3 of 5
3
Does Sam Harris’ books literally deny any kind of afterlife
Posted: 28 August 2008 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1891
Joined  2007-12-19
workinprogress - 27 August 2008 06:08 PM
goodgraydrab - 27 August 2008 03:11 PM
workinprogress - 27 August 2008 08:07 AM

But, Sam Harris is careful to distinguish between what is almost certain (that our personal consciousness is a manifestation of brain function and doesn’t survive bodily death), and what is a remote possibility that cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand (conscious properties may not be completely reducible to physical forces).

I, for one, think Sam’s synapses are misfiring. Hope he’s still oriented to person, time and place. I’ve heard Wiccans call thought and imagination magical for the same reason as described in his excerpt (was that wave of the hand or wave of the wand?). Scientists are studying how genes may pass on certain propensities for specific behaviors which may or may not manifest themselves, but that is not thought or consciousness. He should stick to the areas of Perception, Memory and the Physical Structure of the Brain. One electron a thought does not make, ask any advanced Alzeimer’s patient.

This isn’t about thoughts, it’s a question of whether there are fundamental properties of consciousness that cannot be reduced to materialistic explanations such as emergence. Sam Harris is taking the proper approach that the question cannot be answered one way or the other at the present time, and dogmatic physicalists such as Daniel Dennett, dismiss questions of property dualism without any consideration. Dennett answers David Chalmers’s question of whether a zombie could imitate true sentience by offering up that the zombie is impossible and would have to possess subjective experiences before having the appearance of consciousness.

I beg to differ, consciousness is about thoughts. Awareness involves thoughts (eg, orientation to person, time and place). There are levels of thought or awareness. Some are readily available (full consciousness). There are some thoughts that are subconscious (just below the surface of consciousness that are not as readily accessible, but are availble for recall. And there is unconscious awareness, buried deeper and not so easily accessible which may come to the surface by any number of stimuli such as trauma, sensory perception stimuli such as smells, colors, etc. From a laypersons perspective, it would seem that this capacity for awareness would still utilize the same mechanisms of the brain, perception and memory, and the physical processes (eg, human body, brain tissue, blood, oxygen, neurotransmitters, and all the other stuff that lets stimuli in, sends impulses through certain neuro pathways, and stimulates specific functioning parts of the brain. Thus IMO, perception and memory are , besides the physical aspects of how the human brain works, two of the main contributers to consciousness. I’m not sure what you mean by emergence in this sense, nor the concept of property dualism.

So, instead of suggesting that examples of feeling someone is about to call which they do, are due to some mystical energy ( superconsciousness, telepathy) that performs without the neccessary physical structures in place, is like arriving to the conclusion that everything is so complex that it must be by intelligent design. The physical world is complex ... only to humans, only because we’re aware of it (ie, thinking of it, discovering it and labeling it). The feeling of someone calling could be triggered by any number of rational things, such as unconscious stimuli: you heard something, saw something, smelled something that unconsciously reminded you of the person, including time span between contacts. Also, irrational thinkers are too quick to dismiss the idea of chance and coincidence.

Dennett’s position is based on personal belief formed by his approach to understanding the world, just as much as Chalmers’s belief that qualia cannot be reduced to physical explanations, is formed around a fundamental personal belief that there must be something more to consciousness. Right now, Harris’s more modest approach of leaving the question open until consciousness can be better understood, is a better approach to take.

I think this would be good place to give a shout-out for one of my favourite podcasts: The Brain Science Podcast by Dr. Ginger Campbell. Episode 43 features an interview with Neurologist Robert Burton, author of On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not. Burton presents a good case that our beliefs and feelings of certainty are mental sensations, and not a higher level rationalization process to confirm evidence or knowledge. Burton’s approach would advise taking a more modest approach to when we feel that we have the right answers and everyone else is wrong. Some people, even those who think they are 100% rational and capable of evaluating the truth, have too high an opinion of their own wisdom.

This is nothing profound or new. Even eastern philosophies recognize that there is a dangerous phase (of arrogance)following a mystical experience whereby the inflation of and identity with the virtues of omniscience and omnipotence must be realized as a subtle form of self-delusion. An anorexic is convinced she is right that she is obese when she is emaciated. So Burton’s case of feelings of certainty not being a higher level rationalization process may be only correct in certain instances, or case by case.

I am all for investigating consciousness. But has his approach found evidence to suggest that consciousness (thought, awareness) is supernatural (continues beyond death)?
What exactly has been discovered that allows for the remotest chance that consciousness is not reduced to materialism, keeping in mind that even brainwaves are materialistic? Also, we read general media reports on science in the paper, and I’ve seen periodic panels on the Charlie Rose show of leading scientists involved in the most current and advanced investigation into the workings of the brain, not one has mentioned this as an area of serious interest.

[ Edited: 28 August 2008 12:13 PM by goodgraydrab]
 Signature 

“This is it. You are it.”


- Jos. Campbell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2008 02:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  94
Joined  2008-06-29
goodgraydrab - 28 August 2008 04:00 PM

I beg to differ, consciousness is about thoughts. Awareness involves thoughts (eg, orientation to person, time and place). There are levels of thought or awareness. Some are readily available (full consciousness). There are some thoughts that are subconscious (just below the surface of consciousness that are not as readily accessible, but are availble for recall.

This happens all the time when we have one of those “a ha” moments where a memory or answer to a problem is all of a sudden solved magically when the answer pops into our heads while we have been sleeping or doing something unrelated.

And there is unconscious awareness, buried deeper and not so easily accessible which may come to the surface by any number of stimuli such as trauma, sensory perception stimuli such as smells, colors, etc. From a laypersons perspective, it would seem that this capacity for awareness would still utilize the same mechanisms of the brain, perception and memory, and the physical processes (eg, human body, brain tissue, blood, oxygen, neurotransmitters, and all the other stuff that lets stimuli in, sends impulses through certain neuro pathways, and stimulates specific functioning parts of the brain. Thus IMO, perception and memory are , besides the physical aspects of how the human brain works, two of the main contributers to consciousness. I’m not sure what you mean by emergence in this sense, nor the concept of property dualism.

I mean emergence in the sense of a manifestation of properties that only occurs during higher level organization, and doesn’t require any fundamental conscious properties to already exist in matter.

So, instead of suggesting that examples of feeling someone is about to call which they do, are due to some mystical energy ( superconsciousness, telepathy) that performs without the neccessary physical structures in place, is like arriving to the conclusion that everything is so complex that it must be by intelligent design. The physical world is complex ... only to humans, only because we’re aware of it (ie, thinking of it, discovering it and labeling it). The feeling of someone calling could be triggered by any number of rational things, such as unconscious stimuli: you heard something, saw something, smelled something that unconsciously reminded you of the person, including time span between contacts. Also, irrational thinkers are too quick to dismiss the idea of chance and coincidence.

I’m not talking about psychic or other supernatural forces. But do we understand enough about the nature of the particles that make up our universe to rule out that they would contain conscious properties that are presently unidentified?

This is nothing profound or new. Even eastern philosophies recognize that there is a dangerous phase (of arrogance)following a mystical experience whereby the inflation of and identity with the virtues of omniscience and omnipotence must be realized as a subtle form of self-delusion. An anorexic is convinced she is right that she is obese when she is emaciated. So Burton’s case of feelings of certainty not being a higher level rationalization process may be only correct in certain instances, or case by case.

There have been a number of books written about brain research lately that are following similar lines of thinking about how we form our beliefs that Burton has, but his idea that the simple act of believing something is correct is a sensation rather than the result of dispassionately weighing evidence, jumped out at me because I’ve had that mystical sensation of profound awareness during meditation, and its always bothered me that the experience feels like the most profound knowledge and yet I can’t define what I’ve learned afterwards. Mystics explain it as the knowledge being too big and profound to bring back to our little brains afterwards, but considering that it is a subjective experience that is different for each individual, it seems more plausible that mystical awareness is switching on that reward sensation for learning while the mind is otherwise switched off to the outside world.

I am all for investigating consciousness. But has his approach found evidence to suggest that consciousness (thought, awareness) is supernatural (continues beyond death)?

Again, without our memories, perceptual senses, and other activities of the Neocortex, we have no personal consciousness to function after brain death.

What exactly has been discovered that allows for the remotest chance that consciousness is not reduced to materialism, keeping in mind that even brainwaves are materialistic? Also, we read general media reports on science in the paper, and I’ve seen periodic panels on the Charlie Rose show of leading scientists involved in the most current and advanced investigation into the workings of the brain, not one has mentioned this as an area of serious interest.

Well part of the reason may be that there is nothing different to be discovered in brain function, whether or not particles have basic conscious properties or not.

This is probably a question for subatomic physics more than it is for neuroscience.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2008 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  462
Joined  2006-11-23

One thing I can tell you is that we don’t know what the actual relationship between consciousness and the physical world is.

I am entirely on the same page with Harris on this one. What IS the relationship between consciousness and the physical world?

I was going to start another thread called “defense of the Paranormal” about an article in Skeptic, but seeing this comments here is a quote form Mathew Dentith in the article:

That there exists some experience of things some people call “paranormal” is undeniable. What can be contested is whether such experiences are of processes that are incompatible with what we take to be the laws of nature. Most reports of paranormal activity can be redescribed, with some ease, into instances of already known natural processes simply experinced in an unusual way.

In other words, they are hallucinations, self-deception or fraud. But he goes on to say:

It seems possible, however, that this process of redescriptin might leave behind a small set of phenomena that do not belong in domain of the natural sciences.

And another quote:

Such phenomena would still act in a coherent and consistent way becuase they would be subject to the actions and interactions dictated by logic. Such phenamena might never be described by the laws of nature, or such phenomena might require that we expand our current understanding of such laws, but it would not be counter-rational to hold such beleifs.

The prevailing view among most posters on this forum seems to be: if it cannot be tested in a laboratory, then it cannot exist: thus the “natural” world is all that there is or can be. But this is not the case.

 Signature 

...it has to put into the equation: the possibility that there is no God and nothing works for the best. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I don’t know what I do subscribe to. Why do I have to have a world view? I mean, when I wrote Cujo, I wasn’t even old enough to be president. Maybe when I’m frty or forty-five, but I don’t now. I’m just trying on all these hats.
-Stephen King

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2008 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
Tad Trenton’s Ghost - 28 August 2008 06:33 PM

The prevailing view among most posters on this forum seems to be: if it cannot be tested in a laboratory, then it cannot exist: thus the “natural” world is all that there is or can be. But this is not the case.

Don’t be a consummate fuckwit. If you cannot produce evidence for it, keep it to yourself. Who else can know about it? Do you think stories you tell about the supernatural are educational, or merely titillating? Are they titillating to anyone but you?

they would be subject to the actions and interactions dictated by logic

Really? Stuff exists because it is logically possible? Who knew?

Do you think the more people you can convince of the supernatural through your ridiculous stories, the more likely it is to exist? Or are you simply a consummate fuckwit?

[ Edited: 28 August 2008 03:00 PM by Traces Elk]
 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2008 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1814
Joined  2006-11-10

It seems possible, however, that this process of redescriptin might leave behind a small set of phenomena that do not belong in domain of the natural sciences.

It is possible, but then again, what isn’t?
This is only a fraction different from Herr Ratzinger declaring that some areas of ‘reality’ are not fit to be studied by science and should be left to…..you guessed it…..the fucking church and pompous philosophers looking for a pay-check and a hand-job from easily impressed undergrads.

The prevailing view among most posters on this forum seems to be: if it cannot be tested in a laboratory, then it cannot exist: thus the “natural” world is all that there is or can be. But this is not the case.

I suppose you are making this claim on your own authority or is this just simply wishful thinking Tad ?


Most of us here will concede that there is far far more to the world we find ourselves in than we currently know.
Only religious people and total idiots would claim otherwise.

What fuels (at least my) disdain for vague ideas like this is that human tendency to believe just about anything without even a hint of evidence.

This trait is not serving us well Tad and you’d do well to turn up the cynical volume just a tad.

I tried to turn mine down but the damn thing seems to be stuck.

 Signature 

“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2008 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
Sander - 28 August 2008 06:58 PM

It is possible, but then again, what isn’t?

Rationality on the part of Tad Trenton’s Ghost?

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 August 2008 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
Member
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  462
Joined  2006-11-23

Don’t be a consummate fuckwit. If you cannot produce evidence for it, keep it to yourself. Who else can know about it? Do you think stories you tell about the supernatural are educational, or merely titillating? Are they titillating to anyone but you?

Much as I hate to admit it, SC is right on this. I will henceforth not post any more anecdotal evidence on this forum.

 Signature 

...it has to put into the equation: the possibility that there is no God and nothing works for the best. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that view, but I don’t know what I do subscribe to. Why do I have to have a world view? I mean, when I wrote Cujo, I wasn’t even old enough to be president. Maybe when I’m frty or forty-five, but I don’t now. I’m just trying on all these hats.
-Stephen King

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 August 2008 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  94
Joined  2008-06-29
Tad Trenton’s Ghost - 28 August 2008 06:33 PM

One thing I can tell you is that we don’t know what the actual relationship between consciousness and the physical world is.

I am entirely on the same page with Harris on this one. What IS the relationship between consciousness and the physical world?

I was going to start another thread called “defense of the Paranormal” about an article in Skeptic, but seeing this comments here is a quote form Mathew Dentith in the article:

I don’t know how Sam Harris feels about having his views on the possibility of irreducible conscious properties in nature misappropriated to support a belief in souls or psychic phenomena, but philosopher David Chalmers, the main advocate for dualism has stated a number of times that he is reluctant to speculate on what degree of property dualism he believes is likely, because his arguments are used by people who either don’t understand or don’t care that his work doesn’t support traditional dualism. All forms of property dualism contend that conscious entities cannot exist without a physical medium.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 August 2008 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1891
Joined  2007-12-19
workinprogress - 28 August 2008 06:15 PM

This happens all the time when we have one of those “a ha” moments where a memory or answer to a problem is all of a sudden solved magically when the answer pops into our heads while we have been sleeping or doing something unrelated.

Right. It involves learning, motivation
perception, and storage functions of the brain (memory). Also general health and particular emotional and physical circumstances. And of course, pathways, sheaths, impulses, etc.

I mean emergence in the sense of a manifestation of properties that only occurs during higher level organization, and doesn’t require any fundamental conscious properties to already exist in matter.

That sounds like the definition of everything.  I’m okay with that.

I’m not talking about psychic or other supernatural forces. But do we understand enough about the nature of the particles that make up our universe to rule out that they would contain conscious properties that are presently unidentified?

I say, yes. See, this is my problem of understanding what we’re talking about. I can’t get a handle on this conception of conscious properties. 

There have been a number of books written about brain research lately that are following similar lines of thinking about how we form our beliefs that Burton has, but his idea that the simple act of believing something is correct is a sensation rather than the result of dispassionately weighing evidence, jumped out at me because I’ve had that mystical sensation of profound awareness during meditation, and its always bothered me that the experience feels like the most profound knowledge and yet I can’t define what I’ve learned afterwards. Mystics explain it as the knowledge being too big and profound to bring back to our little brains afterwards, but considering that it is a subjective experience that is different for each individual, it seems more plausible that mystical awareness is switching on that reward sensation for learning while the mind is otherwise switched off to the outside world.

Funny that so many of these experiences are similarly described. Any individual’s experience is unique to that person, therefore, subjective to some degree. But, we all know what heartache and sadness feels like when a loved one is lost. Of course, the same areas of the brain are being stimulated in the process. I try to be eclectic in my assessments. The simple act of believing something is correct is a sensation which may or may not be stimulated as a result of dispassionately weighing evidence. The latter is called ignorance or being misinformed.

 

Again, without our memories, perceptual senses, and other activities of the Neocortex, we have no personal consciousness to function after brain death.

Agree.

Well part of the reason may be that there is nothing different to be discovered in brain function, whether or not particles have basic conscious properties or not.

This is probably a question for subatomic physics more than it is for neuroscience.


I don’t think you meant to say that. My point was that amazing discoveries are being made about the brain, and will continue. I see the brain as one of the three big frontiers of study, along with space and the ocean. Make that four - the atmosphere. It was only recently, I believe, that the area of the brain involving judgment has been identified and compared confirming our normal observations of adolescents and young adults in culture, that is, that the involved part of the brain is not fully physically developed until the early 20’s. Also, I can’t remember the part of the brain or its function, but one scientist presented discovery of a functional area of the brain that no one knew existed because traditional MRI’s weren’t able to image it. It was deeply situated and being masked by other structures so that activity was never seen in that part. They discovered this and were able to measure the stimulation and activity of that particular area with newer generation MRIs.

After having dispassionately weighed the evidence, my brain buzz tells me I’m right about no god, and no pre/post human life consciousness.

 Signature 

“This is it. You are it.”


- Jos. Campbell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 August 2008 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20
workinprogress - 29 August 2008 07:21 AM

. . .
conscious entities cannot exist without a physical medium.

Many who expect to go to heaven die from Alzheimer’s, not knowing who any of their friends or family are, not knowing who THEY are; finally losing the ability to talk or even to breath - complete deterioration of the brain.

The religious brethren of such a person, undoubtedly believe that their loved one’s ghost reverts to a former, healthy state, just as they believe that those who are physically decrepit at death, or missing limbs, etc. are magically reconstituted.

Not only must such ghosts exist without a physical medium, they must be able to access the forgotten past.  Where did their memories exist in the interim?  In a heavenly data bank?Imagine the surprise of such a ghost getting to heaven and remembering that his beloved sister tried to drown him when he was three - something he had blotted out entirely.  Just wait until she gets up here!  Bitch!

Christian children may ponder such questions, but not adults.  Adults just ‘know’ that all will be well if they trust in the Lord.  They are like 3-year-olds who know that Santa is coming, no matter what the big kids say.

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 29 August 2008 11:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  94
Joined  2008-06-29
goodgraydrab - 29 August 2008 03:24 PM

Well part of the reason may be that there is nothing different to be discovered in brain function, whether or not particles have basic conscious properties or not.

This is probably a question for subatomic physics more than it is for neuroscience.


I don’t think you meant to say that. My point was that amazing discoveries are being made about the brain, and will continue. I see the brain as one of the three big frontiers of study, along with space and the ocean.

I didn’t mean that understanding brain function was coming to an end! I was referring to the argument about whether there are dualistic properties of matter.

Understanding conscious awareness is going to depend on discovering a hidden layer that organizes billions of neurons into acting and thinking like a single, unified mind; and the emergence of consciousness in the brain seems like it would look the same regardless of what properties the elemental particles have.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2008 12:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  94
Joined  2008-06-29
unsmoked - 29 August 2008 03:48 PM
workinprogress - 29 August 2008 07:21 AM

. . .
conscious entities cannot exist without a physical medium.

Many who expect to go to heaven die from Alzheimer’s, not knowing who any of their friends or family are, not knowing who THEY are; finally losing the ability to talk or even to breath - complete deterioration of the brain.

The religious brethren of such a person, undoubtedly believe that their loved one’s ghost reverts to a former, healthy state, just as they believe that those who are physically decrepit at death, or missing limbs, etc. are magically reconstituted.

Right! And I have probably had as much luck as you have in getting an answer to what sort of mental properties these disembodied souls have, and why they are impaired by the limitations of whatever degree of physical brain function their owners possess before they break free from the body!

Not only must such ghosts exist without a physical medium, they must be able to access the forgotten past.  Where did their memories exist in the interim?  In a heavenly data bank?

I remember Richard Carrier of the Secular Web, asking a believer in out-of-body experiences how his soul was able to see while disembodied, and why his soul was seeing the world in the same narrow spectrum of light that our visual senses are limited to.

Deepak Chopra offers up some blather about our thoughts and memories being “timeless” and living on forever as part of the fabric of the Universe. That’s why he, and others like him, keep invoking quantum mysticism to make these ideas sound scientific and sophisticated.

Imagine the surprise of such a ghost getting to heaven and remembering that his beloved sister tried to drown him when he was three - something he had blotted out entirely.  Just wait until she gets up here!  Bitch!

He will soon forget about it and together they will gaze down from heaven and spend part of their eternity enjoying watching the damned being tormented forever in hell—that’s according to either St. Augustine or St. Anselm, I think! Maybe one of the theology scholars here heard this quote before and knows the proper attribution.

Christian children may ponder such questions, but not adults.  Adults just ‘know’ that all will be well if they trust in the Lord.  They are like 3-year-olds who know that Santa is coming, no matter what the big kids say.

I guess a lifetime of conditioning teaches people to stop asking questions and just cross their fingers and hope for immortality.

Every animal is hardwired to make the survival instinct paramount, so our awareness that we don’t live forever likely creates the need for denial of death that many people have. Most unbelievers seem to be able to come to terms with facing death, but some people seem to have a powerful need to believe in personal immortality, and there’s not much to gain by trying to convince them otherwise!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2008 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2136
Joined  2006-02-20
workinprogress - 30 August 2008 04:54 AM

Most unbelievers seem to be able to come to terms with facing death, but some people seem to have a powerful need to believe in personal immortality, and there’s not much to gain by trying to convince them otherwise!

A story I read goes something like this.  Spinoza was leaving his study when he passed an old charwoman on the stairs.  She was struggling with a heavy scuttle of coal, bringing it up to replenish his supply.  When he took the burden from her she coughed, bowed meekly, clasped her hands and said in a quavering voice, “Master, is it true that when I die I will go to heaven to be with Jesus?”

Spinoza touched her head.  “Be at peace dear lady.  Of course it’s true.”

So far, I haven’t been aware of such vulnerable people visiting the forum.

http://bible.cc/ecclesiastes/3-19.htm

 Signature 

“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 August 2008 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1891
Joined  2007-12-19
workinprogress - 30 August 2008 03:25 AM

I didn’t mean that understanding brain function was coming to an end! I was referring to the argument about whether there are dualistic properties of matter.

Understanding conscious awareness is going to depend on discovering a hidden layer that organizes billions of neurons into acting and thinking like a single, unified mind; and the emergence of consciousness in the brain seems like it would look the same regardless of what properties the elemental particles have.

A hidden layer of what, consciousness? I thought it was the switching on and off of genes that trigger development of specific structures of the body. Consciousness in genes hasn’t been found and I doubt it will be found in anything smaller. It hasn’t been found outside the total structure of the brain, and hasn’t been found in a higher form other than the human brain. Consciousness (and regulation of bodily functions) is what the brain does. Neurons don’t have a brain and there are no brains floating around the air. Ultimately discovering how it all works is a noble pursuit, but I think Sam and scientists in general should be more careful in how they state their propositions. I heard a piece on NPR a while back about scientists determined to prove the theory of Intelligent Design. This sounds eerily like their reasoning. Of course, so far all they can conclude is: how amazing, these things that I see, the structures and functions are so complex ... Seems like Sam has a whole new career path he can pursue.

 Signature 

“This is it. You are it.”


- Jos. Campbell

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 September 2008 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
Member
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  250
Joined  2008-09-02

Questions for the learned.

Assuming it were possible, if I were to up-load the entire contents of a brain into a super computer so that it remained self aware, would that constitute life after death?  If so, “life” after death could be turned off and on at the flick of a switch!  And then, if the brain and the computer are turned off, is the brain/being ‘dead’ even though it can be reactivated by a switch? 

Apologises all, but the questions are somewhat on topic.

[ Edited: 03 September 2008 12:00 AM by ooo]
Profile
 
 
   
3 of 5
3
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed