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November 11, 2023

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And what can we expect from this article??
Spence will soon find himself spamming the comments section as usual..😜

Excellent post, Brian.

At one level this is an elementary enough idea. But of course, it's elementary only if you've already clearly thought it through. The biochemical building blocks --- and, beyond that, the subatomic building blocks --- are the hardware so to say; and consciousness pertains to the software of it, an emergent property of the software. The same might be said of the one-two binary-based hardware that goes into making computers, off of which might one day well arise conscious AI.

Dawkins explains this all very simply and clearly, this as well as clearly showing how, more generally, a mindboggling degree of complexity can arise from completely material processes --- the whole evolution deal --- in his God Delusion. As does Sapolsky here, as well, of course, this part of it.

@ AR

Now you are here ...

I have almost finished reading Siddhartha.
It brought about several "strange" moments of recognition and emotions too

Thank you again. ... drinking coffee I will remember you ... hahaha

Pema Tej:
I don't think presenting alternative, even challenging perspectives constitutes Spamming, since the group solicits a diversity of views and claims to support an open forum. I offer that sometimes truth can be annoying. I've certainly been wrong about many things. But also right about a few. Or so it seems today. Tomorrow? Who knows? Even my own understanding of truth is in flux, and a mystery.

A diversity of views offers us the widest choice to enable our understanding. It is a form of education. In the Torah, debate about the existence and nature of God were all honored, encouraged, and open-ended. Those debates are still written without conclusion in the Torah commentaries and have remained open-ended for over two millenia.

Though if you are very opinionated, the process of acknowledging you were wrong can be very painful, but well worth the effort, says one who goes through this daily.

On the other hand, if you have an opinion about what Brian has written, or the quotes from Sapolsky, by all means present it. That would, I think, be of some use.

Now, since Brian has mentioned me in this very post, and specifically his criticism of the viewpoint I presented, it is entirely appropriate to provide a defense of that perspective. That also isn't spamming. It is responding to a critique specifically pointed to me.

Your perspective on this subject, after some careful thought, would be most appreciated and I will read it.

But in this case Brian has simply misdirected his arrow.

As for Brian's comment:

"So when I saw a comment from frequent commenter Spence Tepper that started off with "Mainstream neuroscience has already rejected the view that consciousness can be reduced to chemistry alone," I thought, this is so obvious, why take the time to say it?"

But if you read carefully you will see that Brian simply didn't understand this phrase:
"...neuroscience has already rejected the view that consciousness can be reduced to chemistry alone."

Brian responded by pointing out some of the visible proof that chemistry does indeed affect consciousness, which I don't disagree with. But it isn't the whole equation by any means, and modern science has confirmed this.

His argument is actually with the professor of Philosophy, Dr. Phillip Goff at the Durham University in the U.K., in the article I cited from Scientific American titled "Understanding Consciousness Goes Beyond Brain Chemistry."

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/understanding-consciousness-goes-beyond-exploring-brain-chemistry/

I was responding to a prior post of Brian's that attempted to claim that the mind body problem had been solved, that the body is the only source of consciousness. Scientific findings do not support this claim. Nor does the neuroscience community.

And I also provided a second article from the science journal Nature:
"Decades-long bet on consciousness ends — and it’s philosopher 1, neuroscientist 0

"Christof Koch wagered David Chalmers 25 years ago that researchers would learn how the brain achieves consciousness by now. But the quest continues."

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-02120-8?utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=commission_junction&utm_campaign=CONR_PF018_ECOM_GL_PHSS_ALWYS_DEEPLINK&utm_content=textlink&utm_term=PID100052172&CJEVENT=e2ae297880d111ee828d6ca20a1eba23

As you can see from Brian's post here and elsewhere, he believes that Neuroscience has indeed solved the problem. Not only that, but he claims as much. He claims the brain is indeed, 100% chemistry. But, as per above, the debate was lost. Not a debate with me, but a more famous debate between two famous individuals representing philosophy and neuroscience.

Most Neuroscientists would say, scientifically, that Brian's claim is an over-reach, and an unscientific claim without support in actual neuroscience. Recent neuroscientists call that claim "Pseudoscience".

What science really claims and demonstrates is that we don't understand even half of the known creation and much of how the human brain functions.

Nowhere is this more evident than in how recent theories have been debated among the community of neuroscientists.


"Some challenges have lately emerged to this reductionist paradigm. The neuroscientist Kevin Mitchell has argued that the free will of conscious organisms plays a role in determining what will happen in the brain, over and above what is settled by the laws of physics. And the assembly theory of chemist Lee Cronin and physicist Sara Walker decisively rejects reduction to microscopic-level equations, arguing for a kind of memory inherent in nature that guides the construction of complex molecules.

"Evolution offers one of the strongest challenges to reductionist approaches to consciousness. "
From above:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/understanding-consciousness-goes-beyond-exploring-brain-chemistry/


And Goff concludes:

"The truth is we know very little about how the brain works. We know a lot about the basic chemistry: how neurons fire, how chemical signals are transmitted. And we know a fair bit about the large functions of various brain regions. But we know almost nothing about how these large-scale functions are realized at the cellular level. To an extent, abstract theorizing has stood in for detailed neurophysiological investigation of what is actually going on in the brain."
ibid

Now, in September of this year, among a large group of noted Neuroscientists there is a most recent agreement that the current theory of consciousness known as Integrated Information Theory is false, and is being sold to the public as psuedoscience. They published an open letter as a group discrediting Integrated Information Theory as a theory that takes good science about information processing, but makes claims about consciousness that science doesn't actually support. This is the same criticism I made in my comment here about Brian's posts several months ago.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2392771-theory-of-consciousness-branded-pseudoscience-by-neuroscientists/#:~:text=Theory%20of%20consciousness%20branded%20'pseudoscience'%20by%20neuroscientists,-Integrated%20information%20theory&text=One%20of%20the%20leading%20theories,of%20the%20field's%20biggest%20names.

Corrections and retractions happen in science all the time. I've been publicly wrong here on a number of occasions. It's the price for truth.

Don't feel to bad about it.

Cheers, um ☕️

Yes, it makes sense in understanding any of life’s apparent complexities whether it is the mechanisms of evolution to how we ourselves develop over our lifetimes to see that the principles of ’emergent complexity’ apply. It also helps to see how our particular psychologies – our thinking, knowledge, views, opinions, morals and beliefs etc. are formed.

Sapolsky states: “Part of this unpredictability is due to the fact that in emergent systems, the road you are traveling on is being constructed at the same time and, in fact, your being on it is influencing the construction process by constituting feedback on the road-making process.” And he adds that emergent systems are also subject to randomness.

Nothing exists in isolation. Our brains and bodies, with their emergent minds, identities and con-sciousness are all dependent on the interrelationships from the moment we are conceived, between ourselves and the environment encountered. Even our ‘selves’ as Brian Lowery points out in ‘SELF-LESS’: “Selves don’t emanate from some ineffable light within people. Instead, selves are created in relationships.” Here, he is talking about human interactions though part of the formation of a ‘self’ also emerges from numerous influences from our particular environments


As an aside, but somewhat relevant, I read this morning about recent research on the effect of anaesthesia on consciousness from Neuroscience News: - “Using animal models, researchers found that while propofol anaesthesia allows sensory information to reach the brain, it disrupts the spread of signals across the cortex. This suggests that consciousness requires synchronized communication throughout the brain, and propofol’s effect of limiting this interconnectivity could explain its role in inducing unconsciousness.”

So, although this article is about anaesthetics and unconsciousness, the interesting fact that ‘– con-sciousness requires synchronized communication throughout the brain,’ strongly backs the thinking that the brain’s vast network of neurons and synapses are responsible for the conscious experience. The emergent explanation of consciousness also readily lends itself to the emergence of our other cognitive features – our self-structures, along with the idea of free will.

Let me be more succinct. Given the complexity and unpredictability of events, it makes perfect sense that, throughout time, people have tried to make sense of it through conjecture and explanations. What to believe in when everything is often unpredictable?

This is where belief provides internal guidance, an internal compass. Belief in a personal God is one such notion. Just as belief in Freedom, Equality, Peace and Respect. These aren't physical things. You won't find them inside anyone's brain, though they may be deep within everyone's heart and mind. They are concepts to guide one's choices and life.

I wrote earlier that you may dissect any number of brains and never find a Toyota, though the brain is where next year's Toyota springs forth from.

So it is with gravity, soul, consciousness and a whole host of things that are the products of how the brain functions and interprets the world, though they didn't begin in the brain, are often very useful products, but which will never be found through dissection.

If this is so, then as far as humanity is concerned atheism and God can both be realities within the same world.

When we try to limit something to "just this, just that" we are trying to create a closed system for our own convenience, just like the belief in soul, God or Atheism.

Brian quotes from Sapolsky, that reality is so complex it doesn't function predictably, which helps explain why we can't predict. But prediction is the only hard scientific evidence for a closed system.

Functionally, because of such complexity, we function with "free will"...We make choices through deliberation. We experience soul and God (the only decent labels that approach these experiences), but of course this is the human brain attempting to deal with reality.

Often these concepts prove very helpful... That we don't know. That we can acknowldge this, enough to be open minded and appreciate as students this complexity, rather than attempt to box it up in our own limitations.

So belief in Atheism may guide you helpfully through your experience.

But when those experiences become unexplainable it is equally fine to believe in more. Especially if this makes a harmony out of what appears discordant.

As Yuval Noah Harari observed in Sapiens, our ever-secularizing society still operates on the notion that every person has an inherent value. In Judeo-Christian terms, a soul.

However much an atheist does the chicken dance in celebration of radical materialism, they too obviously, if largely unconsciously, subscribe to the belief in an inherent soul. That is, they live their lives as if they had a soul, and they generally treat their fellows as if they were each ensouled. They don't treat their fellow humans as if they were droids.

If anyone truly bought into the "we are all just synapses" idea, they'd be sociopaths.

So atheists, why don't you live as if you and your neighbors were nothing more than fleshly robots? You obviously don't really believe that. Otherwise, you'd live it.

And if you can't live it, what does that say about the veracity and value of your atheist, materialist philosophy?

Every time an atheist is asked on what basis human life has value, they sputter.

Reverse the emergence. No neural net (or sufficient informational complexity), no wide-ranging consciousness.

In other words, damage the brain sufficiently and you damage awareness.

Or, as Nietzsche might put it, our consciousness (that aware part of ourselves) is the weakest part of who we are, so tentative, so fragile, that even the tiniest of chemicals can alter it irrevocably.

Yes, it would appear that consciousness is something distinct from its housing, but lest we forget
that very housing is what ushers in awareness.

Alter the neural net, alter awareness.

Consciousness is so weak and so contingent that all we need is a good hammer over the head to make it function differently or disappear. Hammer Time 101.

Adenosine makes us sleepy.... so weak is our awareness.

Consciousness is a conductor that falsely believes it is separate from the orchestra it "appears" to conduct, but which in truth is merely the result of a priori cerebral symphony.

Famous Atheist jumps ship for Jesus

Why I am now a Christian

BY AYAAN HIRSI ALI

In 2002, I discovered a 1927 lecture by Bertrand Russell entitled “Why I am Not a Christian”. It did not cross my mind, as I read it, that one day, nearly a century after he delivered it to the South London branch of the National Secular Society, I would be compelled to write an essay with precisely the opposite title.

The year before, I had publicly condemned the terrorist attacks of the 19 men who had hijacked passenger jets and crashed them into the twin towers in New York. They had done it in the name of my religion, Islam. I was a Muslim then, although not a practising one. If I truly condemned their actions, then where did that leave me? The underlying principle that justified the attacks was religious, after all: the idea of Jihad or Holy War against the infidels. Was it possible for me, as for many members of the Muslim community, simply to distance myself from the action and its horrific results?

At the time, there were many eminent leaders in the West — politicians, scholars, journalists, and other experts — who insisted that the terrorists were motivated by reasons other than the ones they and their leader Osama Bin Laden had articulated so clearly. So Islam had an alibi.

This excuse-making was not only condescending towards Muslims. It also gave many Westerners a chance to retreat into denial. Blaming the errors of US foreign policy was easier than contemplating the possibility that we were confronted with a religious war. We have seen a similar tendency in the past five weeks, as millions of people sympathetic to the plight of Gazans seek to rationalise the October 7 terrorist attacks as a justified response to the policies of the Israeli government.

When I read Russell’s lecture, I found my cognitive dissonance easing. It was a relief to adopt an attitude of scepticism towards religious doctrine, discard my faith in God and declare that no such entity existed. Best of all, I could reject the existence of hell and the danger of everlasting punishment.

Russell’s assertion that religion is based primarily on fear resonated with me. I had lived for too long in terror of all the gruesome punishments that awaited me. While I had abandoned all the rational reasons for believing in God, that irrational fear of hellfire still lingered. Russell’s conclusion thus came as something of a relief: “When I die, I shall rot.”

To understand why I became an atheist 20 years ago, you first need to understand the kind of Muslim I had been. I was a teenager when the Muslim Brotherhood penetrated my community in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985. I don’t think I had even understood religious practice before the coming of the Brotherhood. I had endured the rituals of ablutions, prayers and fasting as tedious and pointless.

The preachers of the Muslim Brotherhood changed this. They articulated a direction: the straight path. A purpose: to work towards admission into Allah’s paradise after death. A method: the Prophet’s instruction manual of do’s and don’ts — the halal and the haram. As a detailed supplement to the Qur’an, the hadeeth spelled out how to put into practice the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, God and the devil.

The Brotherhood preachers left nothing to the imagination. They gave us a choice. Strive to live by the Prophet’s manual and reap the glorious rewards in the hereafter. On this earth, meanwhile, the greatest achievement possible was to die as a martyr for the sake of Allah.

The alternative, indulging in the pleasures of the world, was to earn Allah’s wrath and be condemned to an eternal life in hellfire. Some of the “worldly pleasures” they were decrying included reading novels, listening to music, dancing, and going to the cinema — all of which I was ashamed to admit that I adored.

The most striking quality of the Muslim Brotherhood was their ability to transform me and my fellow teenagers from passive believers into activists, almost overnight. We didn’t just say things or pray for things: we did things. As girls we donned the burka and swore off Western fashion and make-up. The boys cultivated their facial hair to the greatest extent possible. They wore the white dress-like tawb worn in Arab countries or had their trousers shortened above their ankle bones. We operated in groups and volunteered our services in charity to the poor, the old, the disabled and the weak. We urged fellow Muslims to pray and demanded that non-Muslims convert to Islam.

During Islamic study sessions, we shared with the preacher in charge of the session our worries. For instance, what should we do about the friends we loved and felt loyal to but who refused to accept our dawa (invitation to the faith)? In response, we were reminded repeatedly about the clarity of the Prophet’s instructions. We were told in no uncertain terms that we could not be loyal to Allah and Muhammad while also maintaining friendships and loyalty towards the unbelievers. If they explicitly rejected our summons to Islam, we were to hate and curse them.

Here, a special hatred was reserved for one subset of unbeliever: the Jew. We cursed the Jews multiple times a day and expressed horror, disgust and anger at the litany of offences he had allegedly committed. The Jew had betrayed our Prophet. He had occupied the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem. He continued to spread corruption of the heart, mind and soul.

You can see why, to someone who had been through such a religious schooling, atheism seemed so appealing. Bertrand Russell offered a simple, zero-cost escape from an unbearable life of self-denial and harassment of other people. For him, there was no credible case for the existence of God. Religion, Russell argued, was rooted in fear: “Fear is the basis of the whole thing — fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death.”

As an atheist, I thought I would lose that fear. I also found an entirely new circle of friends, as different from the preachers of the Muslim Brotherhood as one could imagine. The more time I spent with them — people such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins — the more confident I felt that I had made the right choice. For the atheists were clever. They were also a great deal of fun.

So, what changed? Why do I call myself a Christian now?

Part of the answer is global. Western civilisation is under threat from three different but related forces: the resurgence of great-power authoritarianism and expansionism in the forms of the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin’s Russia; the rise of global Islamism, which threatens to mobilise a vast population against the West; and the viral spread of woke ideology, which is eating into the moral fibre of the next generation.

We endeavour to fend off these threats with modern, secular tools: military, economic, diplomatic and technological efforts to defeat, bribe, persuade, appease or surveil. And yet, with every round of conflict, we find ourselves losing ground. We are either running out of money, with our national debt in the tens of trillions of dollars, or we are losing our lead in the technological race with China.

But we can’t fight off these formidable forces unless we can answer the question: what is it that unites us? The response that “God is dead!” seems insufficient. So, too, does the attempt to find solace in “the rules-based liberal international order”. The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our desire to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition.\

That legacy consists of an elaborate set of ideas and institutions designed to safeguard human life, freedom and dignity — from the nation state and the rule of law to the institutions of science, health and learning. As Tom Holland has shown in his marvellous book Dominion, all sorts of apparently secular freedoms — of the market, of conscience and of the press — find their roots in Christianity.

And so I have come to realise that Russell and my atheist friends failed to see the wood for the trees. The wood is the civilisation built on the Judeo-Christian tradition; it is the story of the West, warts and all. Russell’s critique of those contradictions in Christian doctrine is serious, but it is also too narrow in scope.

For instance, he gave his lecture in a room full of (former or at least doubting) Christians in a Christian country. Think about how unique that was nearly a century ago, and how rare it still is in non-Western civilisations. Could a Muslim philosopher stand before any audience in a Muslim country — then or now — and deliver a lecture with the title “Why I am not a Muslim”? In fact, a book with that title exists, written by an ex-Muslim. But the author published it in America under the pseudonym Ibn Warraq. It would have been too dangerous to do otherwise.

To me, this freedom of conscience and speech is perhaps the greatest benefit of Western civilisation. It does not come naturally to man. It is the product of centuries of debate within Jewish and Christian communities. It was these debates that advanced science and reason, diminished cruelty, suppressed superstitions, and built institutions to order and protect life, while guaranteeing freedom to as many people as possible. Unlike Islam, Christianity outgrew its dogmatic stage. It became increasingly clear that Christ’s teaching implied not only a circumscribed role for religion as something separate from politics. It also implied compassion for the sinner and humility for the believer.

Yet I would not be truthful if I attributed my embrace of Christianity solely to the realisation that atheism is too weak and divisive a doctrine to fortify us against our menacing foes. I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable — indeed very nearly self-destructive. Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?

Russell and other activist atheists believed that with the rejection of God we would enter an age of reason and intelligent humanism. But the “God hole” — the void left by the retreat of the church — has merely been filled by a jumble of irrational quasi-religious dogma. The result is a world where modern cults prey on the dislocated masses, offering them spurious reasons for being and action — mostly by engaging in virtue-signalling theatre on behalf of a victimised minority or our supposedly doomed planet. The line often attributed to G.K. Chesterton has turned into a prophecy: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

In this nihilistic vacuum, the challenge before us becomes civilisational. We can’t withstand China, Russia and Iran if we can’t explain to our populations why it matters that we do. We can’t fight woke ideology if we can’t defend the civilisation that it is determined to destroy. And we can’t counter Islamism with purely secular tools. To win the hearts and minds of Muslims here in the West, we have to offer them something more than videos on TikTok.

The lesson I learned from my years with the Muslim Brotherhood was the power of a unifying story, embedded in the foundational texts of Islam, to attract, engage and mobilise the Muslim masses. Unless we offer something as meaningful, I fear the erosion of our civilisation will continue. And fortunately, there is no need to look for some new-age concoction of medication and mindfulness. Christianity has it all.

That is why I no longer consider myself a Muslim apostate, but a lapsed atheist. Of course, I still have a great deal to learn about Christianity. I discover a little more at church each Sunday. But I have recognised, in my own long journey through a wilderness of fear and self-doubt, that there is a better way to manage the challenges of existence than either Islam or unbelief had to offer.

Hi Cerebralmachinations

Your argument that brain injury proves conscious is a brain product has been countered decades ago by the filter theory...And more recent mri studies...

"at the close of the nineteenth century, several philosophers and psychologists—notably William James, Frederic Myers, F. C. S. Schiller, and Henri Bergson—dissented from the growing physiological reductionism of the time and came up with an alternative to the production theory of brain action. This was the filter or transmission theory of brain action, or ‘filter theory’ for short. Here the brain plays a key role too, but rather than producing consciousness, it draws upon pre-existing consciousness. The operative words are filter, transmit, permit, channel, select, extract, limit, regulate, condition, modify—not produce, generate or create...

"Plainly consciousness—or at least consciousness as we ordinarily know it—is highly dependent on the brain. However, it may be a step too far to assume that consciousness is produced by the brain. Dependence is not the same as production. Consider some analogies. Cool, clean air flows from a conditioning unit, but the unit does not produce the air: it merely extracts air from outside, cooling it and filtering out impurities. A washbasin tap does not generate water; it just regulates the flow. Sunlight floods into a room when the blinds are opened, but the blinds do not create light. They permit transmission of light into the room."
https://iai.tv/articles/the-brain-doesnt-create-consciousness-auid-2002&utm_source=reddit&_auid=2020

More recent MRI studies show that as external sensory centers of the brain are shut down through meditation, other centers (the Default Mode Network or DMN) show increased activity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3443747/

And long term meditators also report heightened consciousness not reduced consciousness, when they actively shut down brain processing centers.

What this supports is the argument that the brain may well be only a filter for consciousness, not its source.

Your arguments don't actually support any conclusion about the actual source of consciousness, which science hasn't found yet.

What you wrote is a proof that changes in the brain and in consciousness measured by behavior are corollated. That's obvious. But not the source of consciousness.

Spence Tepper, you obviously know very little about the brain and modern neuroscience. So I'm viewing your comment above as spam, in the same way that someone who argued the earth is flat or global warming isn't real would be spamming this blog. Stop with your lies about science. There is no scientific evidence that consciousness is preexisting and the brain just filters this consciousness. NONE. If there were, this would be front page news.

If you want to spread lies, start your own blog. Oh, now I remember, you did, and very few people visited it. So now you're using my blog to spread your religious B.S. Hence my warning: I'm OK with religious lies, but not blatant lies about science, because that undermines confidence in science. Obviously there's plenty of room for debate about scientific theories, but I can't tolerate lies about scientific knowledge where there's no debate. If you start to see your comments deleted, that's the reason.

Read the commenting policies for this blog and comply with them. Link is at the top of the page. Preachiness also is a no-no, which you're continually guilty of. Excerpt:
-----------------------------
(7) No false "facts" about critical issues. As the saying goes, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. This applies to this blog, especially about COVID-19 and other critical issues. Blatantly false comments won't be published if they're about life and death or other critical topics such as global warming.

It's an interesting ponder whether consciousness exists independent of the brain. Does language exist independent of words or symbols? Does meaning exist independent of language?

"Your arguments don't actually support any conclusion about the actual source of consciousness, which science hasn't found yet."


Takes us right back, Spence, to our argument about a scientific worldview. Remember?

In a word: Burden of proof. (Well, three words, but whatever.)

We don't actually know what dark matter is. But to therefore claim that dark matter can be controlled by consciousness, or by magic, or any such, is completely wrong. Even though science does not actually tell us that dark matter is not magical, or influenced by consciousness (in as much as so far science knows next to nothing about dark matter). In a word: burden of proof.

"It's an interesting ponder whether consciousness exists independent of the brain. Does language exist independent of words or symbols? Does meaning exist independent of language?"


Haha, true! Helps with the pondering if you've got something good to smoke to go with it. And if you're twenty years old, and sitting in your university dorm!

(Although, and while obviously I agree completely with your broader point, umami, that you make here with your usual humor, and although I realize this is simply nitpicking, but still: I'd say it is entirely possible for consciousness to exist independent of the brain, in theory at any rate. If we had a computer with enough processing power to approximately mimic the human brain, then we could upload our memories to that system; and that would effectively mean uploading our actual consciousness, more or less, to that system. Our consciousness, as uploaded, would then carry on existing, and evolving further in its own way, regardless of what happened to our brain, and to our "original" consciousness.)

Does intellect exist?
Does intelligence exist?

Do not all things for which we have a word exist.

Does hate exist?
Does hope exist?
Does love exist?

Does time exist?
Does space exist?

Does consciousness exist?

Oh ...... and before I forget

Does PEACE exist?

Sant64 argues, or tries to argue, in his comment above: “Every time an atheist is asked on what basis human life has value, they sputter.”

That’s a completely fallacious argument. It assumes that it is only belief in God that keeps men moral; and that without belief in God people would go looting and raping and killing their way through life. Which is a completely circular argument, and entirely mistaken: because only some out-and-out psychopaths would do that; and a psychopath would probably do that even if he believed in God.

Now that’s a completely clichéd argument; and an entirely done-to-death rebuttal of that pathetic argument. And there’s absolutely no reason to hash this out with those who put forward this argument, at least not unless they’re sincere and might sincerely listen to reason. The only reason I mention this, and spell out this cliched fallacious argument and its rebuttal, is that it occurred to me that no-free-will folks quoted in this and other blog posts seem to be making that exact same error.

Here’s what I mean:

(And before proceeding further, let me get two things out of the way, within the space of these parentheses. First, I completely believe that there’s no free will, as I’ve said many times, in as much as that follows directly and trivially from a scientifically-grounded materialist paradigm. And two, none of this has anything, remotely, to do with compatibilism!)

It's been argued recently that understanding that there’s no free will lets us stop wanting retribution, and instead base our justice system on simply deterrence.

Now, it suddenly occurs to me, to say that is to make the exact same error that Sant64 is making! That’s begging the question, much like he’s done; that’s a circular argument, much like his is; and that’s a fallacious argument, like his is.

It's assumed --- completely baselessly --- that believing in free will necessarily sets someone to seek retributions for wrongs done (or perceived). And that simply isn’t true.

For instance, take Jains. They expressly believe in free will, and an immaterial soul as well. Yet, basis the karma theory that the Jains first put forth, most of them completely abjure retribution, in as much as they believe any retributive act will bounce back on them as karma. For that matter, not just Jains, but every belief system that subscribes to the karma theory, including RSSB, will essentially dissuade people from seeking retribution, on exactly those grounds.

Even leaving aside that sub-section of people (Jains, and Hindus, and RSSB-types, and Sikhs, and Buddhists --- the Indic lot, broadly speaking, basically) who specifically believe in karma, think about it: After all, why should only believing someone has free will want me to seek retribution? Let’s say, hypothetically, that I believe in free will. Let’s say I believe that someone has wronged me, because they have free will. Thing is, whether I seek retribution, or not, is entirely a function of how *I* am constituted. I may well, basis my own value system, not want retribution, even despite believing someone who’s wronged me has free will.

Likewise, even if I did not believe in free will: nevertheless, if retribution is how I’m wired, then that’s what I might go for, even against a highly evolved AI-powered self-driving car that may have harmed my near and dear ones. (Heh, like how in Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’, the detective is completely antagonistic to all robots, at a personal level, basis his own specific, personal experience once in the past with robots, despite knowing they’re simply programmed automatons simply following the program that’s been fed to them.)

In fact, I’d say that only the subsection of free-will-believers that believe in the Abrahamic eye-for-an-eye creed (specifically those who believe in the Old Testament, and those who believe in the Koran --- and not who believe only in the gentler teachings of the New Testament don't subscribe to the OT nonsense, and certainly not others who don’t subscribe to the Abrahamic faiths at all) will insist on retributive justice because of believing people have free will. And in their case, it’s not so much their belief in free will per se, as their belief in the vile (im)morality taught in the Old Testament Bible and in the Koran, that is to blame.

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So then, what I’m saying is, the idea that realizing that there’s no free will is an argument for doing away with retributive justice, is fallacious, is what I’m saying. The one has nothing to do with the other. You can believe in free will, and still not want retributive justice. And you can believe people don’t have free will, and yet vote for keeping retributive justice. The free will part is completely redundant --- or, at best, an incidental tangent --- to deciding whether we want our justice system to be retributive.

(And, to repeat, I say this while believing, myself, that there’s no free will. I’m only pointing out this error in reasoning, as it appears to me, is all.)

Hi Brian:

I'm sorry for your anger, but I've made a sincere effort to present an alternative perspective with objectivity and respect.

I've cited the sources in support of my argument. Filter theory is a long standing theory about consciousness that has gained new attention. The author I cited, Paul Marshall, is an author whose work has been published by the Oxford Academic Press.The theory is simple. The brain is a filter for consciousness, not the source of it.

Filter Theory has well-known support from Henri Bergson, William James, and Aldous Huxley, to name three. William James, as you may know, is the father of modern psychology.

I get that you believe that consciousness begins and ends with physiology, and that the hard body problem has been solved. But famous philosopher David Chalmers (who first posited the "hard body problem" and Kristoff Koch disagree. In fact they had a bet, as I'm sure you know, which they made in 1988, that consciousness could be explained just by study of the brain, and a physical correlation with any experience would be found by 2023. Now, even this would not actually be solid proof that all consciousness is a product of the brain, as Chalmers and Koch have recently explained. But if you wished to make such a claim, you would need fairly extensive neural correlates. Chalmers and Koch both agree that it is unlikely anyone will come up with an explanation any time soon for consciousness that would, from a scientific perspective, be conclusive.

You may hear their comments for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plJXi54lp8c


Just a few months ago Koch gave Chalmers a case of wine in acknowledgment that the bet has been, currently, lost. Today, Neuroscience cannot establish that the human brain is the actual source of consciousness. There are not adequate neural correlates of consciousness as you regularly claim there are to your readers. And you make the claim that this is entirely supported by the neuroscience community. Which it is not. Koch stated in June of this year "there is no agreement among scientists"...and of the two main theories, information information theory (IIT) and global neuronal workspace theory (GNWT), neither has full support.

So I can't understand how you can label a sincere criticism with valid support from the community of scientists as "spam".

But I fully understand that, as things aren't all wrapped up like you often claim, that you might find this irritating. An inconvenient truth, Brian.

For example, a few months ago you made several blog posts in high praise of Information Integration Theory, claiming this explained it all: The brain is the source of consciousness.

My criticism at the time was that the scientific findings about how we process external stimulus are not the same as describing how consciousness arises, and therefore there are gaping holes in the theory and its supposed foundation in actual science.

You criticized me then for being ridiculous. But my comments were absolutely related to the subject, not Spam, and they were based on a background in experimental psychology.

As it turns out, just two months ago, over 100 neuroscientists published a letter that included some of the exact same criticisms, and a few more, of Information Integration Theory, claiming it was an overreach and Pseudoscience.

You can read scholarly articles about this in the journal Nature...
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-02971-1

and New Scientist

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2392771-theory-of-consciousness-branded-pseudoscience-by-neuroscientists/

and a more thorough discussion here..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_information_theory


The second article I posted above, about the DMN and long term meditation, was published in the Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, and is listed on the National Institute of Health's publication site.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3443747/

That the brain can become quieter, from an MRI perspective, when experience of greater consciousness are reported, indicates that at the very least, things are more complicated than you or I can claim to know.

Personally, I don't mind that you react as you do. I react the same way when confronted with my own mistakes.

But, it is the duty of every mature adult to change their views when facts prove otherwise.

If it were not a daily event for me, I would not be so glib as to remind you.

RE: My efforts to start up a blog, I got bored. Yes, Brian, I'm bored of my own beliefs. I love them, but explaining them is boring.

It's much more fun and interesting to help someone else see the error of their thinking, and in that challenging process, see the errors in my own along the way.

Between you and I, it is indeed you who are doing the heavy lifting, I completely acknowledge this.

@ Appreciative Reader
"Sant64 argues, or tries to argue, in his comment above: “Every time an atheist is asked on what basis human life has value, they sputter.” That’s a completely fallacious argument. It assumes that it is only belief in God that keeps men moral; and that without belief in God people would go looting and raping and killing their way through life." etc.

I believe your reply sidesteps the question, "On what basis does human life have value."

If we mortals are nothing more than meat and synapses and have absolutely no free will, then on what objective basis does human life have value?

The believer has an answer: every person has a soul. *

What then is the objective answer to my question from those who say they subscribe to the view that each person is nothing more than a corporeal automaton?

* "Soul" is a term denoting any kind of sacred, transcendent reality that ineluctably informs any living person's existence.

Hi Appreciative:

You wrote:
"We don't actually know what dark matter is. But to therefore claim that dark matter can be controlled by consciousness, or by magic, or any such, is completely wrong. Even though science does not actually tell us that dark matter is not magical, or influenced by consciousness (in as much as so far science knows next to nothing about dark matter). In a word: burden of proof."

To make any claims at all, including the claim that it all happens in the human brain, requires proof. And there isn't adequate proof.

The human brain actually performs far faster than it should, biochemically. Biochemically, signals are transferred very slowly, much more slowly than, say, electric signals through a wire.

But with the human brain processes far faster...

"At the time of this writing, the fastest supercomputer globally is the Tianhe-2 in Guangzhou, China, and has a maximum processing speed of 54.902 petaFLOPS. A petaFLOP is a quadrillion (one thousand trillion) floating-point calculations per second. That’s a huge amount of calculations, yet that doesn’t even come close to the processing speed of the human brain.

"In contrast, our miraculous brains operate on the next order higher. Although it is impossible to calculate precisely, it is postulated that the human brain operates at 1 exaFLOP, equivalent to a billion billion calculations per second.

In 2014, some clever researchers in Japan tried to match the processing power in one second from one percent of the brain. That doesn’t sound very much, but the world’s fourth-fastest supercomputer, the K Computer, took 40 minutes to crunch the calculations for a single second of brain activity!"

https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/the-human-brain-vs-supercomputers-which-one-wins.html

How can this be when biochemical signals in the brain travel far slower than electrical ones?

It takes about 45 miliseconds for signals to travel across the brain.
"Brain transmission speed is measured in milliseconds, a unit of time equal to one-thousandth of a second. For example, the researchers measured the neuronal speed of a 4-year-old patient at 45 milliseconds for a signal to travel from the frontal to parietal regions of the brain. In a 38-year-old patient, the same pathway was measured at 20 milliseconds. For comparison, the blink of an eye takes about 100 to 400 milliseconds."

Even if it took only 1 milisecond to travel an entire meter, that would still only be about 2,200 miles per hour.

Electricity travels at 670,616,629 miles per hour.

Electricity through a wire travels 670,616,629 / 2,200 = 304,825 times faster than our brain signals.

And yet the human brain functions far faster than any computer.

From the first article cited above it took one of the world's largest super computers 40 minutes to complete what the human brain does in one single second...

So that's (40x60)/1 or 2,400 times faster than the supercomputer!

Now, how can the brain function 2,400 times faster when it's actual signals move at 1/304825 th the speed?

For you or anyone to claim that the functioning of the brain is a stand-alone (and not actually a terminal / filter for a much larger processor) is a very bold claim. And where is the actual hard evidence that explains how a tiny bag of slow moving chemicals, moving 1/304825th as fast can outperform a huge supercomputer 2,400 times faster?.

Burden Of Proof, please.

Dear Sant64,

You’re right, I did completely sidestep your question. And I agree, I did, dismissively enough although being summarily dismissive per se wasn’t my intent, simply set your comment aside, rather rudely, in the third person. I did that for two reasons:

First, you’ve yourself very clearly said, in the past, that you’re not interested in what anyone else might have to say about your comments, and indeed that you don’t even bother reading others’ comments and views. And I’ve also seen that, when arguments are put forth by others (including me!) showing your position is wrong, you generally ignore those completely and simply go back, the day after, to repeating what you’d already said, ignoring those rebuttals. (That old Aquinas business, for instance?) Which is fine, let me hasten to add, if that’s what you want to do, as far as I’m concerned; and also, I agree that you do at times present very good points and make great arguments, individual arguments that it would be an ad hominem fallacy to dismiss because of your broader conduct; and in any case you’ve sometimes agreed with my own POV completely, for instance recently on the Israel-Palestine issue: but if you expressly ask people to lay off of your comments, then I don’t see that you have grounds to complain when I do just that.

And second, the point of my comment now wasn’t what you’d said per se; it was just that on reading what you’d said, it occurred to me that Brian might have been making the exact same error in reasoning that you were. So that, given that both Brian and I have both seen this particular POV of yours raised umpteen times in the past, and what’s more seen this clichéd argument rebutted soundly many times, therefore I only mentioned your comment in passing as it were.

Absolutely, if you’d like to actually engage with our comments now --- or, at any rate, with *my* comments --- well then, happy to, from now on, absolutely!


----------


So then, here’s stepping squarely into the argument you’d raised, which I’ll copy below in full first, it’s brief enough:


“I believe your reply sidesteps the question, "On what basis does human life have value."
If we mortals are nothing more than meat and synapses and have absolutely no free will, then on what objective basis does human life have value?
The believer has an answer: every person has a soul. *
What then is the objective answer to my question from those who say they subscribe to the view that each person is nothing more than a corporeal automaton?”


……….I agree, that is the basis on which theists, who’ve had their theism drummed deep into their innards and the depths of their brain, operate. They ask, helplessly, and sincerely enough, how on earth can anything other than complete anarchy prevail, if people did not actually believe in God.

And yet, it’s a complete fallacy, this line of thinking. A fallacy that is very easily pointed out, and very briefly, in one single sentence. This, in caps: IT IS SIMPLY BEGGING THE QUESTION TO IMAGINE THAT IT IS BELIEF IN AN IMMATERIAL SOUL, AND GOD, THAT GETS PEOPLE TO ACT MORALLY.


That single sentence should suffice, and if you think over it and are able to agree, then we can both stop right there. But in case you don’t, then I’ll try to flesh that out in some more detail, below:

.

Two approaches, is how I’d like to argue this, both taken together: First, the negative: It is actually not the case that belief in God and an immaterial soul gets people to act morally. Take the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Absolutely, lots of geo-politico-historical stuff tied in there, but leaving that aside to focus only on the religious aspect of it, there’s cross-eyed Jews on the one hand believing their Bible is inviolate and that that gives them the right to that place no matter where they might be from; and there’s cross-eyed orthodox Christians (small o!) who sympathize on religious grounds with that claim; and Muslims that believe in the Jehad deal, that “martyring” themselves leads them straight to paradise. What you get is this horrific slaughter there.

Or take the actual unholy crusades. That complete disregard for human life and suffering, and morality, despite belief in an immaterial soul and God, in fact *because* of belief in an immaterial soul and God. Or take the Inquisition. Or any number of conflicts, larger conflicts as well as personal ones, where religion results in people acting murderously.

(To be clear: There’s always other issues, religion is never the only reason, sometimes not even the primary reason: but my point is, it is not the case, at all, that belief in immaterial soul and God leads one to people behaving morally. It often does not; and indeed, often enough those very beliefs lead people to behaving immorally.)

.

Two, the positive approach: I’d say people act “morally” for two reasons. (Of course, what is “moral” is itself a complex issue, but let’s leave that be for now.) One reason why people act morally is, well, the whole social convention thing. Because that’s what’s been drilled into you, that to do such and such and such is good, and further that to do good is good, therefore most people strive to do good, more or less at any rate. That’s one reason.

And the other reason, I’d say, is something innate to us, to our nature. When I say “innate”, I don’t mean innate to our souls or anything, but it’s just that some at any rate are constituted, naturally, to not be violent, to not steal, to not kill, all of that. That’s just who they are. I suppose they can be pushed to acting against their nature, but in general they’ll be “moral”, left to themselves.

.

Now if you were to charge me with producing ipse dixitims, then I’d agree, that’s exactly what they are. (Heh, that's throwing in some "steelmanning" there, because I'm assuming you're doing this in good faith, as am I.) But that’s what you wanted at this point, right: objective reasons why understanding we’re just nerves and synapses makes morality possible, quite as much as any fantastical belief?

Absolutely, if you’d like to look up actual psychological research over this, then that’s a valid endeavor. I’m not entering into it, haven’t the time! But if you choose to do this, then do take care of one thing: Unlike our friend Spence, don’t cherry-pick just the one or two or five research papers that apparently support your POV, while ignoring the hundred or thousand or ten thousand that don’t! Checking the research thoroughly on this --- on what, exactly, is the basis for morality, as actually proven by science, and whether those atheists who argue this actually do have science on their side --- can be long involved work, which is why I’m begging off of this. But for what that is worth, I myself remain open, as ever, to changing my mind on this should actual research so warrant.

But for now, the claim that it is belief in God and an immaterial soul and so forth that is the only sound basis for morality, is the positive claim that bears the burden of proof. Which it does not meet. And which, in any case, is clearly shown to be wrong by looking at counter-examples, some of which I’ve myself presented.

Hey, Spence!

Heh, not dancing that dance with you again. We’ve done that, over actually weeks, in the past, at the end of which I believe you’ve conceded my argument about what a scientific worldview is and entails. Not getting into that all over again.

-----

Very briefly, an argumentum ad absurdum:

Why this that and the other happens, why brains do such and such and such, all of that, is because in that galaxy far far away, GN-Z-something, there’s a star with eight planets, and orbiting that star between the third and fourth planets there’s a teapot that makes all of this happen. Not because there’s an immaterial soul, or a non-local consciousness, but because of that teapot. (Or, if you prefer, a dragon in that particular orbit, or maybe our friend Shadowfax the unicorn.)

Prove me wrong, please. Burden of proof!


(Not to beat this old dog to death all over again! You’re free to have the last word on this, of which I know you’ve an endless supply. If you actually want to revisit our scientific-worldview argument, then you can do that by going back to those pages, those very many pages. That argument is ended, as far as I’m concerned.)

The "tools" we have and which we can operate as "I" are all related to the survival of us as natural human beings.

Over the centuries humans have found out, that other species are equipped with complete other tools., tools that make "the universe" seen in a complete different way.

We have seen just a part of it, not all ... so whatever we are able to see = operate ... is just a part. a restricted part of in reality exists.

So we have and can have only access with the means we have to our possession, body, brain and mind to have knowledge of the universe as seen perceived by humans in their natural state .... and ...a fraction of what is beyond, something that is now researched by scientist that study the particles and its activities. ...something that can be understood by a handful and of which nobody knows whether it is imagination or not because it becomes more and more difficult to make instruments to measure it and the things to measure become "erratic"

That doesn mean there is more to know and can be known .. it only states that their is a NATURAL limit to what humans can know given their tools to know.

Science in ALL its aspects is the last centuries quickly developing according a tangent .. in order to make steps forward, to understand it and make it available becomes more and more difficult, costly while the results are relative smaller and smaller

Wittgenstein ...do not talk about things that cannot be talked of.

Meaning ... there are things that cannot be talked of ... they do exist

So ...
Science can and does devlop means for survival .. even those destructive tools as nuclair boms and whatever is used to day fby the IDA for their "defence", their survival

BUT ...

They never have had the capacity to develop things like peace, beauty, ..awareness, consciousness ... and they will never have.

So whatever ts within their reach is reductionist knowledge , reduce to the PHYSICAL survival .. otherwise they have nothing to offer and will never be able to do so.

Science is something like farmer tools to work the soil, to grow crops to eat, all related to fysical survival.

Elas ... humans do not live by food alone ... they need coffee too

Yes Yes .. I know coffee is also grown.

Hi Appreciative:

You wrote:
"Heh, not dancing that dance with you again. We’ve done that, over actually weeks, in the past, at the end of which I believe you’ve conceded my argument about what a scientific worldview is and entails. "

You remember it only partially correct. I believe the scientific worldview and the materialist world view are a little different. But the materialist / reductionist / hard Atheist does not.

My specific point here is the argument which Brian puts forth with great consistency, articulation and support among like-minded individuals, and it is a common argument among the reductionist / materialist / hard Atheism school of believers (I will do my best to paraphrase here):

'What you can see, what has been proven, is what is, and what you cannot see does not exist, for practical purposes, and should have no consideration at all in practical life. Except speculations or explanations for the unknown using materialist / reductionist/ hard Atheist thinking'

Again, no surprise.

This works fairly well for folks who have no experience of God or Spirit, or even much association with scientific research. And that is because the commonality running through all these three is that what is pursued is partly or largely unknown and untested.

This acknowledgement of the unknown, of the open-system nature of scientific inquiry, gives the hard Atheist, Reductionist, Materialist position a very hard time.

And that is because what is unknown is open-ended. We don't know what we will find. The hard Atheist claims "it won't be fairies" and that is likely true. It will not be anything we tend to think of. Science proves that over and over again. It won't be fairies, but it also won't be another arrangement of existing laws. In science new laws, new principles are discovered to explain the unknown all the time. And the hard won truths of science is that these new laws and principles are grudgingly accepted after exhausting all efforts to explain results with extant science.

So, when we uncover the mystery, it also won't be what you thought. The unknown, as it is investigated, turns out to be quite different most of the time.

So, why insist "it can't be this.." or "it must be that"...if it is still unknown? Enjoy the mystery.

Now, why would someone have a hard time acknowledging this?

They are wedded to a dogma. They have a "platform" or a "position" to defend. And people expect them to defend it vigorously. And their friends and colleagues are angered when they don't. If they have built a career articulating a position, that actually becomes a monstrosity that now enslaves them from thinking any other way. Along with that whole social network that also conditions them to continue to defend their static position.

My beliefs allow for whatever comes up, no surprises. And that is because my system of belief is based in science: reality is a journey of discovery, and what we think is constructed. What you or I think isn't reality. At best it is a model. And because stimulus must undergo mental cognition, which is sensitive to level of conscious awareness, conditioning and experience, that model will be different for different people.

That hard Atheists must reject all views but their own is a sign of dogmatic thinking, not an open mind to reality and to investigation.

But my belief system includes Atheism. It is a legitimate understanding for that level of thinking.

Indeed, emotional belief must mature into Atheism, where the old lessons are rejected, in order to open the world to a more comprehensive perception, direct perception. And that direct perception includes all sorts of things that, before experiencing them, we had no knowledge of.

How does belief mature into knowledge? Atheism is a most legitimate pathway. But not the hard kind that insists every dark room must be empty. The open minded Atheism, that insists every dark room is a place of discovery. A life of enlightenment, seeing and hearing, not speaking. Then, the mystic and the scientist doesn't want to spend much time talking about what they have learned, because they know it is a matter of perception, and there are layers of that, layers of conscious awareness, and each layer changes the picture substantially. And only a matter of time before the view changes again.

Now, about the brain processing information hundreds of thousands of times faster than physically is possible. This is a mystery. Not a conclusion.

The hard atheist only knows the brain works, and that is good enough for them.

But for the scientist and mystic, it is a place of journey and discovery.

As for extant theories, the filter theory is as good as any, until more data comes to light.

In the filter theorhy, the brain is a filter for "consciousness"...it is like a terminal, or like a website. You access it at your laptop, but in fact the processors that generate that awareness and mental state of mind extend well beyond your physical biochemical entity and come from a massive source, the entire creation and even beyond that.

This is, for the Atheist, an explanation. It explains what currently scientific results do not. It explains a conundrum. Scientists today are trying to figure it out: How can the brain process so quickly when physically, biochemically that appears to be impossible?

And they are now conjecturing that the brain must access quantum levels of processing in order to function near the speed of light, which is the only physical explanation that can account for the remarkable processing power of the human brain. Computer information processing models have failed miserably. The brain just doesn't work that way.

Rather than try to make me, or anyone with an open mind, wrong, in defense of your views, why not join me in accepting the reality that our different opinions are only temporary at best. It is investigation, effort, progress at raising our own consciousness that yields greater understanding, and of course, that is going to change if we are indeed making progress.

I'm sure you already believe much of this Appreciative. I appeal to that part of you, not the part engaged in a debate between two personalities who are constructions constantly undergoing revision anyway.

My brain explained...
More Swiss cheese means more holes.
More holes means less cheese.
By the transitive property of cheese, more Swiss cheese means less Swiss cheese.
Q.E.D.

The hard Atheist claims "it won't be fairies"


……….Not true, Spence. The atheist does not claim that, at all. The rationalist and the empiricist insists that he will not believe in fairies until he’s seen conclusive evidence that fairies exist. He does remain open to believing in fairies should, one day, evidence in fairies turn up. Meantime, in so far as there is thus far no evidence for fairies, he remains an a-fairy-ist; and in so far as there is thus far no evidence for God, he remains an atheist.


----------


“Rather than try to make me, or anyone with an open mind, wrong, in defense of your views, why not join me in accepting the reality that our different opinions are only temporary at best. It is investigation, effort, progress at raising our own consciousness that yields greater understanding, and of course, that is going to change if we are indeed making progress.

I'm sure you already believe much of this Appreciative. I appeal to that part of you, not the part engaged in a debate between two personalities who are constructions constantly undergoing revision anyway.”


……….It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out. That was Carl Sagan. Actually that was Carl Sagan quoting someone else, I forget who.

Certainly, keep an open mind. As I do, as well. But don’t treat all beliefs as equivalent. Don’t put up unsubstantiated speculation at par with already substantiated science. To do that is to subscribe to woo.

By all means keep an open mind, and by all means investigate all that you want. But don’t imagine that the possibilities that you’re investigating are at par, as far as a reasonable belief system, with already substantiated science. Sure, once your investigation has run its course, and some specific something that you’re investigating has actually been substantiated, then certainly we’ll add it to our repertoire of reasonable things we believe in. But until such time, speculation is all it is.

I don’t see how you can reasonably be confused, or reasonably be in disagreement with, any of this.

@AR

>> ……… The rationalist and the empiricist insists that he will not believe in fairies until he’s seen conclusive evidence that fairies exist. He does remain open to believing in fairies should, one day, evidence in fairies turn up. Meantime, in so far as there is thus far no evidence for fairies, he remains an a-fairy-ist; and in so far as there is thus far no evidence for God, he remains an atheist.<<

IF however AR, fairies do exist but are not part of this universe accessible with the senses and understandable with the brain/ mind ....AND ....because of the natural restriction and limitation of science such an proof will never be possible.

Humans can with their own mental tools and their limited instruments and theories, only proof the most simple aspects of the universe, of reality.

For survival, and killing one another it is usable but otherwise it has nothing to offer in those other fields of human interest that are not directly related to physical survival.

There many things that will remain for ever incalculable ..there can be attributed meaning an value but not number.

Even logic, which you love so much is unscientific in that sense.

The things that make people laugh from you ...things the boatman spoke about, things that were told to him by the "river"

Nothing wrong with science ... it keeps us alive in places where we otherwise would die.

Hi Appreciative:

You wrote:.
"The hard Atheist claims "it won't be fairies"
……….Not true, Spence. The atheist does not claim that, at all. The rationalist and the empiricist insists that he will not believe in fairies until he’s seen conclusive evidence that fairies exist."

This would be great if it were so. And perhaps among some Agnostics it is.

But there is a problem under the surface with this thinking. For example, I have cited three sources of data in the last two days here that confound efforts to explain consciousness only as a creation of the human brain, human biochemistry.

That is evidence that refutes the conclusion that the brain is the source for all consciousness.

On the other hand, the argument that has been repeated here is the following: brain injury resulting in limited functionality proves that all consciousness is created in the brain. However, as Jeff Goff and others, citations above, indicate that this only proves that injury to the brain influences reported perception, and awareness based upon it, not actual consciousness.

But these sources are not acknowledged. Why?
Because they run counter to the Hard Atheist / Materialist dogma....

As I pointed out earlier, people's perceptions are constructions, and filtering information that we don't want to acknowledge is part of it.

For a true rationalist and empiricist, these pieces of information and scholarly review are considered parts of the story, not to be dismissed at all. But the Hard Atheist, claiming to be an empiricist, ignores that information.

So let me be more succinct.
So long as the human brain has been proven to function thousands of times faster than its biochemistry allows, under our current understanding of current physical law, the filter theory has a source of evidence to support it.

And further, so long as the neural correlates don't exist that we know of to source brain functioning, one cannot conclude that the brain is defacto the source of consciousness.

A materialist can claim this, from their visible perspective.

But a deeper look indicates that the functioning of the brain confounds that thinking and does not actually have empirical evidence to support it.

Indeed much research points to the opposite, as cited earlier above and elsewhere: Increasing reports of conscious awareness often coincide with lower levels of brain functioning, as measured by MRI, especially in meditation research, but also in performance research as well.

So, if what you say is true, then simply proposing that brain consciousness has not been proven to be sourced entirely within the human brain isn't "spam" or "fairies in the garden" at all.

It's the current position of the Neuroscience community. (the community responsible for actually generating research, not writing popular books on philosophy).

AR:
For your reading pleasure:
"We propose that the hard problem arises because one or more assumptions within a materialistic worldview are either wrong or incomplete. If consciousness entails more than the activity of neurons, then we can contemplate new ways of thinking about the hard problem. This review examines phenomena that apparently contradict the notion that consciousness is exclusively dependent on brain activity, including phenomena where consciousness appears to extend beyond the physical brain and body in both space and time. The mechanisms underlying these “non-local” properties are vaguely suggestive of quantum entanglement in physics, but how such effects might manifest remains highly speculative. The existence of these non-local effects appears to support the proposal that post-materialistic models of consciousness may be required to break the conceptual impasse presented by the hard problem of consciousness."

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9490228/#:~:text=Neuroscience%20today%20says%20consciousness%20is,it%20emerges%20from%20brain%20activity.

From the National Library of Medicine / Frontiers in Psychology journal..

"So long as the human brain has been proven to function thousands of times faster than its biochemistry allows, under our current understanding of current physical law, the filter theory has a source of evidence to support it."


..........Spence, I've not actually seen the research you mention, but assuming that you're right, and even granting to you that the research does point to the human brain functioning much faster than the biochemistry allows: is it then not reasonable to think that one's understanding of biochemistry is what is lacking, and needs updation, rather than to imagine it owes to some kind of extra-material consciousness? Is it not reasonable to actually conduct research on biochemistry to better understand what so far eludes full understanding, rather than to imagine that speculations tantamount to substantiated science?

And in any case, what has an immaterial consciousness to do with any of this? Why an immaterial consciousness? Where on earth did it spring from? That's exactly like that God of the Gaps thing, what you're trying to pull off here.

Check out my argumentum ad absurdum. Why not a teapot orbiting some star in some galaxy far away, that somehow has caused all of this, if one must invoke random extraneous speculations? Or, if one prefers Sagan to Russel, then why not invisible dragons?


Again, I'm not saying that we must necessarily dismiss all notions of extra-material consciousness, or indeed of fairies. By all means research extra-material consciousness, if you like. But don't hold that speculation, or for that matter the possible hypothesis in an ongoing investigation, on par with established science. To do that is to fall into the woo trap. When that research is done, and if at that time extra-material consciousness stands substantiated, then sure, we'll applaud the research, and accept that belief. But until then, I don't see why you keep insisting that your pet unsubstantiated beliefs must be treated with the same respect that we accord to already substantiated science.


(Like I said, Spence, we've already danced this dance, haven't we? Danced it to death, in fact, and already said all that can be said about this, twice over, three and four times over, already, back when we'd had that discussion a year or two back or whenever that was?)

@ AR

I just finished listening to one of the first scientific studies to fiend out whether biological food is better than common grown food.

The decide d to start with a double blind experiment with chickens that were given the same food but one from biological background and one from common sources.These foods were labeled a and b and nobody at the insititute knew which was what.

They didn't find much differences until the chickens were artificial contaminate with and kind of flu virus. It turned out that the the a fed chickens, recovered faster than those fed with the other food.

So far so good. Until this point ALL participating scholars from the three participating organisations, one representing the biological industry, the agricultural university representing the common [so called scientific] farming industry and TNO "THE" state institute to look after scientific developments, they ALL agreed that the a fed chickens did better.

BUT .... after it was revealed which food was biological and which not and it turned out to be that A was biological ... the doors of hell were opened and the manager of this research was "FORCED" to say in the press presenting the outcome to the minister of agriculture that no conclusions were possible.

II will not go in detail as to who said what and why but just one ...the participant scholar wrote in another piece of paper that he didn't want HIS NAME be used in ANY publication that used the word BIOLOGICAL

SO AR the means of scientific research can be followed to the letter, but that what matters is what do humans with it and it turns out that scientific research can and will be used just to serve UN-scientific interests ...what makes scientific research as good as snake oil

Hello, um.

Agreed, old friend, there’s no doubt much that exists that we have not the slightest inkling of yet. And there may well be much that exists that will forever remain beyond your capacity to understand.

I agree, it is good and proper, and reasonable, to have the humility to understand the limits to our understanding.

What I disagree with is when that reasonable principle, when the reasonable person’s humility, is imposed on to pretend that something that no one knows so far might well be truth.

When Osho Robbins, for instance, insists that just because there’s a great deal we don’t know, therefore we must accept unsubstantiated cock and bull stories about some One that he’s cooked up, then that’s what I object to, and most reasonable folks will object to. When Spence claims that because there’s a great deal we don’t know, therefore we must imagine that there exists some extra-material consciousness, then that’s what I object to, and most reasonable folks would object to.

Sure, let Osho Robbins conduct research on One. Sure, let Spence conduct research on this extra-material consciousness. (For that matter, sure, let Appreciative Reader also, to the best of his humble capacity, conduct his own subjective research into extra-material consciousness.) But to claim that because we don’t know much, and recognize that there’s limits to our understanding, therefore we must necessarily treat random speculation at par with established science, that’s simply woo territory.


----------


As far as Hesse's boatman, hm. That does give one pause. What is one to do with understanding of that kind? ...I wouldn't want to answer that in a hurry, it's a great question!

Still, let's not forget, that's simply fiction, right? There's no such boatman, and no such understanding, outside of Hesse's imagination.

Nevertheless, great question, and you do well to bring up. That's one question well worth pondering over, what one might do if one arrived at some such first-hand understanding.


(Still, if some boatman were to turn up, and start claiming that he's experienced stuff, and therefore I must believe in random things he claims to have seen, well then the answer to that much is clear enough. No sane reasonable person should accept those cock and bull stories. At most one can embark on that same journey, and try to see for oneself what there is to be seen, provided that's what interests one enough, and that's what one wants to do with one's short life. But as far as what is a reasonable claim to accept from someone else, the issue is clear enough.)

Agreed, um. Science is just a technique, a method. If someone wishes to misrepresent the findings of science, they well may.

Remember that woman who was in the news? I forget her name, the Theranos woman? That was someone ostensibly using the methods of science, and claiming the authority of science, and selling, as you say, snake oil. She's sitting in jail now.

Simple said.

Scientist are also human and science doesn't make them BETTER humans

However perfect science might be it always becomes corrupted in the hands of humans.

FACTS, scientific facts, are what they are,
not always what they look like
let alone how they are presented by interested parties suffering from greed, ego and of course the lack of coffee

Hi AR:
You wrote:
"is it then not reasonable to think that one's understanding of biochemistry is what is lacking, and needs updation, rather than to imagine it owes to some kind of extra-material consciousness? Is it not reasonable to actually conduct research on biochemistry to better understand what so far eludes full understanding, rather than to imagine that speculations tantamount to substantiated science?"

Both. The entire field of Neuroscience has grown from examination and investigation. But it has also been confounded.

You may recall the great bet between Chalmers and Koch I referred to above.
Koch bet Chalmers thirty years ago that by today Neuroscience would have adequately mapped the neuro correlates of the brain, so that it would have been concluded that the brain was indeed the sole source of consciousness.

But just a few months ago Koch conceded to Chalmers, and gave him a case of wine as the bet, that indeed Neuroscience has done no such thing. Those nuerocorrelates are not nearly complete enough. And there is indeed enough confounding information to propose that more is there than we understand.

ou may hear their comments for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plJXi54lp8c

Now, this doesn't mean proposing any odd theology, but simply that something more is going on.
But is it contained in the tiny human brain? Not enough data supports this, and plenty supports the conclusion that we don't know what's going on...as cited earlier.

Gravity is a great example. Gravity affects bodies in space millions of miles apart, yet there is no detectable intermediary. We don't actually know what gravity is, only how it works.

Why would this be different for any other thing in creation?

"The truth is we know very little about how the brain works. We know a lot about the basic chemistry: how neurons fire, how chemical signals are transmitted. And we know a fair bit about the large functions of various brain regions. But we know almost nothing about how these large-scale functions are realized at the cellular level. To an extent, abstract theorizing has stood in for detailed neurophysiological investigation of what is actually going on in the brain."
Dr. Phillip Goff at the Durham University in the U.K., in the article I cited from Scientific American titled "Understanding Consciousness Goes Beyond Brain Chemistry."

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/understanding-consciousness-goes-beyond-exploring-brain-chemistry/

For anyone to propose that, given today's body of scientific knowledge, that the brain is in fact the sole source of consciousness, is a very bold claim. One that no researcher in Neuroscience today would support.

Unless you have some actual scientific data to prove this.

So, I'm not making a claim about where consciousness is sourced.

But Brian, you and others have done so. You have claimed it sits entirely, 100%, inside this very slow bag of chemicals called the brain.

And therefore the burden of proof is back to you.

@AR

In this case there was NOTHING wrong with the scientific process but as the outcome was other that one of the participating parties had in mind, they blocked the way for further research and repeating the first strategy on "higher" animals by forcing those that offered the outcome in public to the minister of agriculture that there was no advantage found related to organic food while there was .. what would have opened the door for more research.

SO .. the outcome was MADE SEEN in another light to the advantage of the agricultural practice based on artificial growth power and defence power to the soil ...all means that are relate to HUGE money


@ AR

In the last chapter Hesse makes it clear that the knowledge gained cannot be pransfered by words. When the two friends are taking leave of one another Govinda asks Siddhartha for a last advice so that he to can find what he believes to be seen on the faces of both the Boeedha and his friend.

His friend doesn't say a word but suggest him to kiss him goodbye on the forehead at which he gets enlightened to

Hesse must have studied quite a lot as he represents in his book with fictive people etc. the same things that are to be found in the DASBODH an book that i consider as the root information of all nowadays spiritual schools in India ... the need of SAT SANG .. the company with the truth

That is nothing cryptic about ... as all talents are made to flourish under the tutolance of a master .. irrespective the field of knowledge.

The best teacher and the worst talented etc student will bring out the best
The most miserable teacher will ruin the development of the best talent
Teacher have nothing to give, the talent must be there the effort must be there and the love between the two will work as a catalyst.

Inner experiences can not be shown, nor repeated but they that have them will be changed in such an way as not possible with other means of manipulation .. that is what William James has made clear as far as I understood in his "varieties of religious experience" regarding mystic experiences.

It is quite simple these experiences have always been with mankind, the are described and all state that it is something private, not to be shared with anybody .. it is like an talent so to say .. one has it or one has it not and the talent cannot be shared with anybody, like money or any other commodity.

Unfortunately, people cannot stop trying to find advantages in these experiences for their survival in nature and culture and these advantages are simple said not there.

Mysticism does nnot make anything in this world or the world better .. to suggest it can is selling snake oil.

Spence writes:

" anyone to propose that, given today's body of scientific knowledge, that the brain is in fact the sole source of consciousness, is a very bold claim. One that no researcher in Neuroscience today would support."

Sorry, but your hyperbole here is factually wrong. There are indeed researchers in several fields, including neuroscience, that believe the brain is the sole source of consciousness.

Extend your research and it will upend your hyperbolic and inaccurate statements.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02091/full

Hi Studythebrain:

You wrote:

"There are indeed researchers in several fields, including neuroscience, that believe the brain is the sole source of consciousness."

Then you cite research which actually proposes that consciousness is dependent, not merely upon the physical attributes of the brain, but upon the effect of energy itself, which has been little researched.

It's quite clear, reading the very research you cite, that you must have filtered your own interpretation.

The article establishes the mystery around the current research, and proposes that energy itself may be part of the process. And that is not solely based in what we know today of the physical brain.

From the very first sentance:
"To explain consciousness as a physical process we must acknowledge the role of energy in the brain."

This is a matter of explanation, not proof, and even this explanation requires positing new dynamics beyond what is currently known.

All science investigates the physical universe. But that investigation enters new territory all the time. To claim that consciousness can only be explained by physical phenomenon is not a statement of fact, but of belief, because we don't understand all the phenomenon.

You are most welcome to site research in Neuroscience that claims to prove that consciousness is only produced by the physical brain and nothing else. No neuroscientist actively conducting research today would make such a claim, precisely because of what the authors of the article you cited claim: We don't know all the processes. And as such they are proposing energy itself as an area of further inquiry.

"Recent neuroscientific evidence can be interpreted in a way that suggests consciousness is a product of the organization of energetic activity in the brain. The nature of energy itself, though, remains largely mysterious,"
ibid

No scientist, certainly not the ones you cite, have made the claim you are making.
But it's fine if it's YOUR claim. It just becomes highly inaccurate when you claim science has proven it.

It has not.

I see you are not getting the point of my message.

You wrote (not I) "that anyone to propose that, given today's body of scientific knowledge, that the brain is in fact the sole source of consciousness, is a very bold claim. One that no researcher in Neuroscience today would support."

It is your exaggeration that is being called into question. Also, be accurate. I never used the phrase "proven it."

Proofs are the providence of mathematics, not science. Given that our inductive methods can always find new information to augment or even overthrow our earlier ideas.

My point was simple: there are indeed neuroscientists who hold that the brain is the fulcrum from which consciousness emerges.

Nobody said it was "proven." It was to point out that your over-the-top exaggeration needs to be corrected.

Francis Crick, of course, maybe the most famous example:

"The Astonishing Hypothesis is that “You,” your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules."

My point once again isn't about proof or whether consciousness is only of the brain, but only that you shouldn't make categorical statements that don't hold up.

More humility, less hubris.


Focusing on the brain as the seat of consciousness has a number of advocates.
https://neurosciencenews.com/consciousness-theory-21571/#:~:text=Lastly%2C%20we%20suggest%20that%20the,to%20this%20conscious%20memory%20system.

Hi Cricksyoungerbrother

You wrote
"Francis Crick, of course, maybe the most famous example:

"The Astonishing Hypothesis is that “You,” your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules."

That is what Kristoph Koch thought also....
" Koch bet Chalmers a case of wine that within 25 years—that is, by 2023—researchers would discover a “clear” neural pattern underlying consciousness"
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-25-year-old-bet-about-consciousness-has-finally-been-settled/#:~:text=Koch%20bet%20Chalmers%20a%20case,invented%20by%20neuroscientist%20Giulio%20Tononi.

But he suffered from the same Hubris his hero, Crick, did, only to lose the bet.

"Together with biophysicist Francis Crick, he had been proclaiming in Scientific American and elsewhere that consciousness, which philosophers have wrestled with for millennia, was scientifically tractable...."
ibid

"Back to the bet between Koch and Chalmers: They agreed that, for Koch to win, the evidence for a neural signature of consciousness must be “clear.” That word “clear” doomed Koch. “It’s clear that things are not clear,” Chalmers said, and Koch, grimacing, concurred. He stalked off the stage and reappeared with a case of wine as the audience laughed and applauded."
Ibid

If Koch conceded that we can't draw this conclusion, is it humble of you to claim otherwise?

Say it with me,
" I Dont Know. "

BEOPEN

The article you cite, when you take some time with it, says something else..

"We knew that conscious processes were simply too slow to be actively involved in music, sports, and other activities where split-second reflexes are required. But if consciousness is not involved in such processes, then a better explanation of what consciousness does was needed,” said Budson"

https://neurosciencenews.com/consciousness-theory-21571/#:~:text=Lastly%2C%20we%20suggest%20that%20the,to%20this%20conscious%20memory%20system.

The brain physically does not and cannot, under current laws of physics and biochemistry, function at the speeds it does.

Biochemical signals operate far too slowly to explain how the human brain can process as much information in one second than one of the world's largest supercomputers in forty minutes.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.popsci.com/article/science/supercomputer-takes-40-minutes-create-super-detailed-model-1-second-brain-activity/%3famp

Biochemical signals travel about 2,000 miles an hour.

Electronic signals travel at over 600,000, 000 miles per hour.

Wow. Right?

So now folks are suggesting the brain must function near the speed of light. And how to do that? That's the source of a whole lot of theories...

No one would conclude, as you have, that they actually know the answer.

If they don't know why claim you do?

Say it with me..

"I don't know."

My dear Spence,

You keep avoiding the obvious.

You make a categorical statement for which you were rightly taken to task.

Don't exaggerate.

Yes, there are many views about consciousness, but saying that nobody believes that it comes from the brain is simply inaccurate.

That is the entire message that you are avoiding like a dodgeball.

You are the one with the agenda.

Perhaps it is just the brain/body complex that creates consciousness.

Perhaps not, but no need to claim that nobody believes that the brain is the seat of it.

Hi Dodgeball101

You are avoiding the facts of science while trying to stand behind science as your claim.

Your claim that consciousness is created in the brain is simply an overreach. And you are the one who is dodging this simple fact. Neuroscience has investigated many aspects of the brain that are indeed related to perception and cognition, and there is much medical and pharmacological research on levels of consciousness. There is much psychological research and physiological research on attention and awareness.

But none of these attempts to prove that consciousness can be entirely explained by what we know of the human brain.

There are theories about how consciousness is generated by brain activity.

But the case hasn't been proven yet. And no neuroscientist would state that it has been proven. As you and others continue to falsely state here.

Yet you are claiming consciousness is entirely sourced in the human brain. That's OK as your belief.

But you and others here go beyond to claim this is an established scientific fact. And further, to claim any questioning of your claim is irrational, insincere, dodging the issue, etc...Ad Hominem attacks that are also false.

But as a scientific fact, what you claim is a simple overreach. And no neuroscientist actually conducting research would claim what you have claimed, that it is an established fact that consciousness is entirely sourced within the human brain. We simply don't understand consciousness well enough to make that claim.

Just accept that while it fits the materialist model, no scientific experiment has yet provided the evidence needed to establish this as true.

And that is why no neuroscientist would claim that science has proven it.

Furthermore Christof Koch and David Chalmers (who first posed the hard problem) had a bet that what you claim repeatedly is true would be proven by now. But Koch, just a few months ago, and on stage, agreed with Chalmers that the bet has been lost. Neuroscience can't actually map the neuro-correlates necessary to prove that consciousness can be entirely explained by what is known of the physical brain.

Here, read it again...
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-25-year-old-bet-about-consciousness-has-finally-been-settled/#:~:text=Koch%20bet%20Chalmers%20a%20case,invented%20by%20neuroscientist%20Giulio%20Tononi.

And if you like you may listen to David Chalmers and Christoff Koch discuss in great depth what Neuroscience has NOT yet proven...the very source of consciousness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plJXi54lp8c


So let me reiterate for you that there is a difference in what you choose to believe, in what you may hope is true, or hope science proves one day, and what you claim science has actually proven, and that this is what neuroscientists believe is established as scientific fact. It is not.

You, Brian and others have claimed repeatedly that Neuroscience has proven as fact that consciousness is entirely sourced in the human brain. This is a false statement. Just admit it.

Neuroscience has not proven that consciousness is entirely sourced in the physical brain. And no neuroscientist would claim it. Chalmers and Koch have boldly acknowledged that as of today Neuroscience hasn't proven that.

So it's OK to be wrong. If Koch could admit it, so can you. Say it with me...

"I don't know!"

Hi Dodgeball:

Let me be succinct.
You wrote:
"Yes, there are many views about consciousness, but saying that nobody believes that it comes from the brain is simply inaccurate."

But you did not read what I wrote very carefully.
"that anyone to propose that, given today's body of scientific knowledge, that the brain is in fact the sole source of consciousness, is a very bold claim. One that no researcher in Neuroscience today would support."

This is true. Neuroscience hasn't gone that far yet.

So just don't claim it is true, unless you actually have the facts to back up such a bold claim.
You won't find them in Neuroscience, yet.

The magical secret to brain speed and efficiency is parallel processing combined with analog signaling!
https://nautil.us/why-is-the-human-brain-so-efficient-237042/

Nope, it's a lovey-dovey couple, he a fire-breathing dragon, she a rainbow-farting unicorn, that orbit a sun in a galaxy far far away, while sipping tea. And their teapot, that has "Russel's" written across it, is imbued with the power to have particular kinds of brains act in certain ways, across the whole universe.

Which is what this is all about. No neuroscientist can show that ain't so. Nor does any true neuroscientist say that ain't so. Nor, if you ask them, will they dismiss that possibility --- at least not the true blue Scotsmen among them.

A teapot full of exaFLOPS!

Hi Umami!
This is a great article, from a renowned authority. Dr. Lou and others have proven that the brain functions in parallel. With 100 billion neurons and 100 billion x 7,000 dendritic tree connections that is a lot of parallel processing. However, the Tennis performance Dr. Lou uses is just an hypothesis. No one has actually mapped the activity to prove this is the whole story. However, more research is needed, including experiments that can duplicate the complex functioning of the brain to actually prove this theory.

More recent research is pointing to the dendridic trees...

“Until now, there hasn't been much mapping of what inputs are going to those dendrites,” Harnett says. “We found that there are some sophisticated wiring rules here, with different inputs going to different dendrites.”
https://news.mit.edu/2022/dendrites-help-neurons-perform-0217


More research is needed to establish and to actually reproduce in the lab models of how biochemical transmission, even multiplied on scales of magnitude, can actually explain performance functioning that would require brain transmissions near the speed of light. Today we have some theories.

And those, of course, do not explain consciousness. Only performance.

To make claims about consciousness is to make claims about an entire system when we are still learning incrementally about the parts.

Still, understanding those parts should humble us to avoid making sweeping claims.

It's still a mystery.

Say it with me Umami:
"I Don't Know"

Here is an interesting, albeit highly speculatory, article from researchers about the hypothesized presence and impact of quantum energy fields in the brain..

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7053547/#:~:text=The%20energy%20in%20our%20brain,and%20projected%2Dlike%20brain%20energy.

we may be more connected than we know...

Now we're getting somewhere.

Let's all say "Heisenberg," since everyone knows and doesn't know simultaneously. And all creatures. And possibly all things.

Sorry but I did read you carefully and that is precisely why you were called our for hyperbole.

Perhaps you should try out fro the sequel to the film Dodgeball. You might be a winner.

Hi Umami:

You wrote:
"Now we're getting somewhere.

"Let's all say "Heisenberg," since everyone knows and doesn't know simultaneously. And all creatures. And possibly all things."

Ha! LOL!

Perfect. You have completed the discussion perfectly... We know and don't know simultaneously...Love it.
(Although I actually don't know....and I think I've proved it!).


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