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Why Great Minds Can't Grasp Consciousness
LiveScience.com ^ | 8-8-05 | Ker Than

Posted on 08/09/2005 5:17:08 PM PDT by beavus

At a physics meeting last October, Nobel laureate David Gross outlined 25 questions in science that he thought physics might help answer. Nestled among queries about black holes and the nature of dark matter and dark energy were questions that wandered beyond the traditional bounds of physics to venture into areas typically associated with the life sciences.

One of the Gross's questions involved human consciousness.

He wondered whether scientists would ever be able to measure the onset consciousness in infants and speculated that consciousness might be similar to what physicists call a "phase transition," an abrupt and sudden large-scale transformation resulting from several microscopic changes. The emergence of superconductivity in certain metals when cooled below a critical temperature is an example of a phase transition.

In a recent email interview, Gross said he figures there are probably many different levels of consciousness, but he believes that language is a crucial factor distinguishing the human variety from that of animals.

Gross isn't the only physicist with ideas about consciousness.

Beyond the mystics

Roger Penrose, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University, believes that if a "theory of everything" is ever developed in physics to explain all the known phenomena in the universe, it should at least partially account for consciousness.

Penrose also believes that quantum mechanics, the rules governing the physical world at the subatomic level, might play an important role in consciousness.

It wasn't that long ago that the study of consciousness was considered to be too abstract, too subjective or too difficult to study scientifically. But in recent years, it has emerged as one of the hottest new fields in biology, similar to string theory in physics or the search for extraterrestrial life in astronomy.

No longer the sole purview of philosophers and mystics, consciousness is now attracting the attention of scientists from across a variety of different fields, each, it seems, with their own theories about what consciousness is and how it arises from the brain.

In many religions, consciousness is closely tied to the ancient notion of the soul, the idea that in each of us, there exists an immaterial essence that survives death and perhaps even predates birth. It was believed that the soul was what allowed us to think and feel, remember and reason.

Our personality, our individuality and our humanity were all believed to originate from the soul.

Nowadays, these things are generally attributed to physical processes in the brain, but exactly how chemical and electrical signals between trillions of brain cells called neurons are transformed into thoughts, emotions and a sense of self is still unknown.

"Almost everyone agrees that there will be very strong correlations between what's in the brain and consciousness," says David Chalmers, a philosophy professor and Director of the Center for Consciousness at the Australian National University. "The question is what kind of explanation that will give you. We want more than correlation, we want explanation -- how and why do brain process give rise to consciousness? That's the big mystery."

Just accept it

Chalmers is best known for distinguishing between the 'easy' problems of consciousness and the 'hard' problem.

The easy problems are those that deal with functions and behaviors associated with consciousness and include questions such as these: How does perception occur? How does the brain bind different kinds of sensory information together to produce the illusion of a seamless experience?

"Those are what I call the easy problems, not because they're trivial, but because they fall within the standard methods of the cognitive sciences," Chalmers says.

The hard problem for Chalmers is that of subjective experience.

"You have a different kind of experience -- a different quality of experience -- when you see red, when you see green, when you hear middle C, when you taste chocolate," Chalmers told LiveScience. "Whenever you're conscious, whenever you have a subjective experience, it feels like something."

According to Chalmers, the subjective nature of consciousness prevents it from being explained in terms of simpler components, a method used to great success in other areas of science. He believes that unlike most of the physical world, which can be broken down into individual atoms, or organisms, which can be understood in terms of cells, consciousness is an irreducible aspect of the universe, like space and time and mass.

"Those things in a way didn't need to evolve," said Chalmers. "They were part of the fundamental furniture of the world all along."

Instead of trying to reduce consciousness to something else, Chalmers believes consciousness should simply be taken for granted, the way that space and time and mass are in physics. According to this view, a theory of consciousness would not explain what consciousness is or how it arose; instead, it would try to explain the relationship between consciousness and everything else in the world.

Not everyone is enthusiastic about this idea, however.

'Not very helpful'

"It's not very helpful," said Susan Greenfield, a professor of pharmacology at Oxford University.

"You can't do very much with it," Greenfield points out. "It's the last resort, because what can you possibly do with that idea? You can't prove it or disprove it, and you can't test it. It doesn't offer an explanation, or any enlightenment, or any answers about why people feel the way they feel."

Greenfield's own theory of consciousness is influenced by her experience working with drugs and mental diseases. Unlike some other scientists -- most notably the late Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, and his colleague David Koch, a professor of computation and neural systems at Caltech -- who believed that different aspects of consciousness like visual awareness are encoded by specific neurons, Greenfield thinks that consciousness involves large groups of nonspecialized neurons scattered throughout the brain.

Important for Greenfield's theory is a distinction between 'consciousness' and 'mind,' terms that she says many of her colleagues use interchangeably, but which she believes are two entirely different concepts.

"You talk about losing your mind or blowing your mind or being out of your mind, but those things don't necessarily entail a loss of consciousness," Greenfield said in a telephone interview. "Similarly, when you lose your consciousness, when you go to sleep at night or when you're anesthetized, you don't really think that you're really going to be losing your mind."

Like the wetness of water

According to Greenfield, the mind is made up of the physical connections between neurons. These connections evolve slowly and are influenced by our past experiences and therefore, everyone's brain is unique.

But whereas the mind is rooted in the physical connections between neurons, Greenfield believes that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, similar to the 'wetness' of water or the 'transparency' of glass, both of which are properties that are the result of -- that is, they emerge from -- the actions of individual molecules.

For Greenfield, a conscious experience occurs when a stimulus -- either external, like a sensation, or internal, like a thought or a memory -- triggers a chain reaction within the brain. Like in an earthquake, each conscious experience has an epicenter, and ripples from that epicenter travels across the brain, recruiting neurons as they go.

Mind and consciousness are connected in Greenfield's theory because the strength of a conscious experience is determined by the mind and the strength of its existing neuronal connections -- connections forged from past experiences.

Part of the mystery and excitement about consciousness is that scientists don't know what form the final answer will take.

"If I said to you I'd solved the hard problem, you wouldn't be able to guess whether it would be a formula, a model, a sensation, or a drug," said Greenfield. "What would I be giving you?"


TOPICS: Philosophy
KEYWORDS: consciousness; mind; philosophy; physics; quantumphysics; science
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1 posted on 08/09/2005 5:17:10 PM PDT by beavus
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To: beavus

Shoot, I've already got this figured out. But I'm not telling those guys.


2 posted on 08/09/2005 5:23:20 PM PDT by mlo
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To: beavus
Part of the mystery and excitement about consciousness is that scientists don't know what form the final answer will take.

Part of the basic conundrum of reason
We understand the Universe through reason but
a basic tenet of logic is that a thing can not be used to explain itself
reason cannot explain itself
3 posted on 08/09/2005 5:24:27 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: beavus
Erwin Schrodinger's Mind and Matter is an early work in this field -- ie a speculative essay.

Crick and Koch tried to look at this, but generally seemed to more be examining perception than consciousness.

The point about mind vs consciousness is a very good point and central to the problem in this field -- what is actually being studied to be understtod isn't defined.

4 posted on 08/09/2005 5:25:39 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: tallhappy
Classical systems theory postulates that there is a hierarchy of levels of systemic complexity, and that each higher level will have emergent properties which cannot be predicted or explained by the principles which operate at lower levels.

By this reckoning, consciousness as an attribute of the human nervous system is likely an emergent property which cannot be explained except at a level of complexity higher still--whatever that might be.

5 posted on 08/09/2005 5:40:41 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: HangnJudge

That's correct, you cannot explain (in western logical
empirical ways) some phenomena by incorporating that same
phenomena in the explanation.

If all(and I mean ALL) of your thoughts, emotions, perceptions,
etc. can be explained by the movements/interactions/"essence"/
emergence of the physical universe how do you know those
thoughts, emotions, and perceptions are in any way TRUE?

If all(and I mean ALL) of your thoughts/emotions/perceptions(TEP) are a product
of the random fluctations of newtonian/quantum physical
processes, then how do you know if your TEPs about the
physical processes themselves are TRUE? If indeed, your TEPs about
the physical processare are CAUSED by the physical processes
themselves, then there can be no such thing as a proof.
You have proven that there is no such thing
as a proof!!! Which is absurd.

Obviously there is something "other" than the physical. Call it
a "soul" or "consciousness" or "being" but it's not
physical and I believe it cannot be explained ever by any
physical process. Unfortunately, that fact will lead some
to believe that there is no such thing as physical reality,
which can get you into trouble while using a flame thrower
to light your cigarette.


6 posted on 08/09/2005 5:52:31 PM PDT by Getready ((...Fear not ...))
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To: beavus
Roger Penrose, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University, believes that if a "theory of everything" is ever developed in physics to explain all the known phenomena in the universe, it should at least partially account for consciousness.

Shouldn't a "theory of everything" explain everything? ...after all from the physics perspective we are just a chunk of energy and matter in close formation that seems to be self directed and aware of it self

7 posted on 08/09/2005 5:59:16 PM PDT by tophat9000 (When the State ASSUMES death...It makes an ASH out of you and me..)
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To: Getready
I prefer to believe that the presence of Reason in our thoughts is one piece of evidence of miracle in our lives
8 posted on 08/09/2005 6:02:25 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: beavus

Great article. Science cannot answer all the questions. Higher forms of conciousness (soul) may require instruments that are not the perview of science but of faith


9 posted on 08/09/2005 6:05:55 PM PDT by bubman
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To: tallhappy
The classic example is the weight of an empty floppy disk is .8 ounce. But a completely full one is still .8 ounce. Software has no mass, but controls the way the machine operates.
10 posted on 08/09/2005 6:10:43 PM PDT by D Rider
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To: beavus
Part of the mystery and excitement about consciousness is that scientists don't know what form the final answer will take.

Physicists have theorized about many different types of forces for matter. The strong force, the weak force, magnetism, gravity, and whatever else.

But, there might be another force which they haven't thought about or are afraid to postulate: that property of matter might be 'awareness' or consciousness. The most minute particle would possess that property and when interacting with a few or many particles, that 'consciousness' gets augmented. And depending upon the types of matter doing the interaction, the consciousness takes many different forms.

That consciousness property of matter could be called the "God' force.

11 posted on 08/09/2005 6:16:51 PM PDT by adorno (The democrats are the best recruiting tool the terrorists could ever have.)
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To: beavus
Important for Greenfield's theory is a distinction between 'consciousness' and 'mind,' terms that she says many of her colleagues use interchangeably, but which she believes are two entirely different concepts.

A fascinating distinction that I wonder about regularly.
Each of my days begins with a couple of hours with just me and two critters, a cat and a dog.

I don't have to validate the notion that they both have consciousness, identical to mine, but no mind, in the sense that humans do.

However, I am convinced, empirically, that their "consciousness" have qualities that humans' do not. Heightened senses. Something, that in ourselves, we would deem ESP.

12 posted on 08/09/2005 6:19:41 PM PDT by Publius6961 (Liberal level playing field: If the Islamics win we are their slaves..if we win they are our equals.)
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To: Getready
If all(and I mean ALL) of your thoughts/emotions/perceptions(TEP) are a product of the random fluctations of newtonian/quantum physical processes, then how do you know if your TEPs about the physical processes themselves are TRUE?

As explained by your last paragraph, it is simple. If too many of your TEPs about physical process are false, you cease to exist.

I see no logic in your random thoughts.

Randomness is clearly limited and bounded. This is how the universe has order. You may see something mystical about this, but it by no means is obvious to me.

13 posted on 08/09/2005 7:19:40 PM PDT by marktwain
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To: tophat9000
Shouldn't a "theory of everything" explain everything?

Indeed it should. If it doesn't, then they should rename it "the theory of a lot of things".

14 posted on 08/09/2005 7:40:28 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: D Rider
the weight of an empty floppy disk is .8 ounce. But a completely full one is still .8 ounce. Software has no mass, but controls the way the machine operates.

The mass of the floppy disk is .8 ounce, and will remain .8 ounce regardless of whether its individual magnetic particles are charged in a positive or negative manner. It's the pattern of neg (0) and pos (1) polarity of the existing particles already on the disk that make up what we call "software", not whether the disk is empty (which it is not) or full (also, which it is not)

15 posted on 08/09/2005 7:46:56 PM PDT by Mr_Moonlight
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To: beavus

Maybe later read, maybe later pingout.

I've got news for the scientists and philosophers, but since it's beautifully simple, and they didn't "think" of it, they won't like it.


16 posted on 08/09/2005 7:55:28 PM PDT by little jeremiah (A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom. P. Henry)
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To: Mr_Moonlight
It's the pattern of neg (0) and pos (1) polarity of the existing particles already on the disk that make up what we call "software", not whether the disk is empty (which it is not) or full (also, which it is not)

exactly, software, ie.. information, is massless and therefore independent of space-time.

17 posted on 08/09/2005 8:01:00 PM PDT by D Rider
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To: beavus
The hard problem for Chalmers is that of subjective experience.

Well, this Chalmers guy at least seems to be someone who "gets it". So many who are commited to objectivity are dismissive of the problem of the subjective. Probably because it's so excruciating.

My thought has been that we have a lot further to go on the "easy" problem of objective correlates of subjective expericence. Consider color. Schroedinger mentioned that "yellow" would be the stimulation of a certain set of nerves. But what could distinguish these nerves from the "blue" nerves? If there were "yellow" and "blue" nerves, otherwise physically identical, this would vindicate dualism. From my "readings on color" I see the indication that color perception involves qualitatively different neural patterns. But even then, why should various abstract patterns be associated with the variable subjective perceptions?

The question is excruciating.

18 posted on 08/09/2005 8:13:02 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: D Rider
exactly, software, ie.. information, is massless and therefore independent of space-time.

Are you perchance a Chuck Missler fan?

19 posted on 08/09/2005 8:15:19 PM PDT by itsahoot (Reagan promised to abolish the Dept of Education and the 55 mph Limit. Which was least important?)
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To: D Rider
The classic example is the weight of an empty floppy disk is .8 ounce. But a completely full one is still .8 ounce. Software has no mass, but controls the way the machine operates.

Yeah. Good analogy. There are physical changes in a disk and in a brain, but it's elctricomagnetic or electochemical. At the same time the brain is more like firware.

20 posted on 08/09/2005 9:32:37 PM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: dr_lew
Consider color

A lively discussion in my office (and its a clerical office, not scientific:) was about the effects of vitamin B-12 on "dreaming in color instead of black-and-white". I maintained that it was impossible to prove that you dreamt in color with any sort of empirical or observational evidence. The 'color dreamer' could only testify that they'd dreamt in color, but it could not be proven scientifically.
Subsequently, I tried experimenting with my own dreams using lucid conciousness techniques, and found that during a lucid dream when I thought about the question, then sure enough the dream became 'in full technicolor'! Otherwise it was just a jumble of seemingly random thought patterns. But I couldn't PROVE any of it !!!

Your mileage may vary ........ :)

The question is excruciating

Excruciating indeed !! {grin}

21 posted on 08/09/2005 10:07:04 PM PDT by Mr_Moonlight
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To: beavus

INTREP - Einstein's Gulf ALERT


22 posted on 08/09/2005 10:16:13 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (The radical secularization of America is happening)
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To: beavus
The illusion of consciousness arises, I think, from our actually being unaware.

Being unable to directly sense the cause of what we call consciousness, causes us to believe we are experiencing something special.

Rather we are supremely unconscious of the wider world of existence.
23 posted on 08/09/2005 10:18:13 PM PDT by Age of Reason
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To: itsahoot

Of course.


24 posted on 08/09/2005 10:20:36 PM PDT by D Rider
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To: hinckley buzzard

"Classical systems theory postulates that there is a hierarchy of levels of systemic complexity, and that each higher level will have emergent properties which cannot be predicted or explained by the principles which operate at lower levels."

So it's not "as above so below."


25 posted on 08/09/2005 11:01:01 PM PDT by Blind Eye Jones
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To: beavus
He wondered whether scientists would ever be able to measure the onset of consciousness in infants and speculated that consciousness might be similar to what physicists call a "phase transition," an abrupt and sudden large-scale transformation resulting from several microscopic changes.

I've been observing the development of my infant son for the last 17 months and it's obvious that consciousness develops gradually.

26 posted on 08/09/2005 11:13:49 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: Getready
"...then how do you know if your TEPs about the physical processes themselves are TRUE?"

That's almost like the cosmos creating man from itself so that it can view itself... with awe and wonder.
27 posted on 08/09/2005 11:15:13 PM PDT by Blind Eye Jones
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To: D Rider
Of course.

I have all his tapes, and now am converting all his videos to Digital so they all fit on my hard drive, I can take them with me when I travel.

I use an Eyehome over my wireless network, to get them from my computer to the TV.

Chuck has a little more class than most of the Atheists that infest these discussions, and a lot better answers.

28 posted on 08/10/2005 9:22:03 AM PDT by itsahoot (Reagan promised to abolish the Dept of Education and the 55 mph Limit. Which was least important?)
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To: beavus
The point of "quickening"?

He wondered whether scientists would ever be able to measure the onset consciousness in infants and speculated that consciousness might be similar to what physicists call a "phase transition," an abrupt and sudden large-scale transformation resulting from several microscopic changes. The emergence of superconductivity in certain metals when cooled below a critical temperature is an example of a phase transition.

29 posted on 08/10/2005 9:35:19 AM PDT by GOPJ (A person who will lie for you, will lie against you.)
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To: GOPJ
The point of "quickening"?

Wouldn't that be interesting. Like being startled from a sleep, eh?

30 posted on 08/10/2005 3:34:32 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: wideminded
I've been observing the development of my infant son for the last 17 months and it's obvious that consciousness develops gradually.

Gradual development is not a concept most people on this forum are comfortable with. It is an obvious fact of nature, but most are still not comfortable with it.

31 posted on 08/10/2005 3:35:52 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: Ken H
Indeed it should. If it doesn't, then they should rename it "the theory of a lot of things".

LOL!

32 posted on 08/10/2005 3:37:29 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: HangnJudge
a basic tenet of logic is that a thing can not be used to explain itself...reason cannot explain itself

The first is not true (sounds like a misunderstanding of Godel's theorems). The second is not logically true, although reason has certainly not yet explained itself.

33 posted on 08/10/2005 3:42:24 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: tophat9000
Shouldn't a "theory of everything" explain everything?

For the simple reason that the properties of objects are not predicted by the properties of their component parts.

The properties of water are not predicted by the properties of hydrogen and oxygen. One could take this simple principle up or down the scale of complexity. Living things are made of atomand molecules, but the properties of living things are not obvious in the properties of atoms and molecules. The behavior of societies is not predicted by the behavior of individuals.

Which is another way of saying that there really are new things under the sun, and inventions are not implied by the state of things that came before.

34 posted on 08/10/2005 3:43:04 PM PDT by js1138 (Science has it all: the fun of being still, paying attention, writing down numbers...)
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To: beavus
From Wikipedia

Gödel's first incompleteness theorem shows that any such system that allows you to define the natural numbers is necessarily incomplete: it contains statements that are neither provably true nor provably false.

The existence of an incomplete system is in itself not particularly surprising. For example, if you take Euclidean geometry and you drop the parallel postulate, you get an incomplete system (in the sense that system does not contain all the true statements). An incomplete system can mean simply that you haven't discovered all the necessary axioms.

What Gödel showed is that in most cases, such as in number theory or real analysis, you can never discover the complete list of axioms. Each time you add a statement as an axiom, there will always be another statement out of reach.

You can add an infinite number of axioms; for example, you can add all true statements about the natural numbers to your list of axioms, but such a list will not be a recursive set. Given a random statement, there will be no way to know if it is an axiom of your system. If I give you a proof, in general there will be no way for you to check if that proof is valid.

Gödel's theorem has another interpretation in the language of computer science. In first-order logic, theorems are recursively enumerable: you can write a computer program that will eventually generate any valid proof. You can ask if they satisfy the stronger property of being recursive: can you write a computer program to definitively determine if a statement is true or false? Gödel's theorem says that in general you cannot.

Many logicians believe that Gödel's incompleteness theorems struck a fatal blow to David Hilbert's program towards a universal mathematical formalism. The generally agreed upon stance is that the second theorem is what specifically dealt this blow. However some believe it was the first, and others believe that neither did.

This is not actually what I was referencing, but interesting reading however.
What I was referencing was the fundamental logic error of a thing being used in defining itself.
The color blue can not be used to describe "BLUE", it must be defined fully in terms not including the thing to be defined (Circular Logic)
Hence, though we see the universe through the lens of reason,
the lens (Reason) cannot look at itself and define itself.

35 posted on 08/10/2005 4:08:53 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: adorno
Bootstrapped-Brain Early Warning Station

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

36 posted on 08/10/2005 4:17:28 PM PDT by Fitzcarraldo
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To: Age of Reason

Do we exist in a kind of "super matrix"? Are the custodians of this "super matrix" God and the angels?


37 posted on 08/10/2005 4:19:21 PM PDT by Fitzcarraldo
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To: beavus
"If I said to you I'd solved the hard problem, you wouldn't be able to guess whether it would be a formula, a model, a sensation, or a drug," said Greenfield. "What would I be giving you?"

Perhaps a post initiating a thread that triggers a chain reaction within a website.

38 posted on 08/10/2005 4:19:32 PM PDT by aposiopetic
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To: All
Consciousness is an integral part of all existence...

Because all of existence is absolutely meaningless without consciousness in it..

39 posted on 08/10/2005 4:22:45 PM PDT by Ferris (Man must soon come to grips with the power of his own consciousness)
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To: Ken H; tophat9000
Shouldn't a "theory of everything" explain everything?

Indeed it should. If it doesn't, then they should rename it "the theory of a lot of things".

The phrase "theory of everything" was coined by Einstein (I believe) as a shorthand for a theory that would explain the four physical forces we have observed in the universe (electromagnetism, gravity, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force). Einstein spent the second half of his career in a (failed) attempt to come up with one equation that could explain all four. (No one else has done it, either.)

40 posted on 08/10/2005 4:30:08 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: HangnJudge
Hence, though we see the universe through the lens of reason, the lens (Reason) cannot look at itself and define itself.

Not really. It only means that you can't use the concept of reason as an explanation of reason. You can potentially use reason to understand reason. USING reason as a tool isn't the same as referring to it in an explanation. You can use a hammer to make a hammer.

41 posted on 08/10/2005 4:40:31 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: Ferris
Because all of existence is absolutely meaningless without consciousness in it.

Yes, meaning is a function of consciousness. However, the crab nebula would still be around even if consciousness weren't. However, there would be nobody to care.

42 posted on 08/10/2005 4:42:45 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: beavus
You can use a hammer to make a hammer.

But you can't use a hammer to explain a hammer, to understand it, or to define it
43 posted on 08/10/2005 6:30:03 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge
But you can't use a hammer to explain a hammer, to understand it, or to define it

You can't use an actual hammer to explain anything, because that isn't what hammer do. Hammers pound things. Reason explains things.

You can however use an actual hammer to understand hammers (look at it, pound with it, generally interact with it), and you can use an actual hammer to define hammers (which ultimately, with some abstraction across many different observations of hammers, is what we do).

You cannot, however, use the notion hammer as an explanation of what a hammer is. Instead, you'd have to introspect, peruse your memories, and find out what observations or non-hammer concepts you used to form the concept of hammer.

44 posted on 08/10/2005 7:15:03 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: beavus
You cannot, however, use the notion hammer as an explanation of what a hammer is. Instead, you'd have to introspect, peruse your memories, and find out what observations or non-hammer concepts you used to form the concept of hammer.

Ah, but now you are using reason to study the hammer, not the hammer itself
We still have the problem of using Reason to explain Reason,
Logic to understand Logic
45 posted on 08/10/2005 7:27:41 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge
Ah, but now you are using reason to study the hammer, not the hammer itself

Of course. Understanding is the function of reason, not of hammers.

We still have the problem of using Reason to explain Reason, Logic to understand Logic

But we never had that problem. Reason is the tool for understanding everying, including reason.

TOOL.........FUNCTION........EXAMPLE OBJECTS OF FUNCTION
hammer......pounding.............nails, rocks, hammers
reason........understanding......nails, hammers, reason

46 posted on 08/10/2005 7:38:32 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: beavus
However, the crab nebula would still be around even if consciousness weren't. However, there would be nobody to care.

Totally correct...

The crab nebula would still be there, but it would be totally worthless and meaningless without consciousness there to observe it, and give it meaning...

And that's why consciousness is an integral part..

Because without that, you have..... nothing...

47 posted on 08/10/2005 7:50:01 PM PDT by Ferris (Man must soon come to grips with the power of his own consciousness)
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To: beavus
The point of "quickening"?

Wouldn't that be interesting. Like being startled from a sleep, eh?

yes, the difference between the quick and the dead.

48 posted on 08/10/2005 7:52:37 PM PDT by GOPJ (A person who will lie for you, will lie against you.)
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To: beavus
Still the same problem
a process cannot explain itself, any more than a thing can explain itself

Your explanation implicitly assumes that the process of Reasoning is True
Because Reason is reasonable, then Reason is Valid
The very concept of validity assumes appeals to Reason
This conversation itself falls apart without the assumptions of Reason and Logic

I've had too much fun tonight, must sign off
49 posted on 08/10/2005 7:54:44 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: Ferris
Because without that, you have..... nothing...

Nothing? What about the crab nebula?

50 posted on 08/10/2005 8:47:09 PM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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