreography, you don’t hear the music so well. If you’re deep in conversation at a noisy party and your partner in dialogue has a deep baritone voice, it is probable that those parts of your auditory cortex that are tuned to low frequency will get an extra activation boost; at the same time, regions of the auditory cortex that process sopranos are likely turned down, with the result that you may literally not hear (that is, be conscious of) a high-pitched voice across the room.
Attention, as the neuroscientist Ian Robertson of Trinity College Dublin says, “can sculpt brain activity by turning up or down the rate at which particular sets of synapses fire.

And since we know that firing a set of synapses again and again makes [them] grow…stronger, it follows that attention is an important ingredient” for neuroplasticity, a point we will return to later. For now, it is enough simply to emphasize that paying attention to a particular mode of sensation increases cerebral activity in the brain region that registers that sensation. More generally, the way an individual willfully focuses attention has systematic effects on brain function, amplifying activity in particular brain circuits." 

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Evidence IV :

"....A growing body of evidence demonstrates that mindfulness itself may be a key factor in the activating process. In one fascinating experiment, Dick Passingham of Oxford University and colleagues at London’s Institute of Neurology compared the brain activity of a young man as he tried to figure out a mystery sequence on a keypad, to the brain activity after he had mastered it.

All the man was told was that he had to figure out which sequence of eight keys was correct. He did it by trial and error: when he pressed an incorrect key, a low-pitched tone sounded, much as hearing a sour note tells you that you have hit the wrong key on a piano. When he pressed a correct one, a high-pitched tone sounded. Now he both had to remember the correct key and figure out the next one, and the next six after that. Throughout his trial-and-error ordeal, PET scans showed, the man’s brain was ablaze with activity. In particular, the prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, anterior cingulate, caudate, and cerebellum were very active; all are involved in planning, thinking, and moving.

When the young man finally worked out the correct sequence, he was instructed to keep tapping it out until he could do so effortlessly and without error. After an hour, though he was beginning to rebel at the boredom of it all, his fingers could fly over the keypad as if on automatic pilot. In fact, they were: he could tap out the sequence flawlessly while verbally repeating strings of six digits, or even while generating lists of verbs.

The effortless automaticity was reflected in a marked change in his brain: according to the PET scan, the man’s brain had shut off the lights in numerous regions as if they were offices at quitting time. Although his brain was still remembering the eight keys in order, and signaling the fingers how to move, the mental and cerebral activity behind that output had diminished dramatically. Only motor regions, which command the fingers to move, remained active.

Passingham then took the experimental step that really caught my eye because of its implications for my own nascent theory of directed mental force. What happens in the brain, he asked, if the person carrying out an automatic task suddenly makes a special effort to pay attention to that task? The PET scan kicked out the answer. When the young man again focused on the now-automatic keypad movements, his prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate jerked awake, becoming metabolically active once again. This is a finding of tremendous importance, for it shows that mindful awareness has an activating effect on the brain, lighting it up.

The take-home message of Passingham’s studies is that willfully engaging in mindful awareness while performing an automatic task activates the actionmonitoring circuitry of the prefrontal cortex. It is this activation that can transform us from automatons to members in good standing of the species Homo sapiens (from Latin sapere, “to be wise”). Given the strong evidence for the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in the willful selection of self-initiated responses, the importance of knowing we can modulate the brain activity in that very area with a healthy dose of mindfulness can’t be overstated."

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Evidence V:


"....More evidence for the capacity of willfully directed attention to activate a specialized brain region has come from Nancy Kanwisher’s lab at MIT. She and others had already demonstrated that a specific brain area, located where the temporal and occipital lobes meet, is specialized for processing the appearance of faces.

Kanwisher had named this the fusiform face area. Does the appearance of a face activate this area automatically, or can you modulate that activity through attention? To find out, Kanwisher’s team had eight volunteers view a screen that briefly displayed two faces and two houses simultaneously. Before the images appeared, the researchers told each volunteer to take note of the faces in some trials, or of the houses in others. All four images appeared each time but stayed on the screen for a mere one-fifth of a second. Then the volunteers had to determine whether the cued items (faces or houses) were a matching pair. They were able to do this accurately a little more than three quarters of the time.

The key finding: the brain’s specialized face-detecting area was significantly more activated when the subjects were actively looking at faces to see whether they matched than when the faces were only viewed passively because the houses were the cued target. In other words,although both the faces and the houses impinged on the retina and the rest of the visual system (including the fusiform face area), choosing actively to focus attention on the face instantly ramped up activity in the brain’s specialized face-recognition area. Its activity, that is, is not strictly automatic, “but depends instead on the allocation of voluntary attention,” as the MIT team stated it.

Their subsequent work has shown that attention can also ramp up activity in the brain’s specialized area for recognizing places, including houses and buildings. And it’s not only attention to the outside world that reaches us through our senses that causes such increased activity. Similar activations occur when you conjure up an image in your mind’s eye. Thus the willful act of forming a mental image of a familiar face or place with your eyes closed selectively activates the very same face or place area of the brain that seeing the face or place with your eyes does. “We are not passive recipients but active participants in our own process of perception,” Kanwisher summed up."

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Further Comment :



"...It is pretty clear, then, that attention can control the brain’s sensory processing. But it can do something else, too, something that we only hinted at in our discussion of neuroplasticity. It is a commonplace observation that our perceptions and actions do not take place in a vacuum. Rather, they occur on a stage set that has been concocted from the furniture of our minds.

If your mind has been primed with the theory of pointillism (the use of tiny dots of primary colors to generate secondary colors), then you will see a Seurat painting in a very different way than if you are ignorant of his technique. Yet the photons of light reflecting off the Seurat and impinging on your retina, there to be conveyed as electrical impulses into your visual cortex, are identical to the photons striking the retina of a less knowledgeable viewer, as well as of one whose mind is distracted. The three viewers “see” very different paintings. Information reaches the brain from the outside world, yes—but in “an everchanging context of internal representations,” as Mike Merzenich put it. Mental states matter.

 Every stimulus from the world outside impinges on a consciousness that is predisposed to accept it, or to ignore it. We can therefore go further: not only do mental states matter to the physical activity of the brain, but they can contribute to the final perception even more powerfully than the stimulus itself.

Neuroscientists are (sometimes reluctantly) admitting mental states into their models for a simple reason: the induction of cortical plasticity discussed in the previous chapters is no more the simple and direct product of particular cortical stimuli than the perception of the Seurat painting is unequivocally determined by the objective pattern of photons emitted from its oil colors: quite the contrary."

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Evidence VI :



"....I happened on a paper by Mike Merzenich and Rob deCharms that fortified my belief that attention is the mechanism by which the mind effects the expression of volition. The two UCSF scientists noted that when an individual pays attention to some stimulus, the neurons in the cerebral cortex that represent this object show increased activation.

But Merzenich and deCharms took this observation further. In addition, they noted, “the pattern of activity of neurons in sensory areas can be altered by patterns of attention, leading to measured shifts in receptive fields or tuning of individual neurons.” If individual neurons can be tuned to different stimuli, depending on the mind’s attentional state, they concluded, then “entire spatial maps across the cortical surface are systematically distorted by attention…[which] implies a rapid remapping of the representational functions of the cortex.”

The cortex, that is, is as subject to remapping through attention as it is through the changes in sensory input described in our survey of neuroplasticity. In addition, in all three of the cortical systems where scientists have documented neuroplasticity—the primary auditory cortex, somatosensory cortex, and motor cortex—the variable determining whether or not the brain changes is not the sensory input itself but, crucially, the attentional state of the animal.

 In 1993 Merzenich showed that passive stimulation alone simply did not cut it. He and his students repeatedly exposed monkeys to specific sound frequencies. When the monkeys were trained to pay attention, the result was the expected tonotopic reorganization of the auditory cortex: the representation of the repeatedly heard frequency expanded.

But when the monkeys were distracted by another task, and so were paying little or no attention to the tones piped into their ears, no such tonotopic expansion occurred. Inputs that the monkey does not pay attention to fail to produce long-term cortical changes; closely attended behaviors and inputs do. Let me repeat: when stimuli identical to those that induce plastic changes in an attending brain are instead delivered to a nonattending brain, there is no induction of cortical plasticity. Attention, in other words, must be paid.


Since attention is generally considered an internally generated state, it seems that neuroscience has tiptoed up to a conclusion that would be right at home in the canon of some of the Eastern philosophies: introspection, willed attention, subjective state—pick your favorite description of an internal mental state—can redraw the contours of the mind, and in so doing can rewire the circuits of the brain, for it is attention that makes neuroplasticity possible. The role of attention throws into stark relief the power of mind over brain, for it is a mental state (attention) that has the ability to direct neuroplasticity. In so doing, it has the power to alter the very landscape of the brain.

 “Experience coupled with attention leads to physical changes in the structure and future functioning of the nervous system,” Merzenich and deCharms concluded. “This leaves us with a clear physiological fact… moment by moment we choose and sculpt how our ever-changing minds will work, we choose who we will be the next moment in a very real sense, and these choices are left embossed in physical form on
our material selves.” "

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Evidence VII :



"...Similarly, Ed Taub had shown that the more stroke patients concentrated on their tasks—the more they paid attention—the greater their functional reorganization and recovery. In stroke patients who sustain damage to the prefrontal cortex, and whose attention systems are therefore impaired, recovery is much less likely. Two months after the stroke, a simple measure of attention, such as the patient’s ability to count tones presented through headphones, predicts almost uncannily how well the patient will recover motor function.

The power of attention, that is, determines whether a stroke patient will remain incapacitated or not. Ian Robertson’s research group at Trinity College found much the same thing: “How well people can pay attention just after a right-brain stroke predicts how well they can use their left hands two years later.” If the attention circuits in the frontal lobes are damaged by the stroke, the patient recovers less well from injury to other regions of the brain than if the frontal lobes are spared."

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Offline DonQuichotte

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

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


Well, then read my above posted evidence to the contrary of what you were saying here above , to see for yourself : prepare yourself for a surprise, big time  :

Your baseless and blind confidence in all that related materialistic  non-sense on the subject will be shaken, big time :

It has been proved ,via many experiments mentioned here above and more , that the mind can alter the structure or anatomy and physiology of the brain through the effort of volition via the effort of attention or focus : that's called self-directed neuroplasticity .

Volitional effort is effort of attention thus .

That evidence that supports Schwartz' prior discovery in relation to the causal and active role of the effort of the mindful will through the effort of the focus or attention (It's all in the power of  focus ) , that Schwartz ' discovery thus in relation to the causal efficacy of the will through the effort of focus in changing the brain, has been used to help patients who suffer from obsessive-compulsory  disorder , for example , (OCD ) , or who suffer from anxiety , depression , phobias and many other disorders , in order to help them learn how to rewire their brains in healthy ways ,by using Schwartz' developed steps -therapy to relabel their intrusive or compulsory , habitual thoughts for what they actually are (just brain disorders )  , to learn to refocus away from them on healthier thoughts and action , to revalue them for what they are (brain disorders without reality or power ) ...

By regularily practicing those steps , for example, patients can rewire their brains in healthy ways  by strengthening the new neural pathways via the effort of mindful volitional focus away from those intrusive or compulsory thoughts ,and therefore by weakening the wired habitual old ones ...

Brain scans of those patients who underwent that therapy ,before and after the therapy thus, showed significant changes in their brains accordingly .
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 17:47:38 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline cheryl j

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


"...Selectively focusing attention on target images significantly enhances neuronal responses to them. This is especially true when nearby stimuli, if not for the power of attention, would distract us....

Selective attention is a great example of top down control, and doesn't require any immaterial element.

The brain is set in a specific state or working mode according to requirements that are updated from the outside world dynamically.  The construction of a subjective percept (what am I looking for and why am I looking for it? ) involves making the best sense of sensory inputs based on a set of hypotheses or constraints derived by prior knowledge and contextual influences.

Top-down expectations and hypotheses are initially set by feedforward information, the sensory evidence. The brain has an abundance of two way tracts that allows complex information at higher stages of processing to influence processing, or select for information information to attend to, from lower stages. The flow of information from higher- to lower-order cortical areas plays a role equal in importance to the feedforward pathways. There is no starting point for information flow. You can't point to any part of the loop and say the cause is here, and the effect is there.

Criticism of material mechanisms in neuroscience always seem to be wildly neglectful of the dynamic nature of mental activity, and approach the material construction of the brain as if it were as unmodifiable and unvarying as a household appliance, ignoring learning, ignoring our constant interaction with a changing environment.

What's more, the immaterial version of will or volition that seems to exist in some acausal vacuum while violating all sorts of physical laws, is never specifically explained, either.
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 17:53:50 by cheryl j »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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


"...Selectively focusing attention on target images significantly enhances neuronal responses to them. This is especially true when nearby stimuli, if not for the power of attention, would distract us....

Selective attention is a great example of top down control, and doesn't require any immaterial element.

The brain is set in a specific state or working mode according to requirements that are updated from the outside world dynamically.  The construction of a subjective percept (what am I looking for and why am I looking for it? ) involves making the best sense of sensory inputs based on a set of hypotheses or constraints derived by prior knowledge and contextual influences.

Top-down expectations and hypotheses are initially set by feedforward information, the sensory evidence. The brain has an abundance of two way tracts that allows complex information at higher stages of processing to influence processing, or select for information information to attend to, from lower stages. The flow of information from higher- to lower-order cortical areas plays a role equal in importance to the feedforward pathways. There is no starting point for information flow. You can't point to any part of the loop and say the cause is here, and the effect is there.

Criticism of material mechanisms in neuroscience always seem to be wildly neglectful of the dynamic nature of mental activity, and approach the material construction of the brain as if it were as unmodifiable and unvarying as a household appliance, ignoring learning, ignoring our constant interaction with a changing environment.

What's more, the immaterial version of will or volition that seems to exist in some acausal vacuum while violating all sorts of physical laws, is never specifically explained, either.

Don't jump to premature conclusions , sis : Just try to read the above carefully first , please .Thanks .

Nothing happens in or comes from a vacuum : the effort of volition through the effort of focus triggers a physical force that changes the related activity of neurons accordingly by strengthening the related activity of the related neural correlates through the mindful volitional effort of focus , and by weakening the ones that don't get much attention ,simply put .

Many experiments mentioned here above and more proved that fact .
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 17:54:29 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline cheryl j

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Don't jump to premature conclusions , sis : Just try to read the above carefully first , please .Thanks .


It's not a premature conclusion. By attributing thought or mindful effort or attention a priori to an immaterial element, the article blatantly begs the question. You can't use as proof that which you are trying to prove.

What's more, why should the immaterial need to produce a physical change in the brain in order to produce another change in the immaterial? Why should the OCD patient referred to above need to "rewire his brain" in order to express his already existing will to act or not act? It's just one contradiction after another, Don.
And how does the immaterial interact with the material?



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Offline DonQuichotte

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

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

In short :

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

In other words :

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




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

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

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

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

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


Read about the above mentioned empirical evidence through all those displayed experiments here above and more, that prove the active causal role of the effort of the human mindful will  through the effort of focus or attention in  changing  the brain accordingly , to see for yourself, Cheryl .

Stroke patients , for example, whose brain regions are damaged that are correlated with attention cannot make any recovery progress, unlike those whose same brain regions are intact  .

Once again : volitional effort is effort of focus or attention .

Not to mention the major example ( My emphasis  ) of the woman who changed her brain through informed determined trained mindful self-directed neuroplasticity , a woman who was born with severe brain disabilities , you have no idea : Barbara Arrowsmith Young .

The latter example was not a part of the above displayed experiments .


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Offline DonQuichotte

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Cheryl :

Once again : read the above first , please .Thanks .

Schwartz discovered the active role of the effort of the mindful volition through the effort of focus or attention in changing the brain accordingly ( we already intuit and experience that fact on a daily basis ) , via what he called a mental force that triggers a physical force , before working with Henry Stapp who delivered that physical mechanism through which the mindful and active effort of volition through the effort of focus or attention , a physical mechanism through which volition acts on the neural correlates via what Stapp's called the quantum Zeno effect ("observed " or focused-on mental states or thoughts ...do not "decay " or fade, they stay in place , so to speak . ) that 'works " together with Hebb's law ( neurons that fire together connect together ) ..., grosso -modo .

You may reject Stapp's quantum theory of consciousness of course , but you cannot reject the empirical evidence that was delivered by  all those mentioned experiments here above and more that prove the causal and active efficacy of the mindful effort of volition through the effort of focus in changing the brain .

Schwartz ' work thus cannot be refuted by refuting that of Stapp : The former does not even need the latter ...

Read the above then : you're in for a major surprise , big time . Cheers .
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 18:22:52 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline cheryl j

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Cheryl :

Once again : read the above first , please .Thanks .

Schwartz discovered the active role of the effort of the mindful volition through the effort of focus or attention in changing the brain accordingly ( we already intuit and experience that fact on a daily basis ) , via what he called a mental force that triggers a physical force , before working with Henry Stapp who delivered that physical mechanism through which the mindful and active effort of volition through the effort of focus or attention , a physical mechanism through which volition acts on the neural correlates via what Stapp's called the quantum Zeno effect ("observed " or focused-on mental states or thoughts ...do not "decay " or fade, they stay in place , so to speak . ) that 'works " together with Hebb's law ( neurons that fire together connect together ) ..., grosso -modo .

You may reject Stapp's quantum theory of consciousness of course , but you cannot reject the empirical evidence that was delivered by  all those mentioned experiments here above and more that prove the causal and active efficacy of the mindful effort of volition through the effort of focus in changing the brain .

I'm not rejecting the findings themselves, but your interpretation of them. They indicate that people can act to change what they attend to, but your authors don't prove that the shift in attention or "mindful effort" is non-biological or immaterial. In fact, their findings really suggest otherwise. Shift is always accompanied by a change in activity in another area of the brain, not just simple suppression by will acting in the "psychological space." Like Stapp, they completely ignore the question altogether, and assume will or volition is immaterial from the start. Stapp concedes this in his own articles.

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Offline cheryl j

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"Stroke patients , for example, whose brain regions are damaged that are correlated with attention cannot make any recovery progress, unlike those whose same brain regions are intact "




And what does that tell you?

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Offline DonQuichotte

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"Stroke patients , for example, whose brain regions are damaged that are correlated with attention cannot make any recovery progress, unlike those whose same brain regions are intact "




And what does that tell you?

lol

That says that self-directed neuroplasticity through the mindful and active causal effect of volitional effort through the effort of focus or attention in changing the brain cannot be accomplished by stroke patients whose brain regions that are related to  attention are damaged ,and vice versa:  it's only through the maintained volitional effort of focus or attention that self-directed neuroplasticity can be accomplished .

In short :

The materialistic intrinsic belief assumption (for which there is absolutely no empirical evidence whatsoever to support it, needless to add  ) that the mind and consciousness +their related processes and anomalies , like memory  and the rest  ...are just products of  brain activity , without any causal effects on the latter whatsoever , or that the mind and consciousness ...are just illusions, or just useful survival strategies illusions or computed by the brain simulations illusions that feel real though  is false : that's what all those above mentioned experiments and other ones as well  have been showing and proving : the mind can change the physical brain through volitional effort via  the effort of attention or focus thus  .

Mainstream materialistic epiphenomalism is a materialistic intrinsic joke that's just yet another extension of materialism = no empirical fact .

No wonder , since materialism was built upon the superseded approximately correct and fundamentally false classical deterministic mechanical Newtonian world view .

Bell's theorem and its related experiments showed that locality or separability do not exist as such , and proved that "spooky action at a distance " to exist as well + make room for free will through the kind of measurements , experiments , experiments' design , expectations or intentions held and applied by physicists at the quantum level at least .

Schrödinger called entanglement, for example,  the very essence, “the essential characteristic,” of quantum physics.

Entanglement that has been proved to occur even at the level of some large molecules ,not to mention wave/particle duality as well ,  and as the advance of technology will be allowing many further scientific experiments on the subject at the larger scale , entanglement and wave/particle duality might turn out to occur even at the larger scale thus,who knows .

Even cosmologists do treat, so to speak,  the whole universe as a whole or a big superposition state ( observation has to be made at the end of the measurement chain anyway , as Von Neumann showed , so : that's an inescapable fact .) , thanks to that absurd materialistic desperate attempt to rescue the false deterministic materialism : the MW interpretation theory of QM .

Nevertheless , and once again , Schwartz ' work has been supported by many experiments , like the ones mentioned above and many others as well , so, the fact that the mind can change the brain, can shape it ,and can   shape and alter the rest of the physical reality does not even need QM to support it thus .

QM that might get superseded in its turn too someday , who knows .
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 19:20:59 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Cheryl :

Once again : read the above first , please .Thanks .

Schwartz discovered the active role of the effort of the mindful volition through the effort of focus or attention in changing the brain accordingly ( we already intuit and experience that fact on a daily basis ) , via what he called a mental force that triggers a physical force , before working with Henry Stapp who delivered that physical mechanism through which the mindful and active effort of volition through the effort of focus or attention , a physical mechanism through which volition acts on the neural correlates via what Stapp's called the quantum Zeno effect ("observed " or focused-on mental states or thoughts ...do not "decay " or fade, they stay in place , so to speak . ) that 'works " together with Hebb's law ( neurons that fire together connect together ) ..., grosso -modo .

You may reject Stapp's quantum theory of consciousness of course , but you cannot reject the empirical evidence that was delivered by  all those mentioned experiments here above and more that prove the causal and active efficacy of the mindful effort of volition through the effort of focus in changing the brain .

I'm not rejecting the findings themselves, but your interpretation of them. They indicate that people can act to change what they attend to, but your authors don't prove that the shift in attention or "mindful effort" is non-biological or immaterial. In fact, their findings really suggest otherwise. Shift is always accompanied by a change in activity in another area of the brain, not just simple suppression by will acting in the "psychological space." Like Stapp, they completely ignore the question altogether, and assume will or volition is immaterial from the start. Stapp concedes this in his own articles.

You couldn't have possibly read all what i posted on the subject on  such  a relatively short notice , unless you have some sort of a sophisticated scan implanted in your head lol :

One can choose intentionally and voluntarily either to make the necessary conscious mindful volitional effort through the effort of focus or attention or not : that's what actually makes the difference, either way thus = Volitional effort is effort of attention.Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenon of will.. .

Those above mentioned experiments do speak for themselves in unmistakable ,cristal-clear and "eloquent " ways,so ,read them,and then try to report back on that , please , thanks .Cheers .
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 19:48:56 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline cheryl j

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"Stroke patients , for example, whose brain regions are damaged that are correlated with attention cannot make any recovery progress, unlike those whose same brain regions are intact "




And what does that tell you?

lol

That says that self-directed neuroplasticity through the mindful and active causal effect of volitional effort through the effort of focus or attention in changing the brain cannot be accomplished by stroke patients whose brain regions that are related to  attention are damaged ,and vice versa:  it's only through the maintained volitional effort of focus or attention that self-directed neuroplasticity can be accomplished .


And yet, strangely, that volitional effort is completely ineffective and nonexistant without those intact structures, which again, tells you what?

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Offline DonQuichotte

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"Stroke patients , for example, whose brain regions are damaged that are correlated with attention cannot make any recovery progress, unlike those whose same brain regions are intact "




And what does that tell you?

lol

That says that self-directed neuroplasticity through the mindful and active causal effect of volitional effort through the effort of focus or attention in changing the brain cannot be accomplished by stroke patients whose brain regions that are related to  attention are damaged ,and vice versa:  it's only through the maintained volitional effort of focus or attention that self-directed neuroplasticity can be accomplished .


And yet, strangely, that volitional effort is completely ineffective and nonexistant without those intact structures, which again, tells you what?

Don't be silly , Cheryl, please : that proves that without active determined sustained volitional effort of attention ,no dynamic self-directed neuroplasticity :

In other words :

No neural correlates of attention , no volitional effort of attention ,needless to add ,  and vice versa , since the mind has to work through its brain correlates .

See if you can see without your biological eyes , even though it is the mind that actually sees , not the eyes or the brain .

See if you can function at all without a brain or body ,in this life at least : consciousness or the mind do have to work through the brain and body , needless to add ,once again .

You should rather better concentrate or focus lol on the relevant issues at hand here through the above displayed experiments , instead of paying attention to minor ones that can be explained easily ,since they are no questions or issues .

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Offline cheryl j

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Cheryl :

Once again : read the above first , please .Thanks .

Schwartz discovered the active role of the effort of the mindful volition through the effort of focus or attention in changing the brain accordingly ( we already intuit and experience that fact on a daily basis ) , via what he called a mental force that triggers a physical force , before working with Henry Stapp who delivered that physical mechanism through which the mindful and active effort of volition through the effort of focus or attention , a physical mechanism through which volition acts on the neural correlates via what Stapp's called the quantum Zeno effect ("observed " or focused-on mental states or thoughts ...do not "decay " or fade, they stay in place , so to speak . ) that 'works " together with Hebb's law ( neurons that fire together connect together ) ..., grosso -modo .

You may reject Stapp's quantum theory of consciousness of course , but you cannot reject the empirical evidence that was delivered by  all those mentioned experiments here above and more that prove the causal and active efficacy of the mindful effort of volition through the effort of focus in changing the brain .

I'm not rejecting the findings themselves, but your interpretation of them. They indicate that people can act to change what they attend to, but your authors don't prove that the shift in attention or "mindful effort" is non-biological or immaterial. In fact, their findings really suggest otherwise. Shift is always accompanied by a change in activity in another area of the brain, not just simple suppression by will acting in the "psychological space." Like Stapp, they completely ignore the question altogether, and assume will or volition is immaterial from the start. Stapp concedes this in his own articles.

You couldn't have possibly read all what i posted on the subject on  such  a relatively short notice , unless you have some sort of a sophisticated scan implanted in your head lol :

One can choose intentionally and voluntarily either to make the necessary conscious mindful volitional effort through the effort of focus or attention or not : that's what actually makes the difference, either way thus = Volitional effort is effort of attention.Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenon of will.. .

Those above mentioned experiments do speak for themselves in unmistakable ,cristal-clear and "eloquent " ways,so ,read them,and then try to report back on that , please , thanks .Cheers .

I will happily discuss any particular example or experiment your authors refer to, and it is an area I am not wholly unfamiliar with already. But do not hand me a lengthy homework assignment just to ignore all my responses anyway, as you typically do. It's a waste of my time.

You speak as though these experiments in attention, perception, or learning is somehow new, uncharted territory and can't be explained without invoking the immaterial. It's been studied extensively for years.

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Offline DonQuichotte

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dlorde :

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

My take on the free will issue can be inferred from the above , in the sense that we do choose from all those existing infinite possibilities , eventualities, probabilities ...out there,and each chosen one of the latter opens up other infinite ones to us  (we do not create them from a vacuum : there is no such  thing as the latter ) ,which means basically that we deliberately ,voluntarily or intentionally choose to  pay attention to or focus on certain possibilities , eventualities , probabilities, thoughts , ideas  ... via the volitional effort of focus and action , or we just remain passive by not making the necessary choice , in the above mentioned sense at least , by not choosing is also a form of a choice .

Passivity turns us into some sort of mindless automatons, even though our related external behaviors would seem mindful , i don't know .

In short :

It's all in the power and effort of volitional focus or attention and action .

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Offline DonQuichotte

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Quote
author=cheryl j link=topic=52526.msg445828#msg445828 date=1417638226]

I will happily discuss any particular example or experiment your authors refer to, and it is an area I am not wholly unfamiliar with already. But do not hand me a lengthy homework assignment just to ignore all my responses anyway, as you typically do. It's a waste of my time.


Cheryl, You were just repeating the refuted materialistic stuff on the subject ,and that before reading my posted evidence also .

Well, you were asking for evidence , weren't you ?There it is then .
If i say things without evidence , you tell me : give me just 1 evidence , i just gave you some .

But , when i give you evidence , you say the above .
So, make up your mind , Cheryl .
What is it actually that you want ?

Quote
You speak as though these experiments in attention, perception, or learning is somehow new, uncharted territory and can't be explained without invoking the immaterial. It's been studied extensively for years

You haven't read about all those mentioned experiments here above yet , so, how can you tell then ?
Those experiments just prove the causal efficacy of the effort of mindful and active volition through the effort of focus or attention in changing the neuronal correlates  accordingly (The mind can change the brain , can have causal effects on the brain ...) , a fact that has been denied as such by the intrinsic reductionistic epiphenomalism of materialism , in the sense that the mind cannot have any causal effects on the physical brain , let alone on the rest of the physical reality .

And since materialism assumes that the mind and consciousness + their related anomalies and processes are just products of the brain, just products of the activity of the brain , without any causal effects whatsoever on the brain( There  is ,once again, no empirical evidence whatsoever that supports those materialistic claims , but , you do behave and think as if there is .) , then, no wonder that materialist scientists would deny the fact that the mind can change the brain via the active volitional effort of attention .

That's why , guys , i have been telling you that you have been confusing materialism with science all along .

In short :

The evidence for which you were asking all along is there above : you can either deliberately choose to check it out while  paying the necessary effort of attention to it through your mindful effort of volition , or not .

That's entirely up to you then .

I know it takes quite some time to read all that , but it's worth it .
« Last Edit: 03/12/2014 21:06:35 by DonQuichotte »

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Offline cheryl j

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.....James was scrupulously fair in giving equal time to the view that attention is a fully determined result of brain function rather than a causally efficacious force. As he notes, it is entirely plausible that attention may be “fatally predetermined” by purely material laws. In this view, the amount of attention we pay a stimulus, be it one from the world outside or an internally generated thought or image, is determined solely by the properties of that stimulus and their interaction with our brain’s circuits. If the words you hear or the images you see are associated with a poignant memory, for instance, then they trigger—automatically and without any active effort by you —more attention than stimuli that lack such associations. In this case, “attention only fixes and retains what the ordinary laws of association bring ‘before the footlights’ of consciousness,” as James put it.
That is, the stimuli themselves provoke neural mechanisms that cause them to be attended to and fixed on.
 This is the attention-as-effect school of thinking.
But James did not think that attention was always and only a fully determined effect of the stimuli that are its object...." 

Same source .

This paragraph would seem to illustrate the difference in interpretation quite well. Anti-materialists falsely attribute to neuroscience the view that the brain is a uniform, unvarying, unmodifiable structure, that should respond to the exact same stimulus the exact same way every time. It falsely assumes a materialist model of the brain that should only respond to the strongest stimuli without determining the significance or relevance of stimuli, based on prior knowledge or experience. It ignores prior knowledge and new information from the outside world which is updated continuously. It ignores the influence of transient emotional states on perception, or makes one response more likely than another.

When actually, neuroscience does not posit this static model at all, as I've already explained earlier. Topdown flow of information is as important as feed-forward pathways in the brain.

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Offline cheryl j

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Cheryl, You were just repeating the refuted materialistic stuff on the subject ,and that before reading my posted evidence also .

You haven't read about all those mentioned experiments here above yet , so, how can you tell then ?
Those experiments just prove the causal efficacy of the effort of mindful and active volition through the effort of focus or attention in changing the neuronal correlates  accordingly (The mind can change the brain , can have causal effects on the brain ...) , a fact that has been denied as such by the intrinsic reductionistic epiphenomalism of materialism , in the sense that the mind cannot have any causal effects on the physical brain , let alone on the rest of the physical reality .

The evidence for which you were asking all along is there above : you can either deliberately choose to check it out while  paying the necessary effort of attention to it through your mindful effort of volition , or not .

That's entirely up to you then .

I know it takes quite some time to read all that , but it's worth it .


You are implying that I am rejecting a claim without adequately looking at your evidence, or not reading "carefully" enough, but what you don't seem to understand is that I am not rejecting the evidence itself. I am not rejecting the author's assertion that volitional acts can alter how information is perceived, or saying that the events observed in the experiments did not occur. I am objecting to the axiomatic assumption that volition requires the immaterial. As with Stapp, it's just assumed, not explained.
And oddly so, since their findings keep indicating that volition requires specific intact brain structures to effect any changes in neuroplasticity which are also required to create other changes in the expression of  will.
« Last Edit: 04/12/2014 02:54:28 by cheryl j »

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Offline dlorde

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Well, then read my above posted evidence to the contrary of what you were saying here above , to see for yourself : prepare yourself for a surprise, big time  :

Your baseless and blind confidence in all that related materialistic  non-sense on the subject will be shaken, big time :

It has been proved ,via many experiments mentioned here above and more , that the mind can alter the structure or anatomy and physiology of the brain through the effort of volition via the effort of attention or focus : that's called self-directed neuroplasticity .
All those studies are quite consistent with what I posted already. The areas of the brain controlling attention, focus, and volition have been identified and some of the mechanisms and pathways by which they effect their influence on other areas of the brain have been identified and, in some cases, traced. As already mentioned, the research was originally prompted by the observation of specific deficits of those functions by damage to the areas concerned or to their connectivity.

That you are unable to conceive that your will and volition is neural activity in those executive areas of your brain is something we can't help you with. It is a counter-intuitive realisation on a par with that of the strangeness of quantum mechanics, but in both cases we must follow the evidence rather than intuition.

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Offline dlorde

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dlorde :

Volitional effort is effort of attention.
Attention and volition are the effects of activity in particular (executive) areas of the brain.

Quote
Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenon of will :
Therefore will is neural activity. You, as a conscious aware individual, are the activity of your brain. That's what the evidence tells us.

Quote
My take on the free will issue can be inferred from the above , in the sense that we do choose from all those existing infinite possibilities...
That's a reasonable interpretation. Ironically, like quantum mechanics, free will is a matter of interpretation. Consider why you make a particular choice - you have some reason or preference. Such reasons and preferences are the unique result of the person you are at the time you make the choice; and the person you are is the unique result of a lifetime of experiences, perceptions, memories; filtered and assimilated, having their dynamic influence on the development and organisation of your brain.

If, by accident or design, relevant parts of your brain are damaged, stimulated or suppressed, your choices can change. Your preferences may change, your reasons may change, your personality may change, your morals and ethics may change (this kind of damage has been observed and these experiments have been done).

Whether the results of all this complex neural activity can be considered deterministic is dubious - a certain degree of reliability and repeatability is necessary for effective function, but QM apart, the brain uses noise in its processing which can introduce a degree of randomness. It's certainly inherently unpredictable (despite the surprisingly high general predictability of human activity) due to the complexity of the system and its multiple feedbacks (and a degree of chaotic activity).