Does the brain really "cause" consciousness?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. hansda Valued Senior Member

    Soul is to explain some physical phenomena for which no physical cause is observed.

    This physical phenomena in question is "decreasing entropy of a living cell".

    There is no physical difference between a living cell and a dead cell. Had there been any physical difference between a living cell and a dead cell, the phenomena of 'decreasing entropy in a living cell' could have been attributed to that physical difference. But no such physical difference is observed.

    So, the logical conclusion to explain the physical phenomena of "decreasing entropy of a living cell" is some non-physical existence.

    Soul is just the name given to this non-physical existence.
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I do and agree with your point, but I have never made either of those claims. In fact just the opposite: I have shown that Genuine Free Will, is NOT necessarily in conflict with laws of nature or our current understanding of neural processes:
    Please read full post at: Even if done with care and thought, that will take less than 5 minutes. If you can afford that then take a look at post 10, where I clarify some things than Valich asked about in posts 8 & 9.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2013
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  5. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    A cell is not a closed system, so "decreasing entropy" is not a problem. So there is no need for a "non-physical existence".

    Change "non-physical existence" to "physical process" and we're good to go.
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  7. hansda Valued Senior Member

    I am not denying the physical processes happening in a living cell. I am also not denying the presence of four physical forces in a living cell.

    I am only saying is that there is a fifth force present in the living cell. This fifth force is non-physical but can cause physical effect like 'decreasing entropy'. This fifth force can be named as Life-Force.

    This life-force is present in the living cell within its membrane and makes it alive.

    Absence of this life-force turns the living cell as a dead cell.
  8. hansda Valued Senior Member

    A dead cell is also not a closed system but its entropy increases.

    Be specific about the "physical cause" or "physical process" which is decreasing entropy of a living cell.
  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Your request mainly show how little you understand. There is no "entropy decreasing process" but thousands of different living processes that have as the net result the resistance of the natural tendency of entropy to increase. I gave one set of processes in post 498 related to wound healing processes that resist entropy increase.

    Your stupid question/ request is like asking for a description of the process than gives 78 years as the average US male life expectancy. That, like homostatus (maintance of low entropy organized state of living beings), is a result OF THOUSANDS OF SEPARATE processes - for example skill in safely driving cars, taking vitamins, avoiding fatal arguments, etc.
  10. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    You whole theory is centered around the notion that everything to do with free will is a part of some simulation, and as such is only splitting hairs to say it does not involve illusion.
  11. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No what your directly experience is not an illusion (normally*). - It is the ONLY thing you are completely sure is real. The so called "external world," which as a physics Ph.D. I assume does exist, may only be an invention of the mind** as it is only INFERRED to exist from what is certainly real - the world we directly experience.

    Also noted it is not just things "related to free will" but everything I experience including "me" (quotes used to clearly refer to my psychological self, not my body) that is part of the parietal Real Time Simulation, RTS. For example that is why the "phantom limb" is experienced as just as real as the still existing limb. - I.e. it is still part of the RTS, as is the physically existing limb. Both are perceptual creations within the RTS.

    ** Or as Bishop Berkeley demonstrated with logic that has never been refuted, despite hundreds of wise men trying during the last 300+ years, the "real world" could be the illusionary gift of a "greater spirit" than your own disembodied spirit. I especially like his reasoning as to why the "real world" seems to follow "physical laws." If it is only an illusion created by the Greater Spirit, then it could be essentially random. E.g. the today the sky could be green and the grass blue and exchanging these colors every 10 minutes, if that were the wish of the Greater Spirit. Berkeley suggests that only if almost all the time does the "real world" follow "physical laws" could the Greater Spirit create miracles as "miracles" by definition are violations of the "physical laws."

    I differ most fundamentally from Berkeley´s POV in that I postulate that real "real world" with its, never violated "physical laws" (no miracles for me thank you) is founded (or INFERRED FROM) the world I know exists with zero possibility of error as I experience it*. I strongly suspect that this world I directly experience is created (mainly) in the parietal brain lobes for reasons give in my prior link (And about a dozen others not given there).

    * This is NOT an assertion that there is complete one-to-one perfect correspondence between the world I know exist by direct experience and the world I infer to exist from that direct experience. With all my training / education getting a Ph.D. in physics, I firmly believe that the inferred world is the factual one and when it conflicts with the one I experience, I like you, say I am experiencing an "illusion." For example, two identical curved sticks can be made to overlap, so I know they are identical, but when slightly separate I experience the outer one as being longer and I call that an illusion. However, most of the time the world of the RTS is a very accurate version of the "external world." Evolutionary selection has caused that to be the case as with frequent and large illusions in the RTS, which we act on, organisms would be killed before reproducing.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 8, 2013
  12. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Generally, most of your posts can be considered argumentum verbosium, especially with all of the asterisks that could just as easily be made inline. Here is a hint. If a digression would be so long as to interrupt the thrust of your point then it is probably superfluous (or at least greatly hinders readability and thus tries audience patience), much like all of your talk about the physiology of visual perception. If you have managed to connect visual perception to consciousness or free will, other than the tenuous connection that they all occur between the ears, I must have missed it in your lengthy posts.

    Any chance you could summarize, without all of the ancillary justifications? You know, just the facts as they pertain to consciousness/free will? Perception does not necessarily pertain, as one perception does not have a one-for-one comparison to all others, aside from hasty generalization.
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I have nothing to say about consciousness, except that only the one experiencing it is sure it exists for him/her. Everyone else (and very advanced machines made 1000 years from now) could only be p-zombies as consciousness in others is not observable.

    There are dozens of self contradictions in the accepted theory of perception, a few given in long post you think too long. Here is the most serious and obvious:
    All the sensory input information is deconstructed into a dozen or more "characteristic" (like speed and direction of motion, color, etc.) and separately processed by widely separated neurons. (Motion in V5 & color in V4, etc.) All agree (me included) that this is the case and that no-where does this processed information get rejoined in any common neural tissue; YET we perceive a unified world of objects. My RTS has all characteristic processed in the same parietal tissue and if a major parietal stroke occurs in the right lobe, the left side of the world ceases to exist for you. That even includes the left side of your body, until some days after recovery when you have consciously learned not to try to throw your left leg away as if it is some one else´s, a careless nurse left in your bed. Perceptually it is NOT your leg and never again will be as it is not in the RTS. (Phantom limbs are the exact opposite. They are still in the RTS and perceptually are just as real as the still existing limbs, but as you object to long posts, I will not prove that assertion here.)
    I.e. for the large parietal stroke victims, half the world, including half their body, is not perceived - no longer exists. Exactly in agreement with my RTS and unexplainable in accepted theory as are nearly half the neural interconnections. - For example more axons come to the "visual cortex," V1, from the parietal lobes than from the eyes! - A great mystery for the accepted theory of visual perception, but an essential part of the RTS theory.

    Perception does "pertain." Perception is the foundation of awareness and consciousness is a more complex structure that includes awareness, self, memories, beliefs, etc. but I only have a theory of perception. I suspect I will be dead more than 100 years before consciousness can even be well defined, much less explained in terms of neural processes. My published 1994 paper is focused on the neural processes of visual perception and I do explain some of the "Gestalt laws" in terms of neural processes in it. The final section only briefly notes that the RTS makes it possible for genuine free will to NOT conflict with the laws of nature without need to postulate a soul, etc. operating outside the laws of nature.

    I´m sorry you find rational arguments based on known and documented with references facts (my “ancillary justifications”) too much “argumentum verbosium” but that is my style. I detest unsupported claims many make, so will continue to give references supporting my assertions. I admit that does make my posts more than three times longer than typical.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2013
  14. hansda Valued Senior Member

    I think you misunderstood my statement within its context. I requested for specific "physical cause" or "physical process" [ie specific physical difference between a living cell and a dead cell] which causes "entropy decrease" in a living cell.

    Do you mean entropy increases in a living cell?

    So, entropy decreases in a living cell.

    Entropy decrease means "more order" or "less disorder". Entropy increase means "more disorder" or "less order". It does not matter whether it is "human action" or "physical action". It only matters with the order of the actions/system, whether it is "more order" or "less order" to identify "entropy decrease" or "entropy increase".
  15. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No. It is you who fail, even when told, to understand that there are many tens of thousands of processes that contribute to the entropy being lower in a living cell than later when it is dead and none of these many processes still continue so cell decays.

    Your request is exactly of the same stupid nature as a request for me to tell the specific "physical cause" or "physical process" that makes male life expectancy in the US 78 years. That too is the net result of many thousands of processes a male has.

    In post 498 I did tell half a dozen or so processes that keep entropy from increasing when minor cut has happened. There are more than 100 different processes in the immune system, and most of the other system of the body have at least 100 other different processes too. Your asking for description of the specific process that keeps entropy of living cell lower than a dead cell is clear reflection that you are totally ignorant of the subject you ask about.

    I´ll try to answer more fully after you tell the specific "physical cause" or "physical process" that makes US male
    ave 78 years of life expectancy. Perhaps if you try to answer that, you will begin to understand how stupid your ignorance based question is.
  16. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    If you "have nothing to say about consciousness" then your posts to this thread appear to be off-topic, and apparently just flogging your pet theory. We can test for belief and relate that to changes in behavior, as well as relate imagined activity to neuroplasticity, so unless you dismiss all this with solipsism, a p-zombie cannot exist that is indistinguishable from humans.

    Still argumentum verbosium.

    You keep making claims of what "accepted theory" entails, but this ( seems to cover much of what you argue, so no "great mystery" after all. I have even seen estimates that up to 50% of our visual experience is generated by the mind. This is very old and accepted information, even with examples that illustrate the mind doing just that. And?

    And what is surprising about brain damage causing problems with perception? How does this differ from things like synesthesia?

    So off-topic posting, flogging a pet theory, needlessly verbose (especially considering it off-topic), and unapologetic about any of it. Well, at least you are smart enough to keep this in the philosophy forum, where such things seem tolerated.
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No. I refuted your statement that "Perception does not pertain." (to consciousness) by noting that perception is the foundation of awareness which is essential to consciousness and I do have many things to say about perception, but only one thing to say about the much more complex consciousness. I.e. that it is not observable, only experienced so we can never know if a machine is or is not conscious. There have been many post in the thread supporting or opposing the possibility that machines may some day (if not now) be conscious.
    True. I noted only that holding of beliefs is one aspect of consciousness, but not required for awareness.
    Solipsism dismisses the existence of every non-self aspect of the universe so of course it rejects p-zombies. ( a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing.) Thus your logic is wrong / inverted. My adoption of Solipsism would REJECT p-zombies, not enable me to assume they exist. I don´t assume they exist but only note that that there is no way (other than assuming solipsism) to prove they do not. Because they are conceptually possible, consciousness is NOT an observable that can be tested for. P-zombies would hold many beliefs, so demonstrating that creature X, be that machine or animate, has beliefs, is NOT a test for consciousness.
    Many readers here do not know what is the accepted theory of perception, so I do occasionally state it in a commonly used summary as: "Perception emerges after many stages of neural computational transformations of sensory inputs." which is in full agreement with all your link states, but does not include Helmholtz’s correct observations about built-in inferences such as: "Light generally come from above," etc. that let the neural computations remove some of the image ambiguities.

    What is new in my POV, is that perception does NOT emerge with a fraction of a second delay following the long chain of sequential neural transformations but is "real time" perception, achieved by compensatory forward projection of the available input signals in what I call the Real Time Simulation and strongly believe is made in parietal brain. For example a baseball batter could not hit a fast ball if his perception of where it was (with no forward projection) ONLY emerged after many stages of neural computational transforms as the accepted theory of perception asserts is the case.

    I know you don´t like me posting evidence (you call it "argumentum verbosium") but sudden unforeseeable events do occur that make the forward projection in the RTS wrong. Then the RTS must be revised. When this occurs, there is a distinct and large positive going spike in the EEG about 300ms after the sudden event. In formal literature it is called the "P300" spike, but everyone who reads EEGs, as I have learned to do to some extent, calls it the "startle spike" and, in full agreement with the RTS being generated in parietal tissue, the "startle spike" is strongest over the parietal lobes. I am only guessing but think it is the large surge of electrical activity when the briefly paused for correction RTS resumes running again.
    I have spent many hours testing the perception of an old lady who had large parietal stroke some years earlier. Despite protesting that it was silly to guess, when a tone sounded, the color of a briefly flashed dot of light on half of a computer screen which she could not perceive (in her neglected half of the world.) She was correct in her guesses more than 85% of the time (She had only the binary choice between red or green.) These results show she fully processed the sensory input information as conventional theory states, even all the way up to and including correct automatic stimulation of her "verbal lexicon" for more activity in the correct color name. What was missing was parietal creation of perceptual awareness (in the RTS I would assume.)

    She lived in an "old folk’s home" and was bored so very pleased to have a young graduate student spend three days testing her. After first half day she no long protested it was silly to say red or green promptly at the tone beep and I pushed the corresponding button to tell the computer her choice. First half day´s data was not used because of her delays and in part because I foolishly watched the screen and occasionally automatically pushed the button for color I saw and not what she actually said.

    SUMMARY: Her normal sequential automatic neural computational transforms were NOT damaged by the parietal stroke! They functioned normally, all the way to and including lexicon stimulation of the correct color word. This chain of many stages of neural data transformation was NOT adversely affected by her parietal stroke - only her conscious perception of the light was absent! I.e. The RTS was not creating anything for that half of the real world. She had lived with her condition so long that it was no longer strange to her that she heard voices but saw no speaker if speaker was in her neglected half world.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2013
  18. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    You have refuted nothing. Where have you conclusively demonstrated that "perception is the foundation of awareness"? You know, other than your bare assertion which seems to be your only justification for flogging your otherwise off-topic pet theory. I have already given you examples of how belief/imagination (subjective consciousness) is apparent in behavior, so it is indirectly observable.

    So you are talking about awareness, which is off-topic. Awareness is necessary for consciousness but does not necessitate it.

    No, solipsism places all existence, other than the individual's own mind on an equal footing, whether illusory, self-generated, or otherwise. It would not automatically "REJECT p-zombies" any more than it rejects humans, trees, etc.. The point, that you missed, is that it would require this sort of view to allow for p-zombies to act 100% human without the internal subjective conscious processes studies have found to effect external behavior. Thus your reasoning is naively faulty. Beliefs, which you have already admitted are "one aspect of consciousness", are observable in their effect on behavior. And how, pray-tell, would p-zombies, which are defined as lacking consciousness, have beliefs, which you said are "one aspect of consciousness"?

    Get you argument straightened out, as you are contradicting yourself.

    "holding of beliefs is one aspect of consciousness"
    "beliefs... is NOT a test for consciousness"​

    IOW, you consistently misrepresent the "accepted theory" with the seeming intent to make your pet theory seem more novel than it is.

    What I do not like is slogging through your largely off-topic posts. You make the most tenuous of connections between perception and consciousness only to completely abandon any discussion of consciousness in favor of flogging your pet theory (and I italicize "theory" because of all the "I strongly believe" and "I am only guessing" involved). Such definitely does not warrant trying to lend it credibility through verbosity.

    And? Why is it surprising to you that perception could be cut off from the analytical part of the mind, like a hemispherectomy, while still be perceived?
  19. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    True, but showing they exist is NOT evidence of consciousness. For example, as "evidenced" by their behavior, computers "believe" that 1+1=2 and they have shown imagination when finding on their own new proofs of mathematical facts but that does not prove the computer with these characteristic is "conscious."

    By the very definition of "subjective" it is something that can not be observed or measured.Thus, you are self contradictory to say subjective consciousness has been demonstrated / observed .
    Read the Merrian-Webster definition of solipsism I quoted again. Solipsism is the belief or theory "that the self is the only existent thing." Thus solipsism does reject the existenc of trees, other humans, dirt, stars, etc. and P-zombies. Perhaps you have made up some definition of solipsism that contradicts Merrian-Webster but I use their definition.
    No contradictions at all. A creature that seems to be holding beliefs as inferred from its behavior is NOT evidence that it actually is conscious and has wiki´s requirements for consciousness.
    Again from the behavior of my computer when running Excel, I can infer it "believes" 1+1 =2 but not that it holds any of the wiki requirements for being conscious. In truth its behavior does not really evidence any belief as that term is applied to conscious beings. No matter how well programed a set of transistors is, (or any other mechanism) it lacks consciousness, even if it can pass the Turing test.
    Please give an example of this "misrepresentation." When I describe it at all, I tend to use the brief description first given by the Churchlands, pioneers of the "computational transforms" POV which is widely accepted now by most of the cognitive science community. Again the main difference from that present in my theory of perception (the RTS theory) is that the RTS perception is without the delays caused by the sequential stages of neural information transfer that proceed the "emergence" of perception.
    It is self evident that with zero perception there can be no awareness. Awareness is to be aware of something perceived, usually something of the external environment but one can perceive a headache pain and then be aware that you have a pain, but not be aware of having a headache pain when you perceive none.
  20. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Computers do not "believe" (to accept something as true, genuine, or real), as they have no volition for accepting and no judgment other than what rules we provide them to operate on. But such is just further off-topic, especially whatever uncommon usage you may be implying with those scare quotes.

    Straw man, as I said "indirectly observable". If you can observe a change in behavior that can only be accounted for by a change in belief then it is only reasonable to assume that you have indirectly observed what you, yourself, said "is one aspect of consciousness". Otherwise the burden is yours to show an alternative account of such studies.

    Metaphysical solipsism is the "strongest" variety of solipsism. Based on a philosophy of subjective idealism, metaphysical solipsists maintain that the self is the only existing reality and that all other reality, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, and have no independent existence. -

    Even the strongest variety of idealistic solipsism does not claim "nonexistence" but rather "no independent existence" outside of the mind of the solipsist. Perhaps you should look further than the first simple dictionary definition that superficially seems to confirm your bias, especially when dealing with a philosophical position. Quite aside from the simple fact that even a solipsist must treat the things of their perceived world as functionally real if they wish to survive long. Real or not, stepping into traffic can be lethal. But where does your definition say anything about the existence of things being outright dismissed?

    Studies have shown that beliefs, as subjectively self-reported, can be altered and that this accounts for specific changes in behavior. Where is your evidence that such beliefs are not real? They are self-evident, and as such require evidence to discount.

    Then why are you arguing about computers in the first place? Just a non sequitur?

    No, you have repeatedly misrepresented the "accept theory" and have already admitted to omitting the fact that the mind generates much of what we perceive. And now you are throwing a red herring to obscure that fact. If you really do have a degree in physics then you have long since forgotten the methodology of science and the need for intellectual honesty.

    You said: "For example more axons come to the "visual cortex," V1, from the parietal lobes than from the eyes! - A great mystery for the accepted theory of visual perception..." This is obviously no mystery to accepted theory, and now you are trying to backpedal into some completely different representation of accepted theory you may have made. Or perhaps your knowledge of accepted theory is just that far out of date.

    Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns. -

    You can be aware of subjective mental events (self-awareness) without any physiological perception whatsoever.
  21. hansda Valued Senior Member

    From your above statements[ref your post #467], this can very well be concluded that; "there is no physical difference between a living cell and a dead cell".
  22. pluto2 Valued Senior Member

    We can't know for sure if the brain really produces conscious experience. Maybe the brain is just a vessel or a filter for consciousness but the materials that the brain is made of were always there in the universe. Maybe we are even swimming in a sea of consciousness.

    It is also possible that consciousness and sentient experience will never be understood by science and that consciousness will remain an mystery forever.
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Thanks for the interesting link. It would be better if it did not think this statement was self evident or well established:
    "... the brain cannot operate outside the body and the here-and-now. But consciousness can operate beyond the brain, body, and the present, as hundreds of experiments and millions of testimonials affirm. Consciousness cannot, therefore, be identical with the brain."

    I was pleased to see Sir John Eccles included as much as he was. That Noble prize winning neurophysiologist really had no neurophysiologist more than his equals in his era. We respectivly named the largest Rhesis monkey in our experimental colony of about 40 "Sir John." The human Sir John was well versed in physics too. He was the last of the "Dualist" I respected. The first, DesCarte was a religious nut, who about 20 pages after "cogito ergo sum" had "logically" concluded that God had to send Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Fortunately for him, few actually read his books but turn to Cliff notes etc. instead.

    I have read several of Sir John´s papers and his book (titled something like The self and its brain). He believed that the very fine "hairs" (I forget their correct name. Cilla perhaps?) on the surface of cells is how the soul/spirit interacted (via QM) with the material brain without making an obvious violation of the laws of physics to influence our minds, if not be our mind. RIP Sir John - it will be a long time before your equal returns to Earth.

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