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Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness
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Author:  ant [ Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 085105.htm

I recall a debate in which a scientist and his following laughed at Stuart H explain his theory.

Amazing

Author:  LanDroid [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

I guess we'll see if the paradigm shifts...

Author:  Interbane [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

I don't see why further complexity is needed to understand consciousness. Aren't neurons enough to produce such an emergent phenomenon? I would think it's as simple as that, with the complexity being in the arrangement.

Author:  ant [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

god forbid we discover an incorporeal element of consciouness
lets be satisfied with partial explanatory power here
long live the paradigm!!

Author:  Interbane [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

Quote:
lets be satisfied with partial explanatory power here


I see the same issue with microtubules. Consciousness is still an emergent phenomenon. What we can't explain, due to the complexity, is how the individual neurons collectively result in consciousness. How does the rival theory provide any insight? I saw nothing that explained how quantum vibrations within microtubules results in consciousness. In both cases it's an emergent phenomenon.

Quote:
god forbid we discover an incorporeal element of consciouness


Incorporeal? Why did you use that word? Physics is at play in both cases, as far as I can tell. I have no resistance to the idea of quantum vibrations, other than it doesn't seem necessary. Ockham's razor. But I know so little about it that it's just layman opinion.

Author:  johnson1010 [ Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

to be sure, there's nothing incorporeal about quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics IS what the world is made of. Everything from the solidity of matter, to fire, to the colors we see in everyday objects is a quantum effect.

People tend to only associate quantum mechanics with the more bizare things that we aren't accustomed to dealing with, like antimatter creation/annihilation, or electron spin, or quantum tunneling, but the fact that your pants are blue is also a quantum effect.

Author:  ant [ Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

Quote:
incorporeal? Why did you use that word? Physics is at play in both cases, as far as I can tell. I have no resistance to the idea of quantum vibrations, other than it doesn't seem necessary. Ockham's razor. But I know so little about it that it's just layman opinion.


this

http://phys.org/news/2013-07-flat-worms ... ation.html

and this..,

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

may have a relationship.

in early stages of course but if the brain acts as both a receiver and stores non locally, it will give cause to rethink our current paradigm.

Author:  Interbane [ Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

Both of those links imply mechanisms that are corporeal, natural, and subject to the laws of physics.


You'll have to explain in layman's terms what it means for storage to be non-local. Is that the same thing as distributed storage? How is that different from the current understanding of how we store information?

Author:  ant [ Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

Interbane wrote:
Both of those links imply mechanisms that are corporeal, natural, and subject to the laws of physics.


You'll have to explain in layman's terms what it means for storage to be non-local. Is that the same thing as distributed storage? How is that different from the current understanding of how we store information?



Innocent question here:

If memory/consciousness is stored in both a local and non-local states (as hypothesized) how are you attributing the non locality of consciousness to the brain?
Remember, it may be both (ie the double slit experiment).

Are the laws of quantum physics subject to the laws of physics that govern large material bodies (not just human bodies)?

I'd think if quantum laws (which we have, to my knowledge, not defined with certainty) are involved in consciousness, it's rather premature to speak with certainty that they are strictly governed by physical laws as we understand them in relation to matter.

Also, where was memory stored in the flatworm? In it's tail?
Has memory storage in the brain been located? That's not to say it won't be. Nevertheless, the wiki article is an interesting conjecture.

Clarify your thinking for me on this, please. I know we are both armatures here.

BTW,
Have you read the wiki article yet?
Interesting stuff.

Thanks

Author:  Interbane [ Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

Quote:
If memory/consciousness is stored in both a local and non-local states (as hypothesized) how are you attributing the non locality of consciousness to the brain?
Remember, it may be both (ie the double slit experiment).


I don't see how information can be stored in what is considered a "local" manner. Across all different mediums that information is stored on or within, the storage is more or less distributed, depending on how much information there is. It's not as if "bits" are stored within neurons. It is the configuration and strength of dendritic connections that determines the information, which is necessarily distributed.

I think attempts to find consciousness anywhere else than in the aggregate activity of neurons is missing the forest for the trees. In only a very rough comparison, we know that information can be stored by the aggregate of simply functioning independent parts - transistors. Hypothesizing additional mechanisms does nothing in helping us unravel the real issue, which is how the sum of neurons leads to the emergent phenomenon of consciousness.

Quote:
Also, where was memory stored in the flatworm? In it's tail?
Has memory storage in the brain been located?


The tendency to avoid or not avoid light could be explained by phenotypic plasticity, no neurons required.

Short term memory in the brain is stored in the pre-frontal lobe. Long term memory is somewhere else, but I couldn't tell you without googling it. Why?

Author:  Interbane [ Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

I don't think we can get to the heart of where we might disagree unless I put my understanding out there. I'm aware my understanding might be wrong, but here it is.

A disclaimer first. I know the comparison between computers and brains fails on many levels, but it's also a useful comparison, to draw associations. I think talking about electronic principles is the easiest place to start.

When I was in the Air Force learning about electronics, I remember having a breakthrough moment while studying how a group of precisely arranged transistors worked together to 'count' upward. I followed the individual logic from one component to the next, and eventually got to the point where I could hold a bunch of them in my head and envision the final output. Which was counting to the number 4. Super simple, yet amazing how simple components could manipulate information.

We went on to study more advanced components, such as receivers and transmitters. I couldn't hold all the components in my head, by a long shot. And the components were simple, and the function was simple. These components manipulated information, and that's the key association to what a brain does, manipulate information.

When you consider an advanced AI program, it is impossible to hold even a fraction of cause and effect in your head from the component level. That's the case even for those brilliant engineers who design such programs. They can approach it in a linear fashion, bit by bit, but the entire thing is like an emergent phenomenon. If alien computers were to drop from the sky back in the year 1940, they would appear as magical as the human brain does today. There is no way to go from a component understanding to a full understanding of the end function.

I don't see consciousness as something magical. It might be something we don't yet understand, but that doesn't mean it isn't understandable. We can't possibly understand it in whole, however. Only piece by piece, and that isn't enough for the certainty that we require at a gut level to say we understand something.

That's how I see the human brain. We have an idea of the mechanisms, but we will never hold the entire function in our heads. It's like using a computer program to run a simulation of another computer. It needs to be 64 times more powerful than the computer it's attempting to simulate(from the transistor level).

Consciousness is amazing and not fully understood, but that doesn't mean it isn't an emergent phenomenon resulting from the arrangement and firing of neurons. It's the explanation that most neurobiologists ascribe to, and for good reason. Proposing even more complex mechanisms seems to go against parsimony. Why make it more complex than necessary? Let's continue making progress in mapping the logic of neural connections and attempting to simulate larger and larger neural nets.

Author:  mostly_harmless [ Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Evidence for once controversial theory of Consciousness

Whilst slightly off topic, this might be relevant to the discussion of memories and locality/non-locality.

einstein.yu.edu/news/releases/968/watch ... -memories/

Quote:
January 23, 2014­­ – (BRONX, NY) – In two studies in the January 24 issue of Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University used advanced imaging techniques to provide a window into how the brain makes memories. These insights into the molecular basis of memory were made possible by a technological tour de force never before achieved in animals: a mouse model developed at Einstein in which molecules crucial to making memories were given fluorescent "tags" so they could be observed traveling in real time in living brain cells.

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