Body-Mind relationship

Aug 7, 2013


Discussion by: Severin B-D
Hello,

I am pretty new to this forum, and to any forum in general. I am studying medicine in Europe, and have been following the work of prof. Dawkins for a little while. I am very interested in his work, and there is a question that I have that has been itching my mind for quite a while, and actually this very question makes me want to try and become a neurologist, would it only be to be able to answer it. I have looked through the forum and haven’t found any topic related to this question, so I hope I don’t open a thread which might have been answered and treated long ago, in which case I kindly thank you for giving me the link to it!
Here’s the thing: 
our brain is very similar in composition and mapping to some of the animals present on Earth. When I say ‘mapping’, I mean the overall connexions of neuron cells between each other, the network so to speak. We might not have ‘mapped’ the whole thing yet, I dont know about it, but the structure is overall quite similar to that of some other species, even if more developped in our case. But in the end, it is just a juxtaposition of nerve cells transmitting electric signals to one another in response to a stimulus, and eliciting a response. So out of this electrical meshwork, where does the Mind come from ?
How comes that a self-aware entity emerges from a bundle of wires connected together like in our brain, when the electrical wiring of my house doesn’t seem to produce the same thing? Of course the level of complexity is not the same (I am just trying to make a point). But then, what about those other brains from the animal realm that are somewhat similar to ours, but still do not seem to give birth to a self-aware entity like us?
By self-aware, I mean the complex state of mind that Descartes describes with the “I think, therefore I am”.
I have to put some weight on that, because it seems important to me. One simple structure, a neuron, connected with many others which are in turn connected with many others, producing a very complicated meshwork of electrical wires connected to one another, whose activity produces You, reading this, and making sense out of it… it amazes me.
This is the one thing that could make me ‘pause’, making me think that maybe this is the root of the Soul, that whatever Divine resides in this world, comes from this wonder.
If you have whatever answer may be to that, or a link to a discussion about it, I would be grateful. 
S.
PS: I am a conviced atheist, and do not mean to make a point about the existence of the Soul. I am just looking for an answer.

51 comments on “Body-Mind relationship

  • 1
    Red Dog says:

    So out of this electrical meshwork, where does the Mind come from ?

    The simplest answer is we don’t completely know yet, its still a very active area for research. But just saying the answer is “we have a soul” doesn’t get you anything. You are essentially just redefining mind to be soul and now you have to answer where does the soul come from.

    Or to put it another way, there is a lot of interesting work going on related to where does the mind come from, although they tend to define specific sub problems that can be more readily tested. So things like “are we born with a genetic capability to understand language?” “is our sense of self a by product of the fact that reasoning about the intentions of others can have survival benefit?” “why do humans often perform and praise acts of altruism that can’t be explained by any of the existing evolutionary explanations like kin selection?” “how do neurons form complex and long lasting networks capable of representing sets, instances, and rules?”

    And lots, lots, more. And none of the theories that I’m aware of that are trying to answer any of those questions find the concept of a soul to be of any use.



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  • 2
    tangyit says:

    As Red Dog said, we dont really know.

    But im just wondering if it can be helpful if we use artificial intelligence in computers for comparison. Like a computer is a meshwork of electrical circuits (less complex and more organized than the brain). A programmer can “intelligently” program an AI which can be self-aware? I guess this comes down to defining self-aware. The way you put “self aware” seems kinda narrow. I think even apes (monkeys etc.) who dont think about “cogito ergo sum” are kinda self aware. They display curiosity and personality etc.

    The way i see it is that we are kinda like robots and the mind is like an operating system which we use to control the body. I can imagine that natural selection/evolution is the “programmer” of our mind and “self awareness”. It may seem unbelievable to think our self awareness arise from just electrical meshwork, but i dont see why not.

    Hope i didnt go off tangent. Its my first time answering something here.



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  • 3
    Kim Probable says:

    But then, what about those other brains from the animal realm that are somewhat similar to ours, but still do not seem to give birth to a self-aware entity like us?

    Several animals have passed the self-awareness test by recognizing themselves in a mirror. Of those tested, a few species of dolphins, elephants, and a few species of apes have shown self-awareness. Until we find a way to communicate in such a way that they can really express their thoughts, this is the best we have. Additionally, we will never fully understand the experience of another species, so we’re limited in that regard as well. Imagine just how different a dolphin’s experience of the world (sound rich, three dimensional movement, very wet) is from our own.



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  • 4
    SurLaffaLot says:

    I am reading a great book about this topic. It is not a medical book, but it discusses models for how the mind seems to work, and how neural connections can lead to a mind. The book is: “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed“, by Ray Kurtzweil, (Wikipedia article on Kurtzweil).

    See: “_How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed _” at (Amazon books).

    Among other things, Krutzweil is into Artificial Intelligence, and the endeavour to make an artificial mind, (intelligent computer).



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  • 5
    mmurray says:

    Here’s the thing: our brain is very similar in composition and mapping to some of the animals present on Earth.

    I think you mean “some of the other animals present on Earth”.

    So out of this electrical meshwork, where does the Mind come from ?

    I wouldn’t be too sure it is all electrical. There’s a lot of chemistry in there. But as Red Dog said we don’t know yet. Lots has been done. Just google consciousness or self-awareness or have a look here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-awareness

    There is a Very Short introduction which is good.

    Michael



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  • 6
    steve_hopker says:

    A very challenging topic, but a few comments:

    • I note the capital letter for mind (as in “Mind”). One commonly sees “Mind”, rather than “mind”. What is the meaning of such capitalisation? We talk about tables, not Tables, chairs not Chairs. But there are texts referring to Love, rather than love, etc.
      I’d suggest that the capital M in Mind is an attempt to imbue some extra quality, beyond the ordinary thing itself. Thus, Mind carries the implication of a soul, or similar’ beyond’ the ‘ordinary mind’. And a quality is beyond the ordinary, it will of course be mysterious.
      But – what is the evidence for a Mind as opposed to a mind?

    • The “M” could come from the special status we assign to our minds (or Minds), because we are experiencing them from the inside, so to speak. A sentient being has unique access to its mental events (no one else can be me remembering yesterday’s dinner, no other seagull chick can feel its hunger, etc). To be on the inside of a nervous system with sensation, perception, etc is in a way to be in a unique place – only I cam be me. But there are billions of other humans (I’m not sure how many seagull chicks there are just now), so mental awareness is both extraordinary (how does it happen?) and extremely common.

    • the fact that we do not understand how mental processes arise from the biological electro-chemistry of the nervous system does not mean this does not happen. Many things happen without our understanding them – but the inner privacy of mental life, the “M” of “Mental” means we have a particular interest in mental activity, and a tendency to mysticism that we don’t so readily give to other phenomena (though one can think of pre-scientific views of the weather, stars, etc).



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  • 7
    justinesaracen says:

    I like and agree with the replies by the people preceding me and wish only to add the observation that science views mind as emerging from the physical while religion view mind/spirit as being imposed from above. More and more experimentation reveals how much ‘mind’ in the sense of personality and self-awareness exists in non-human animals and this discovery is surely shattering to any notion of spirit as something ‘outside’ of the physical.
    I am knocked over when I contemplate the eons in which humans have invented outside entities or worlds in order to explain their own minds when all mind appears to be is a vastly complex development of neurons to help us survive.

    Evolution (and the experimenting that follows it) effectively wipes out the notion of transcendence.



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  • 8
    justinesaracen says:

    I hope I am not introducing a tangent here, but I think it is relevant to Consider the Dream

    I have a personal hypothesis (based on the observation of my dog) that the notion of mind as something separate began with primitive humans trying to explain their dreams. It is such an easy next step to conclude that the dream world is a real place with its own laws and perhaps managed by some creative entity. This occurs to me when I observe my dog, who, as most dogs do, dreams very vividly. She ‘talks’ and twitches and runs, toward or away from something purely imagined. There is no outside stimulus, like a growl from another dog, or the smell of prey, so the dream is purely a mental product that must necessarily involve a sense of self. I conclude that my dog has a mind and this seems to me discredits any notion of mind as ‘opposite’ to body. It’s just what comes of having a brain.



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  • 9
    Zeuglodon says:

    Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” needs updating because the “think” suggests conscious deliberation, which is where I think the OP is making an error. Self-awareness is a subset of what the mind does just as “smelling”, “seeing”, and “being puzzled” are subsets of what the mind does. The distinction between conscious and unconscious motives is the most obvious division of the mind, but people seem to confuse consciousness as in sentience with consciousness as in self-awareness. The latter is simply a question of what mechanism is in the brain that does the job, whereas the former is the one that most vexes philosophers and non-philosophers alike.

    It would be more accurate to say “I have sentient experiences, therefore I am” because sentient experience is all-encompassing and continues even when we’re not really thinking about anything. For instance, I’m not thinking about the floor right under me, but it’s still there, and I’m experiencing it to a degree.



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  • 10
    stylofone says:

    The answer to the emergence of a self-aware entity in the case of the human brain, compared to your house is answered by evolutuon through natural selection. The genes for self-monitoring routines and feedback mechanisms which manifest themselves as consciousness and the sense of having a mind have provided great survival advantages for humans. There is evidence that less sophisticated versions of these processes exist in other species too. As steve_hopker says, it is different experiencing it “from the inside”. In fact I love this experience and it makes me happy to be alive. But that sensation is still understandable in the context of brain activity, and is not inconsistent with the evidence.

    From a “Dyed in the wool monist”.



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  • 11
    Alan4discussion says:

    @ Severin B-D

    How comes that a self-aware entity emerges from a bundle of wires connected together like in our brain, when the electrical wiring of my house doesn’t seem to produce the same thing? Of course the level of complexity is not the same

    Actually if you look at modern motor vehicles or aircraft, you will find an increasing use of self diagnosis sensors, which monitor and report on the state of the systems to computer management units and external servicing facilities. Similar systems will be applied to houses in time.

    But then, what about those other brains from the animal realm that are somewhat similar to ours, but still do not seem to give birth to a self-aware entity like us?

    Like tool use and other animal features, the story of exclusivity of “self-awareness”, is more based on human egotism, than objective investigations.

    our brain is very similar in composition and mapping to some of the animals present on Earth. When I say ‘mapping’, I mean the overall connexions of neuron cells between each other, the network so to speak. We might not have ‘mapped’ the whole thing yet, I dont know about it, but the structure is overall quite similar to that of some other species, even if more developped in our case.

    The claim that the human brain is “more developed” only applies to certain features of it. Many animals (Cetaceans etc) have more developed senses and some more developed sections of their brains.

    We might not have ‘mapped’ the whole thing yet,

    I think you will be interested in this project:-

    BigBrain: An Ultrahigh-Resolution 3D Human Brain Model

    Reference brains are indispensable tools in human brain mapping, enabling integration of multimodal data into an anatomically realistic standard space. Available reference brains, however, are restricted to the macroscopic scale and do not provide information on the functionally important microscopic dimension. We created an ultrahigh-resolution three-dimensional (3D) model of a human brain at nearly cellular resolution of 20 micrometers, based on the reconstruction of 7404 histological sections. “BigBrain” is a free, publicly available tool that provides considerable neuroanatomical insight into the human brain, thereby allowing the extraction of microscopic data for modeling and simulation. BigBrain enables testing of hypotheses on optimal path lengths between interconnected cortical regions or on spatial organization of genetic patterning, redefining the traditional neuroanatomy maps such as those of Brodmann and von Economo.



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  • 13
    papa lazaru says:

    Nobody’s cracked it yet, but it’s not inconceivable the AI singularity will occur some time in the future. It would certainly be fascinating and insightful. And if the singularity happens (big if, granted, but to me it seems inevitable eventually), how would that reconcile with your metaphysical views.



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  • 14
    Chris Squire says:

    The ‘mind’ is not a thing like a brain: it is the collective label for a set of processes that go on in the brain and the central nervous system, some of which we now understand quite well – how the brain creates a visual field out of signals reaching the eye, for example – and much that we don’t. We could usefully call the processes ‘minding’.

    Your sense of ‘self’ is an illusion, a story made up by the brain to assist in its work.

    Similar processes go on in the brains of other animals [we are animals!] as we acknowledge when we refer to a dog, say, as ’minding its own business’ as it walks purposefully along the street. The difference is one of degree not of kind.



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  • 16
    canadian_right says:

    The wiring in your brain is a little more complex than the wiring in your house. None of the wiring in your house can reconfigure itself on the fly depending on external and internal inputs, for example.

    We don’t know exactly how the mind arises from the brain, but we do know that the mind arises from the brain because of we have lots of evidence that it does. There are many cases of people surviving having their brain physically damaged and it changes their personality and character. People with severe brain damage don’t have minds at all. Various drugs that affect the brain cause huge changes in perception, behaviour, and other functions of the mind.There are no cases of people being born without brains that had minds. Human minds are more sophisticated than cat minds because our brains are more complex, and organized in a way to give us intelligence.

    The evidence is very clear: your mind is a function of your physical brain.



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  • 17
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #16 by BipolarAltruist:

    Have you looked into the third eye / pineal gland at all for answers?

    The pineal gland is the remnants of the vertebrate first eye, before it divided into two separate eyes for (binocular vision) on either side of it. Unsurprisingly for a rudimentary eye no longer used for sight, it has retained some of its light/dark, wake/sleep functions and further evolved hormone secretions regulating these.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pineal-gland The pineal gland (also called the pineal body, epiphysis cerebri, epiphysis, conarium or the “third eye”) is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain. It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions.

    Pinealocytes in many non-mammalian vertebrates have a strong resemblance to the photoreceptor cells of the eye. Some evolutionary biologists believe that the vertebrate pineal cells share a common evolutionary ancestor with retinal cells.[13]

    In some vertebrates, exposure to light can set off a chain reaction of enzymatic events within the pineal gland that regulate circadian rhythms.[14] Some early vertebrate fossil skulls have a pineal foramen (opening). This correlates with the physiology of the modern “living fossils,” the lamprey and the tuatara, and some other vertebrates that have a parietal organ or “third eye,” which, in some of them, is photosensitive. The third eye represents evolution’s earlier approach to photoreception.[15] The structures of the third eye in the tuatara are analogous to the cornea, lens and retina, though the latter resembles that of an octopus rather than a vertebrate retina. The asymmetrical whole consists of the “eye” to the left and the pineal sac to the right. “In animals that have lost the parietal eye, including mammals, the pineal sac is retained and condensed into the form of the pineal gland.

    Descartes described it as “the seat of the soul,” so you might be interested in looking for connections there. I thought this article was interesting:

    Philosophical/theological speculations have been overtaken by biology in modern times.



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  • 18
    BipolarAltruist says:

    That’s good to note that in modern times “Philosophical/theological speculations have been overtaken by biology.” But of course, science is constantly changing, and severin was looking for connections to the “soul” and Descartes.



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  • 19
    crookedshoes says:

    We refer to surprising properties that result from simple underpinnings as “emergent properties”.

    So, for example, there is a muscle fiber. It’s functional ability is to contract.

    However, if you bundle a bunch of them in a specific way and attach the ends to certain bones, you can have flight as an emergent property. Flight is a very surprising ability to result from a simple underpinning of a single contractile cell.

    The same thing holds for neurons. The mind is an emergent property. Manifest from a network of simple conducting cells.

    I would like to issue a huge warning here. Do not take the smug “high road” and assume that humans are the only “self aware entity”. Look into the eyes of a myriad of varied species and you will find sentient, self aware organisms sharing our wondrous planet.

    And, as far as a soul is concerned…. that is the realm of the bullshitter. Leave that bullshit to the bullshitter who uses their flim flam shit show to fleece the gullible and vulnerable.



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  • 20
    QuestioningKat says:

    So out of this electrical meshwork, where does the Mind come from ?

    I realize that I’m really incompetent to answer this question, but I am frequently very grateful for being self-aware. My mind amazes me when I try to contemplate the complexity of it all.

    I think of the electrical meshwork broken down to one connection. That connection leads to other connections that has some sort of end result – say sight. Another line of connections has an end result of touch. …and on and on. My mind is the result of perhaps billions of connections that have a multitude of end results that are all orchestrated together to give me thought and experiences. My memories, knowledge, experience, sense of touch, smell, taste etc. all adds to the enrichment of my mind, but at the heart of it is a bunch of electrical connections.

    Decades of me using a computer, I have seen quick and steady advancement in it’s capabilities. Eons ago, I took a class in BASIC. I was able to create a simple “label.” It printed out lines, astericks, words in a typewriter font – on a printer that is no longer used. Digitizing a basic sphere took forever. Now, I can create much more complex imagery in a fraction of the time. The number of choices in fonts runs into the thousands. At times, I love my computer. I really love my computer. I would make out with my computer if it didn’t look like a tin box. It provides me with information, plays me music, shows me great art that inspires me. I can read stories on it, create art, pay bills, get directions, find phone numbers, connect with people, and much much more. But at the “heart” of my computer, it looks something like 10100001100010001000100.



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  • 21
    SilverWun says:

    Your are contemplating something for which, by some of the answers here, Science has no explanation yet. Not being a subscriber to the ‘god of the gaps’ approach still leaves room for reasoned speculation. I do this knowing that it will probably rankle some of the Orthodox Non-believers who insist on relying only on the doctrines of Holy Science. It has delivered much, but also much of what has been delivered by scientific research is a partial product of the ‘hunch’ at many points. It is hunch, (hypothesis) driven and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of speculation about just where those impulses are rooted. I see it as relating to your curiosity.

    Some questions about these things can be reasoned and without denial of the possibility that some of the phenomena occur because we are souls; at least in a way of speaking, babies that would otherwise be cast away with the theological holy water.

    I think scientific purists have it backwards; that there is actually non ‘material’ consciousness and that it doesn’t spring from matter but infuses matter into living forms with itself. For the sake of discussion and trying on ideas, which are hardly my own, lets consider the order of ‘coming into physical being’, evolutionary or otherwise, as a demonstration of consciousness intentionality. Imagine an overall intangible consciousness transcending to intelligence and then to a stage of intent; acting on and forming that which is called inorganic in such a way to effect life, not the other way around as science would have it. The ‘dust’ from which we proverbially are supposed to have sprung, only to return as raw material.

    A question I pondered for many years was: If every living cell in our bodies is replaced over a span of about seven years, and we actually undergo a gradual reincarnation; being comprised of completely different material down to the last molecule, how is it that we have memories? How are we still the same person identity? What ever accounts for that consciousness cannot be comprised of matter or it would have eroded and vanished with the matter many times. NO, it is the matter that is comprised of and directed by the intelligence executing intentionality be it individual or attached to a deeper, common source.

    There has been some scientific work, dismissed by Orthodoxy, to demonstrate life or life force, spontaneously emerging in hospitable conditions from entirely ‘inorganic’ matter. Though it only evidences without thorough proof, you might want to look into it.

    The American College of Orgonomy in Princeton, NJ is one good place to start. Also just Google for centers researching Orgonomic Biophysics. The pioneering work was done by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, M.D.; perhaps the most maligned and misunderstood scientist of the 20th. Century.

    Life energy isn’t anything mystical and needs no gods to be understood. Go directly to the source and history of Orgonomy because it spans many orthodox sciences and the green eyed, territorialism of Reich’s contemporaries fueled his persecution in no small share. The confusion about his work lives on, enshrined in academia and even among his advocates with limited scope..

    If you are really looking for answers that might be a productive place to begin.



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  • 22
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #23 by SilverWun:

    There has been some scientific work, dismissed by Orthodoxy, to demonstrate life or life force, spontaneously emerging in hospitable conditions from entirely ‘inorganic’ matter. Though it only evidences without thorough proof, you might want to look into it.

    Then you should have no trouble persuading us that this branch of study is worth looking into. However, your current post does not achieve this.

    Firstly, hypotheses are crucial to science because they fuel the method of proof and disproof that pits those hypotheses against reasonable doubts, such as double-blind experiments, attempts at falsification, and a peer-review to check the methods, analyses, and conclusions used. Scientific knowledge depends on prior hypothesis-testing. Despite this, it can’t be reversed and argued that hypotheses are all candidates for scientific analysis. The hypothesis that there exists a quantum multiverse, invoked to explain the weirdness of quantum mechanics but requiring testable predictions, is not on par with the hypothesis that the universe was created by a god. Those hypotheses should have at least some basis in established scientific experiments. Merely having a hypothesis about what is essentially life force is insufficient because it is, when you get down to it, an argument from ignorance.

    Secondly, the notion of souls has been around for millennia. If it really was the key to understanding life, we’d have made most of our biological scientific progress before the twentieth century, with the recent ideas holding back that understanding. Quite the opposite has happened. We now have a much better anatomical understanding of the brain, of medicine, and of social behaviour thanks to recent advances. The notion of souls has done virtually nothing by comparison.

    Thirdly, your argument for a non-material essence is baseless as it stands, buttressed on supposition and nothing else. Moreover, you throw around words like “consciousness”, “transcending”, and “intentionality” without helping us understand what they mean (“intentionality” has more than one meaning in philosophy). As it stands, you could be making up a story and no one would have any means of discerning this.

    Fourthly, your question, far from being a strong rebuttal, reveals your misunderstanding of the scientific “materialistic” stance:

    A question I pondered for many years was: If every living cell in our bodies is replaced over a span of about seven years, and we actually undergo a gradual reincarnation; being comprised of completely different material down to the last molecule, how is it that we have memories? How are we still the same person identity?

    Let me put it this way: by the logic of the first question, we can’t have anything structured if the structure remains the same shape but has its material replaced every now and again, therefore buildings, hardware, and cars have non-material essences. This is merely a projection of the mind’s ability to pick out specific things based on cues picked up by the senses (look into perception psychology, by the way – it’s a rewarding experience); it doesn’t prove that there’s an actual essence present. Mental events are based on the configuration of matter inside the brain. It doesn’t have to be the exact same matter it started out with, any more than a car has to contain the exact same parts it had when it was bought to still drive around and do all the things it needs to do. The preservation of the structures behind memory in the brain are maintained by the machinery inside cells working together, which are ultimately based on the genetic instructions encoded in the DNA molecules. Neuroscience et al. have a lot of information about how exactly this kind of maintenance is achieved, and the knowledge just keeps growing.

    Lastly, I did a quick check of Orgonomy on Wikipedia. Given that it then directed me to the article on its founder instead of to a page devoted to it, I’m afraid you’re going to have to offer a lot more impressive reason to consider it a blooming field of new discoveries (for instance, by describing at least one discovery it’s made and explaining how it proved it and why orgonomy is the most appropriate way to understand it), because reading about Einstein failing to be impressed by the pioneering work of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, M.D., among other things, the impression I get is that it is a fringe pseudoscience relying on circle-jerking and a persecution complex to justify itself. How would you allay those suspicions?



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  • 23
    papa lazaru says:

    In reply to #23 by SilverWun:

    What a load of cobblers…

    If anything Reich proved that science shouldn’t be left to psychotherapist. Certainly, not alone.



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  • 24
    SilverWun says:

    If anything represents proof here it is in your demonstration of the typical emotional reactions by Reich’s contemporaries because he dared trespass on their turf. He was so much more than a psychotherapist, but my intent here in a comment section is not to make a case for him. I meant only to offer to the person with a question a suggestion of where he might develop an answer. In reply to #25 by papa lazaru:

    In reply to #23 by SilverWun:

    What a load of cobblers…

    If anything Reich proved that science shouldn’t be left to psychotherapist. Certainly, not alone.



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  • 25
    SilverWun says:

    In reply to #24 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #23 by SilverWun:

    There has been some scientific work, dismissed by Orthodoxy, to demonstrate life or life force, spontaneously emerging in hospitable conditions from entirely ‘inorganic’ matter. Though it only evidences without thorough proof, you might want to look into it.

    Then you…(Not sure if this is going to appear in the proper reply space) Well, you certainly know how to pack a lot into a science lesson. My intent was to offer a little different perspective and to suggest a place to find some answers that are neither mystical nor entirely mechanistic. There was no effort to prove anything. This is hardly the place to make a case for something like Orgonomic Biophysics. I’d rather and probably more successfully make a case before the Medieval Inquisition for a round Earth.

    It isn’t my goal or duty to prove anything to anyone here. I’m not an evangelist. Exchanging ideas with people claiming to be hard scientists who also consult with Wikipedia for anything authoritative would be a waste of time even in another forum. As for Einstein, he certainly had great genius, but even he could understand that he had limitations and didn’t understand everything. What he did know, he knew well and even it was flawed. This is no different an experience for me than it is for and Atheist who would discuss evolution with a Fundamentalist who never studied it or of a Fundamentalist discussing things Biblical with an Atheist who never read the Bible. If the approach to a discussion is summary dismissal born of ignorance about the topic and demands of proof, there is little progress toward understanding to be expected. Life is short. You weren’t the one seeking answers and that is understandable since you seem to have them all already.



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  • 26
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #27 by SilverWun:

    My intent was to offer a little different perspective and to suggest a place to find some answers that are neither mystical nor entirely mechanistic.

    I’m afraid “mystical” is how it’s coming across at the moment. It is obscure and esoteric, concerned with treating life as some kind of “energy” – which is the hallmark of pseudoscience – and based on unsubstantiated claims. As it stands, it is effectively “soul studies”, or the old idea of a soul with a scientific patina on top. Moreover, if you are going to provide an alternative perspective, but then decline from persuading anyone to look into it when challenged, that raises doubts about why we should look into it at all, defeating the purpose of bringing it up in the first place.

    As you say, life is short. Since we doubt the premises behind orgonomy, please persuade us and explain why we should give it any time at all.

    This is no different an experience for me than it is for and Atheist who would discuss evolution with a Fundamentalist who never studied it or of a Fundamentalist discussing things Biblical with an Atheist who never read the Bible. If the approach to a discussion is summary dismissal born of ignorance about the topic and demands of proof…

    You assume that a fundamentalist is a biblical scholar, that evolution and biblical studies are on par with orgonomy, and that I dismissed it on the grounds that I don’t know about it. Actually, I don’t dismiss it simply because I don’t know about it. I dismiss it because I have seen no reason to take what little of it I have seen seriously. I am not a skeptic of any specific facet of orgonomy, but a skeptic of the premise upon which the whole thing is based, just as I am a skeptic of the premise upon which theology is based (that there is a god). Given that I question the premise “god exists”, I’m not about to read any theological works if they just assume god exists and proceed from there. I have similar reservations about your call to look into orgonomy. Telling me to devote my time to it without giving me a good reason to do so is suspicious at best.

    Exchanging ideas with people claiming to be hard scientists

    You are lying here. Not once have I claimed to be a hard scientist.

    who also consult with Wikipedia for anything authoritative

    Actually, I gave it a look for a quick overview of this new field which I had never even heard of. I do not claim wikipedia is authoritative, and I clarify now that it was to get an indication of what we were discussing. Do not make stuff up.

    would be a waste of time even in another forum. As for Einstein, he certainly had great genius, but even he could understand that he had limitations and didn’t understand everything. What he did know, he knew well and even it was flawed.

    My point about Einstein wasn’t that his losing interest in the field proved it was wrong, just that it was unlikely to have much going for it if a scientist saw the results of your experiment and pointed out flaws in it. It was certainly not the meat of the point I was making. However, now that you have pointed out that Einstein was not infallible, perhaps you can now set the record straight and explain why Reich was right?

    You weren’t the one seeking answers and that is understandable since you seem to have them all already

    For future reference, you would help your case if you didn’t go out of your way to insult other users. I do not “have all the answers” and I certainly do not think I have them. I do know enough to point out what’s wrong with the question you posed about memory, however, which I might note you have not yet actually addressed.

    For the record, I certainly do not want to be hostile or snobbish – criticism of ideas is not the same as attacking other people – and if anything, I was hoping to encourage you to make a really good case.



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  • 27
    Moderator says:

    Moderators’ message

    A reminder that our Terms and Conditions require users to keep disagreements with other users civil and to avoid making derogatory remarks about them.

    Thank you.

    The mods



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  • 28
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #27 by SilverWun:

    Exchanging ideas with people claiming to be hard scientists who also consult with Wikipedia for anything authoritative would be a waste of time even in another forum.

    I wish people wouldn’t take cheap shots at Wikipedia. First as an editor myself I love the site and take a bit of an exception when people equate it with lazy research. So I’m admitting my bias up front but I’ve found the science info there to be almost always first rate. A lot of the self educating I’ve done on things like game theory, altruism, nash equilibriums I started with Wikipedia first and I’ve never found a single example of anything that is in error, when I moved on from Wikipedia to text books and online courses.

    Which is not to say I’ve never found anything wrong or questionable in Wikipedia. But if you do then better than just bitching about it go and change it! You will find that for most articles the process for changing is amazingly strong, it reminds me of some of the best academic collaborations I’ve had which is one reason I like doing it, people can be tough and rigorous but amazingly seldom rude or nasty.

    There are times when I see all the crap on the Internet: Twitter, Facebook, Youtube comments where every other word is “fag”, that I think about what the original guys had in mind and what it is and its kind of depressing. Wikipedia is one of the things I remind myself of in those moods because I actually think its pretty awesome. A place where an army of volunteers works for no other reason than to create something useful.



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  • 29
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #30 by Red Dog:

    I wish people wouldn’t take cheap shots at Wikipedia. First as an editor myself I love the site and take a bit of an exception when people equate it with lazy research.

    I would second that. There are usually links to scientific studies, but on various occasions, I have been challenged by posers who have no idea what they are talking about, but are incapable of understanding the links to scientific in peer-reviewed material, and when some simpler but correct explanation is presented from Wiki, they come up with “AH! the dreaded Wikipedia”, as if that was an answer to anything!



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  • 30
    QuestioningKat says:

    Knock, knock , knock Hello, is anyone there? Severin B-D are you there?

    Hmm, I wonder if Severin is there and actually reading the responses? Maybe? It would be nice to get a response. Maybe he’s on vacation as I was when my post finally made it to the site. Or too busy in the ER. Maybe he’s not an atheist medical student and is part of a group intent on dominating RD.net’s discussion boards with theists who are incognito playing “stump” the atheist. Or better yet, try to get the atheists to argue with each other. I’ll give it a couple more days…….



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  • Various people have claimed to have an answer. I am not persuaded. My provisional answer is this:
    When you get a sufficient amount of complexity and change in a small enough volume, it generates a consciousness. This consciousness is its own thing, as different from matter as time is. It is one of the fundamental properties of the universe.

    The question then becomes, can you measure the intensity of consciousness? What can you measure, predict? Can it be described as a function or something more primary?

    My guess is that consciousness is much more widespread that we imagine, and compuuters should start generating it too. Because of religious pride we have tended, without evidence, to presume only man was conscious (and only white men at that).



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  • 32
    Tlhedglin says:

    A. I find the implication that no other animal is self-aware disturbing. They do have identity, apparently have some thoughts, and obviously behave in relation to what occurs around them. There is no reason to assume that other animals are not, at least somewhat, self-aware and have no ‘mind’.

    B. I find the only distinction between humans and other animals to be abstract thought, what makes communication and mathematics possible in the first place. The accumulation and dissemination of knowledge. A child never taught language or math, never taught anything at all(even behavior), may not be too easily distinguished from any other primate.

    C. I find little surprise in an organ that has been evolving for millions of years to be capable of memory, sensory input, imagination, and the processing of information, being well suited to the task.



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  • 33
    Kim Probable says:

    In reply to #34 by Tlhedglin:

    B. I find the only distinction between humans and other animals to be abstract thought, what makes communication and mathematics possible in the first place. The accumulation and dissemination of knowledge. A child never taught language or math, never taught anything at all(even behavior), may not be too easily distinguished from any other primate.

    There are a quite a few children who haven’t had enough human contact during their early childhood. (Full recovery from this lack of attention doesn’t seem possible past the age of 7 or 8.)

    Some articles:

    The girl in the window – update in 2011

    Genie

    Wikipedia has a list of feral children



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  • 34
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #23 by SilverWun:

    Your are contemplating something for which, by some of the answers here, Science has no explanation yet…A question I pondered for many years was: If every living cell in our bodies is replaced over a span of about seven years, and we actually undergo a gradual reincarnation; being comprised of completely different material down to the last molecule, how is it that we have memories? How are we still the same person identity?

    The molecules in rivers at any given spot are entirely replaced in seconds, over the whilw river (depending on its length, over I suppose days or weeks. This does not mean there is some kind of river-identity beyond the river itself (although some religious beliefs held that to be so). Similarly, the brain could easily have persisting patterns – of cell structures, connections or whatever – even though the molecules in the individual cells would be entirely replaced.

    I’m afraid, SilverWun, I detect an emotional commitment here, rather than evidence based case, perhaps stemming from a difficulty in accepting the mind as a material entity. I think the desire to separate oneself from the rest of the material world as in some way special is understandable, given that we have unique access to our own thoughts (see my previous post).



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  • 35
    crookedshoes says:

    As I said earlier, leave the “soul” bullshit to the bullshitters.

    Science requires proof and proof should not be hard to point at or disclose. It is not mystical, it is not secret, and more often than not, it is not that hard to understand. Most truths are so simple, you have a “facepalm” moment of “dammit” why didn’t I think of that????

    The first sentences of SilverWun’s first post where he/she clearly does not have a clue as to what a hypothesis is or how properly structured hypotheses drive good science was my indicator that the rest of their “magical mystery tour” would be utter silliness.

    I know, I know, I am not smart enough to understand, I am vulgar, I am angry, my grammar stinks….. We have all seen this exact act repeatedly and consistently…. All of these things may be true, BUT that does not dismiss the fact that bullshit is bullshit and the one fostering and promulgating the bullshit is either making money off of the bullshit or so enamored with it that they cannot get far enough away from it to see that it is bullshit.

    So, anyway, the soul, reincarnation, cellular turnover, hypothesis, these are all great topics to discuss, but when they are mashed together into a bullshit bouillabaisse, there isn’t enough time to untie this knot. As has been said, life is too short.



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  • In reply to #33 by Roedy:
    I think the crucial thing is pain. If an animal cannot feel pain, there is much less need to treat it humanely.
    However, pain is still slippery. An amoeba will move away from noxious chemicals in the water. That could be considered a form of pain,
    but it does not necessarily imply consciousness.



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  • In reply to #3 by Kim Probable:

    Several animals have passed the self-awareness test by recognizing themselves in a mirror. Of those tested, a few species of dolphins,…

    This just a cognitive trick. We set the bar so that only humans and a few other species would pass. There is nothing inherently magic about that bar. Lot’s of creatures have an inner life who can’t play with mirrors.



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  • 38
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #23 by SilverWun:

    Your are contemplating something for which, by some of the answers here, Science has no explanation yet.

    How do you know where science has no explanation?? Are you aware of ALL present scientific knowledge?

    Not being a subscriber to the ‘god of the gaps’ approach still leaves room for reasoned speculation.

    It is surprising how often with “gods of gaps”, the gaps turn out to simply be gaps in the knowledge of those making the god claims, but not actual gaps in the total of human knowledge.

    I do this knowing that it will probably rankle some of the Orthodox Non-believers who insist on relying only on the doctrines of Holy Science.

    References to “Holy Science” usually indicate some some whimsical ignorance of the relevant scientific fields by those making such claims.

    It has delivered much, but also much of what has been delivered by scientific research is a partial product of the ‘hunch’ at many points. It is hunch, (hypothesis) driven and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of speculation about just where those impulses are rooted. I see it as relating to your curiosity.

    Hunches are the basis for starting investigations. They are not the end product of peer-reviewed research. This shows a lack of understanding of science on your part. Science has built huge libraries of knowledge supported by evidence to high levels of probability.

    Some questions about these things can be reasoned and without denial of the possibility that some of the phenomena occur because we are souls;

    There is no evidence whatever for “souls”, but there is considerable evidence that brain functions can be explained without souls, and considerable paradoxes, violations of scientific laws, and self contradictions in proposing souls.

    at least in a way of speaking, babies that would otherwise be cast away with the theological holy water.

    This is pure mumbo-jumbo!

    I think scientific purists have it backwards; that there is actually non ‘material’ consciousness and that it doesn’t spring from matter but infuses matter into living forms with itself.

    The universe is made of matter forces and energy. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed (laws of thermodynamics) There is no evidence of “ethereal infusions” of anything else, and no room in the mathematical equations for any such “magic energy”!

    For the sake of discussion and trying on ideas, which are hardly my own, lets consider the order of ‘coming into physical being’, evolutionary or otherwise, as a demonstration of consciousness intentionality.

    Are you suggesting that LUCA and whole host of single celled organisms, along with all animal life, have souls? .. and if not at what stage in millions of years of evolution did humans acquire them? It does not make sense unless you claim magic is involved, and belief in magic is for infants.

    Imagine an overall intangible consciousness transcending to intelligence and then to a stage of intent; acting on and forming that which is called inorganic in such a way to effect life,

    Mystical imaginings have no connections to material reality apart from the material chemistry and circuitry of the brains doing the imagining!

    not the other way around as science would have it.

    This is just backwards thinking! Brains work by electro-biochemistry operating their cells.

    The ‘dust’ from which we proverbially are supposed to have sprung, only to return as raw material.

    There several models of abiogenesis with life arising from basic organic chemistry.

    A question I pondered for many years was: If every living cell in our bodies is replaced over a span of about seven years, and we actually undergo a gradual reincarnation; being comprised of completely different material down to the last molecule, how is it that we have memories? How are we still the same person identity?

    That is a myth! Our cells are not all replaced at the same time. Some are replaced at different times, others are not replaced at all.

    http://askanaturalist.com/do-we-replace-our-cells-every-7-or-10-years/
    Neurons in the cerebral cortex are never replaced. There are no neurons added to your cerebral cortex after birth. Any cerebral cortex neurons that die are not replaced.

    What ever accounts for that consciousness cannot be comprised of matter or it would have eroded and vanished with the matter many times.

    Not at all. Many brain cells are never replaced. You simply do not understand cell biology.

    NO, it is the matter that is comprised of and directed by the intelligence executing intentionality be it individual or attached to a deeper, common source.

    This is just whimsical thinking which has no evidenced basis.

    There has been some scientific work, dismissed by Orthodoxy, to demonstrate life or life force, spontaneously emerging in hospitable conditions from entirely ‘inorganic’ matter.

    The claim that this is “dismissed by orthodoxy” is nonsense. The Origin of Life – Abiogenesis – Dr. Jack Szostak http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg The 2009 Nobel Laurette in medicine for his work on telomerase. explains a model of how life arises from basic chemistry.

    Though it only evidences without thorough proof, you might want to look into it.

    Science has looked into this very thoroughly and has produced substantial evidence and various models of how life can arise.



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  • You might find John Eccle’s Wikipedia entry to be of very interesting personal relevance.

    A lead to follow up was some crucial research on this topic performed about 60 years ago by a team led by John Eccles. Essentially verifying how neuron signalling pathways modulate transmissions on other neural pathways. A few years prior Eccles was briefly associated with Karl Popper in New Zealand. Some decades later they produced a book discussing the state of play. (‘The Self and Its Brain’)

    It might seem like old hat but it could be worth your reading this book, plus Eccle’s other works. (Anything by Popper is essential reading for more or less any area.) It’s interesting to get a feel for how this stuff was once regarded. Myths from bygone eras tend to prevail in the popular understanding of souls etc.

    Other useful reading would be some basic introduction to electronics and computation, information theory, in addition to the molecular biology you’d hopefully get with medical studies.

    Sometimes when it’s hard to define something it can be useful to look at what it isn’t. An approach to contemplating the nature of the emergent complexity of minds might be to work from the opposite direction of how and when it goes away, and why it can’t come back or remain in existence independently of its underlying neural switching matrix.

    There may be ways of separating the mind from the underlying brain which cast light on the nature of mind. E.g. With hypothetical short-lived neurotoxin molecules that momentarily disrupt all synaptic transmission in very tiny doses before dissipating. The brain would not initially be physically damaged but all neural signalling activity ceases for an instant, and would not be able to be restarted. Even with defibrillators, CPR, hormonal stimulants etc. – these approaches all assume that the mind temporarily remains (which it probably normally would except in the case of a massive dose of neurotoxins), and that the underlying medical emergency is merely a routine and temporary disruption to the energy flow to a substantial area of the brain

    A little after neural signalling ceases neuron cell death would commence, but as an indirect consequence of the disruption to various mind-operated energy and other maintenance processes. But for a brief moment you could have a fully intact and functional body and brain, but without a mind. Kind of an anti-soul.

    There’s an asymmetry in the mind-body relationship, so not much prospect of even momentarily getting hold of the insubstantial thing that is the mind, separate from the body. Nevertheless the 2 things are very different, though extremely interdependent. Mind is the intangible signalling pattern and its temporally dispersed possibilities; the brain is the matrix of neural pathways and possibilities of the underlying physical infrastructure.

    Electronic processors aren’t like this – they are similar in their ‘neural equivalent’ transistor interconnection and dependence on information signalling and continuous flow of energy and heat dissipation, but an electronic processor is sufficiently limited enough that its state can be defined and recorded at any given moment. This means they can be easily duplicated, all running processes can be stopped, and the entire intangible system can be rebooted, often across a network to a similar physical matrix. Minds are more like life in general – something which is continuous and has never stopped since its inception, something which can’t be specified as existing at any given moment but is dispersed across time, including immediate past and future path dependencies and possibilities.

    Life continues interrupted across generations, but minds don’t. Around the same time as Eccles’ work, DNA was once regarded as the key to life. Though it’s now regarded as more of a non volatile repository of protein templates. Similar to aspects of processor memory, with the key to life instead being the entire emergent complexity of the living cell, something which cannot be reproduced from DNA data without the simultaneous existence of another living cell. There’s already a massive amount of information processing within a single cell. Minds take things further and emerge from immense colonies of incredibly complex, specialised processing cells. This emergent complexity cannot be specified by DNA. Minds bding a complexity of their own, and at a much higher level.

    From an evolutionary perspective minds come into play to facilitate the transfer of life across generations, which involves DNA information. Anything else that minds are good for, like our enjoyment of consciousness, self-awareness etc. is probably just a side effect. So make the most of it while you can. Owing to human language and technology innovation some of the products of the mind can now transfer across generations. Which is Popper’s concept of world 3 artefacts.

    The difference in the scale of complexity between minds and electronic processors is part of the explanation for why minds cannot be interrupted and restored like electronic systems. E.g. the extreme effective size of the software code dump of a real self-aware mind could never be recorded because of constraints imposed by the laws of physics, in that it would take finite time, space, and energy to do so, during which the thing would have changed substantially before the process could complete. The mind doesn’t exist in any single instant of time. It’s essence is in the way it plays out through time. There’s an inherent degree of indeterminacy due to this extreme complexity and temporal dispersion. It’s like a musical composition that is played out, rather than the particular chord of any beat.

    It is even possible that our own minds are not just 1 thing, but a collection of multiple simultaneous and contesting neural processes running on a shared physical matrix. Some of which have the effect of creating the impression that there’s only 1 of us doing the thinking. Perhaps small bits and pieces might be copied or replicated one day, but not the full set. So every mind is inherently unique. In very unusual circumstances an initially undeveloped human mind might end up being non-human, in that it could become no longer typical of other human minds. Maybe in the mythical case of infants raised by wolves etc.

    You might expect that real, animal like self-awareness in an artificially intelligent system might not be entirely impossible, but it probably would be relatively limited and even then would be unable to be replicated or suspended, without also destroying that mind.



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  • Devise an experiment that can differentiate the sensation of a having a ‘mind’ from actually having one. Can’t be done (?). So there probably isn’t a ‘mind’ as such, just a sensory network, with feedback. Just like any other animal but more complex. Personally I don’t mind being a happy meat puppet. Rather that than staggering around in a metaphysical dualist delusion.



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  • 41
    Tlhedglin says:

    In reply to #42 by rzzz:

    Devise an experiment that can differentiate the sensation of a having a ‘mind’ from actually having one. Can’t be done (?). So there probably isn’t a ‘mind’ as such, just a sensory network, with feedback. Just like any other animal but more complex. Personally I don’t mind being a happy meat puppet. Rather that than staggering around in a metaphysical dualist delusion.

    I like this very much.



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  • 42
    Gamall Wednesday Ida says:

    In reply to #32 by QuestioningKat:

    Knock, knock , knock Hello, is anyone there? Severin B-D are you there?

    Hmm, I wonder if Severin is there and actually reading the responses?

    There seem to be a bunch of threads started by people with no prior posts, who then never come back to participate on the one question they asked. Or anywhere else, for that matter. They share the characteristic pattern “I’m an atheist but I’m wondering about “, and it was speculated that they are not bona-fide questions but just attempts by some individuals to make what they believe to be good points for their real, less-than-rational positions.

    Whatever the intent of those one-shot posters, it makes for good discussion.

    Another possibility it that given the large time differential between the posting of a thread and its validation by the moderators, the original posters simply forget everything about it/lose interest.



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  • 43
    israel socratus says:

    Quantum electrodynamics + Biology = Who am I ?
    ==.
    Cells make copies of themselves.
    Different cells make different copies of themselves.
    Cells come in all shapes and sizes.
    Somehow these different cells are tied between themselves
    and during pregnancy process of 9 months gradually ( ! )
    and by chance ( or not by chance ) they change own
    geometrical form from zygote to a child.
    Cells come in all shapes and sizes, and then . . . they are you.
    Cells they are you ( !? )
    This is modern biomechanical /chemical point of view.
    #
    Maybe 99% agree that ‘Cells – they are you .’
    But this explanation is not complete.
    Cells have an energy / electrical potential.
    Cells have an electromagnetic field.
    Therefore we need to say:
    ‘ Cells and electromagnetic field – they are you.’
    ===.
    Is this formulation correct?
    Of course it is correct.
    Why?
    Because:
    Bioelectromagnetism (sometimes equated with bioelectricity)
    refers to the electrical, magnetic or electromagnetic fields
    produced by living cells, tissues or organisms.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioelectromagnetism

    What does it mean?
    It means there isn’t biological cell without electromagnetic fields.
    It means that in the cell we have two ( 2 ) substances:
    matter and electromagnetic fields.
    And in 1985 Richard P. Feynman wrote book:
    QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

    The idea of book – the interaction between light
    ( electromagnetic fields ) and matter is strange.

    He wrote: ‘ The theory of quantum electrodynamics
    describes Nature as absurd from the point of view
    of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment.
    So I hope you accept Nature as She is — absurd. ‘
    / page 10. /
    #
    Once again:
    1.
    Cells and electromagnetic field – they are you.
    2.
    We cannot understand their interaction and therefore
    we don’t know the answer to the question: ‘ who am I ?’
    ==.
    Where does electromagnetic field come from ?
    =.
    In 1904 Lorentz proved: there isn’t electromagnetic field
    ( em waves ) without Electron
    It means the source of these em waves must be an Electron
    The electron and the em waves they are physical reality
    Can evolution of consciousness begin on electron’s level?
    ==.
    Origin of life is a result of physical laws that govern Universe
    Electron takes important part in this work.
    #
    1900, 1905
    Planck and Einstein found the energy of electron: E=hf.
    1916
    Sommerfeld found the formula of electron : e^2=ah
    c,
    1928
    Dirac found two more formulas of electron’s energy:
    +E=Mc^2 and -E=Mc^2.
    According to QED in interaction with vacuum electron’s
    energy is infinite: E= ∞
    Questions.
    Why does the simplest particle – electron have five ( 5 ) formulas ?
    What is interaction between them?
    Why does electron obey five ( 5) Laws ?
    a) Law of conservation and transformation energy/ mass
    b) Maxwell’s equations
    c) Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle / Law
    d) Pauli Exclusion Principle/ Law
    e) Fermi-Dirac statistics.
    What is interaction between them?
    Nobody knows.
    ====..
    What is an electron ?
    Now nobody knows
    In the internet we can read hundreds theories about electron
    All of them are problematical.
    We can read hundreds books about philosophy of physics.
    But how can we trust them if we don’t know what is an electron ?
    ====.
    Quote by Heinrich Hertz on Maxwell’s equations:

    “One cannot escape the feeling that these mathematical formulae
    have an independent existence and an intelligence of their own,
    that they are wiser than we are, wiser even than their discoverers,
    that we get more out of them than was originally put into them.”
    ==.
    Ladies and Gentlemen !
    Friends !
    The banal Electron is not as simple as we think and, maybe,
    he is wiser than we are.
    =====.
    According to Pauli Exclusion Principle
    only one single electron can be in the atom.
    This electron reanimates the atom.
    This electron manages the atom.
    If the atom contains more than one electron (for example – two)
    then this atom represents a ” Siamese twins”.
    Save us, the Great God, of having such atoms, such children. ( ! )
    Each of us has an Electron, but we do not know it. ( ! )
    ==.
    Brain and Electron.
    Human brain works on two levels:
    consciousness and subconsciousness. The neurons of brain
    create these two levels. So, that it means consciousness and
    subconsciousness from physical point of view ( interaction
    between billions and billions neurons and electron).
    It can only mean that the state of neurons in these two
    situations is different.
    How can we understand these different states of neurons?
    How does the brain generate consciousness?
    We can understand this situation only on the quantum level,
    only using Quantum theory. But there isn’t QT without
    Quantum of Light and Electron. So, what is interaction between
    Quantum of Light, Electron and brain ?
    Nobody knows.
    Maybe therefore Michael Talbot wrote:
    ‘ Contrary to what everyone knows it is so, it may not be
    the brain that produce consciousness, but rather consciousness
    that creates the appearance of the brain – . . . .’
    / Book ‘ The Holographic Universe’ page 160.
    by Michael Talbot ./
    #
    Conclusion:
    We are cells + Electron. ( ! )
    We must understand not only the cells, brain but electron too.
    And when we understand the Electron
    we will know the Ultimate Nature of Reality.
    ==..
    Best wishes.
    Israel Sadovnik Socratus
    ===========.



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  • 44
    israel socratus says:

    Quantum electrodynamics + Biology = Who am I ?
    ==.
    Cells make copies of themselves.
    Different cells make different copies of themselves.
    Cells come in all shapes and sizes.
    Somehow these different cells are tied between themselves
    and during pregnancy process of 9 months gradually ( ! )
    and by chance ( or not by chance ) they change own
    geometrical form from zygote to a child.
    Cells come in all shapes and sizes, and then . . . they are you.
    Cells they are you ( !? )
    This is modern biomechanical /chemical point of view.
    #
    Maybe 99% agree that ‘Cells – they are you .’
    But this explanation is not complete.
    Cells have an energy / electrical potential.
    Cells have an electromagnetic field.
    Therefore we need to say:
    ‘ Cells and electromagnetic field – they are you.’
    ===.
    Is this formulation correct?
    Of course it is correct.
    Why?
    Because:
    Bioelectromagnetism (sometimes equated with bioelectricity)
    refers to the electrical, magnetic or electromagnetic fields
    produced by living cells, tissues or organisms.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioelectromagnetism

    What does it mean?
    It means there isn’t biological cell without electromagnetic fields.
    It means that in the cell we have two ( 2 ) substances:
    matter and electromagnetic fields.
    And in 1985 Richard P. Feynman wrote book:
    QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

    The idea of book – the interaction between light
    ( electromagnetic fields ) and matter is strange.

    He wrote: ‘ The theory of quantum electrodynamics
    describes Nature as absurd from the point of view
    of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment.
    So I hope you accept Nature as She is — absurd. ‘
    / page 10. /
    #
    Once again:
    1.
    Cells and electromagnetic field – they are you.
    2.
    We cannot understand their interaction and therefore
    we don’t know the answer to the question: ‘ who am I ?’
    ==.
    Where does electromagnetic field come from ?
    =.
    In 1904 Lorentz proved: there isn’t electromagnetic field
    ( em waves ) without Electron
    It means the source of these em waves must be an Electron
    The electron and the em waves they are physical reality
    Can evolution of consciousness begin on electron’s level?
    ==.
    Origin of life is a result of physical laws that govern Universe
    Electron takes important part in this work.
    #
    1900, 1905
    Planck and Einstein found the energy of electron: E=hf.
    1916
    Sommerfeld found the formula of electron : e^2=ah
    c,
    1928
    Dirac found two more formulas of electron’s energy:
    +E=Mc^2 and -E=Mc^2.
    According to QED in interaction with vacuum electron’s
    energy is infinite: E= ∞
    Questions.
    Why does the simplest particle – electron have five ( 5 ) formulas ?
    What is interaction between them?
    Why does electron obey five ( 5) Laws ?
    a) Law of conservation and transformation energy/ mass
    b) Maxwell’s equations
    c) Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle / Law
    d) Pauli Exclusion Principle/ Law
    e) Fermi-Dirac statistics.
    What is interaction between them?
    Nobody knows.
    ====..
    What is an electron ?
    Now nobody knows
    In the internet we can read hundreds theories about electron
    All of them are problematical.
    We can read hundreds books about philosophy of physics.
    But how can we trust them if we don’t know what is an electron ?
    ====.
    Quote by Heinrich Hertz on Maxwell’s equations:

    “One cannot escape the feeling that these mathematical formulae
    have an independent existence and an intelligence of their own,
    that they are wiser than we are, wiser even than their discoverers,
    that we get more out of them than was originally put into them.”
    ==.
    Ladies and Gentlemen !
    Friends !
    The banal Electron is not as simple as we think and, maybe,
    he is wiser than we are.
    =====.
    According to Pauli Exclusion Principle
    only one single electron can be in the atom.
    This electron reanimates the atom.
    This electron manages the atom.
    If the atom contains more than one electron (for example – two)
    then this atom represents a ” Siamese twins”.
    Save us, the Great God, of having such atoms, such children. ( ! )
    Each of us has an Electron, but we do not know it. ( ! )
    ==.
    Brain and Electron.
    Human brain works on two levels:
    consciousness and subconsciousness. The neurons of brain
    create these two levels. So, that it means consciousness and
    subconsciousness from physical point of view ( interaction
    between billions and billions neurons and electron).
    It can only mean that the state of neurons in these two
    situations is different.
    How can we understand these different states of neurons?
    How does the brain generate consciousness?
    We can understand this situation only on the quantum level,
    only using Quantum theory. But there isn’t QT without
    Quantum of Light and Electron. So, what is interaction between
    Quantum of Light, Electron and brain ?
    Nobody knows.
    Maybe therefore Michael Talbot wrote:
    ‘ Contrary to what everyone knows it is so, it may not be
    the brain that produce consciousness, but rather consciousness
    that creates the appearance of the brain – . . . .’
    / Book ‘ The Holographic Universe’ page 160.
    by Michael Talbot ./
    #
    Conclusion:
    We are cells + Electron. ( ! )
    We must understand not only the cells, brain but electron too.
    And when we understand the Electron
    we will know the Ultimate Nature of Reality.
    ==..
    Best wishes.
    Israel Sadovnik Socratus
    ===========.



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  • 45
    Frank Coyle says:

    The truth is that there is no “Mind”. There are various processes at work in the brain, and at different locations within the brain, that all come together to produce intelligence and make you get up in the morning and run away from lions. As humans we have become very good at thinking about ourselves but we’re not unique and other animals can do it too.

    The “Mind” is simply a concept used by us to describe our experience within our own bodies. It exists only in the same sense that a city exists. We are in charge only in the same way a city mayor is in charge of his city.



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  • 46
    Less Offensive Apefeces says:

    I read this;
    “The human brain is heralded for its staggering complexity and processing capacity: its hundred billion neurons and several hundred trillion synaptic connections can process and exchange prodigious amounts of information over a distributed neural network in the matter of milliseconds.”

    Some people use the word Soul as they are unwilling or unable to understand the complexities of the human brain. Have a look on TED – Sebastian Seung’s discussion on what he calls the connectome – the network of connections in your brain between neurons which physically dictates how you think.

    I think one day in the near future AI singulairty will be a reality (if we don’t blow ourselves up before hand). I think it’s a case of creating & perfecting an AI emotional intelligence engine to properly control the switches (synaptic connections in the brain, 0 & 1 in AI land), we already have everything else in place (eg capacity).



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  • 47
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #47 by Apeshit:

    I think one day in the near future AI singulairty will be a reality

    Can you give a definition of what this AI singularity is? I know what you are referring to and I’ve seen a lot written about it in the popular press but I’ve never seen a definition of what this “singularity” really is that made any sense to me. For example, how does the singularity differ from the Internet we have now?



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  • 51
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #47 by Apeshit:

    read this; “The human brain is heralded for its staggering complexity and processing capacity: its hundred billion neurons and several hundred trillion synaptic connections can process and exchange prodigious amounts of information over a distributed neural network in the matter of milliseconds.”

    .Some people use the word Soul as they are unwilling or unable to understand the complexities of the human brain. Have a look on TED – Sebastian Seung’s discussion on what he calls the connectome – the network of connections in your brain between neurons which physically dictates how you think.

    I put a comment and links on this and related topics here:- http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2013/7/14/potentially-naive-suggestion-on-how-to-re-invigorate-the-debate-on-evolution#comment-box-23



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