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  1. Consciousness and Evolution

    Area54; I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. It took me a lot longer than I expected to review all eight pages, then I had to eat and was tired. It was probably too ambitious of me to try to start my own thread knowing that MS makes me tire easily and limits the number of posts that I can accomplish in a day -- and even limits which days I can post. Because consciousness is so complex, it is easy to take the thread off-topic without even trying, so a thread like this must be monitored closely. I could not do that. Tar, who is familiar with some of my thoughts on this subject, did a wonderful job of supporting my position, trying to pull the thread back on topic, and "herding cats". But I have not yet introduced anyone to my thoughts on the connection between consciousness and evolution, so he could only do so much. If people will be patient and allow me time to respond appropriately, I will try to explain my position. Remember everyone, this is not a race to see who can post the most or the fastest, it is more like a chess game, so taking time to review what has been stated has more value to me than throwing out a lot of disjointed ideas. Good, because I don't have a theory of consciousness. I do have an understanding of consciousness that seems to be rather singular, but not inaccurate. Yes. This is probably the most important point. When I state that bacteria is conscious, many will respond with something like," You mean it thinks and goes to the bar after work?" When they say this, what they are doing is anthropomorphizing the bacteria, giving it a human consciousness. But bacteria does not have a human consciousness -- it couldn't. It does not have eyes or ears, it does not have a brain to process vision and hearing, it does not have feet to move it around or hands to hold things, so it can not know about these things, can not be aware of them. All life is aware (conscious). That is how we know that it is life, but what is it aware of? What can it be aware of? What can it know? That is harder to determine. If we are going to look at life in terms of evolution, then we must examine levels of awareness. We must break it down as it would be unbelievable to attribute human consciousness to bacteria, bears, frogs, and butterflies. (except in children's stories) Yes and no. Yes, it is the simplest level, that I know of, but to describe bacteria as "is, in essence, a suite of reactions" is to also objectify it. This would make it no different from a chemical reaction or a mechanical machine. It would be better to state that it is 'recognized' by a suite of reactions. I am no biologist, so this is a layman's interpretation of what constitutes life. Life will eat, grow, and reproduce itself; so this activity continues it's life and is present in all life forms from the beginning. I base this on the information that a virus will only do these things when in another life form (specie), which is why it does not qualify as life on it's own. Life will also adapt, and if it cannot adapt, it will die. This adapting can also result in evolution, which would be why we are told that the first life on earth was microbial. So what does this have to do with consciousness? Well, there are no battery packs on bacteria. Something empowers it and motivates it. We call that something consciousness -- the same thing that empowers and motivates us and all life. Either the thing that empowers life is internal, consciousness, or it is external, "God"; since I have never met "God", I am going with the former. This internal empowerment is awareness (consciousness) of the need to continue, to preserve it's life and pattern. This need for life to preserve itself is present in all life forms and is known and studied as survival instincts. Instincts are part of consciousness. There are some people, who will state that the above is no more than a chemical reaction, but saying this is a denial of life. If life is just a chemical reaction, then you and I are just chemical reactions, as I have seen no evidence that justifies the idea that humans are above and beyond other life, except for the religious idea that claims we are "made in 'God's' image". Or we can go the other way and state that chemical reactions and life are the same thing because the entire Universe is alive -- maybe so. But this would mean that we have to redefine life, and that is not what this thread is about. This thread is about interpreting acknowledged, accredited information with regard to evolution in species. Anyone with another idea should start another thread because it would be off topic -- focus, focus, focus. So all life is sentient, but this first level is only sentient and can feel, sense, or perceive something, usually food, in it's environment. It also responds to this 'something'. So what we can know about first life is that it is aware of this 'something', that it possesses knowledge of how to respond to this 'something', that it has memory to store this knowledge, and that it has instincts which motivate it to react. These are the base qualities of conscious life. Yes. Yes. I will give you the accepted terms, then I will give you my understanding of them. Sentience -- to be able to perceive, sense or feel something. Awareness -- to be able to be aware of something. Consciousness -- to be able to be aware of something and also think about it. Self-awareness -- to be aware of your body in a third person way, or to be aware of your own mind in relation to other minds or vice-versa. Executive control -- this was a new one on me, but it is clear what it means. All of the above are awareness, which would be why they are listed under the heading of consciousness. The differences between them is mostly emotional. We use the word 'sentience' because we can not accept the possibility that bacteria and skin cells might have minds, so we designate the lowest life forms as sentient, aware but mindless. (chuckle) There is no real difference between awareness and consciousness, but most people think of consciousness as including thought, so I can live with that. Self-awareness was originally designed to prove the superiority of humans, but we have begun to test other species and think that they are also self-aware, so we have a new designation, executive control, to describe human superiority. (chuckle chuckle) Not sure what you mean here. We could say that there are different levels or phases in human life when comparing an infant and an adult, or comparing a caterpillar to a cocoon to a butterfly. Is that what you mean? What different conditions are you talking about? Are you talking about being unconscious? Not sure that these ideas are relevant to evolution, but if you think so, tell me how they are relevant. Yes. (chuckle) I don't think so. It is true that consciousness is a complex subject and has been studied for millennia by different cultures, thinkers, and religions, so it is a difficult study as it carries various ideas from various sources. Then when you think you have a handle on the concept, you become aware of a whole new area of study that also applies. (chuckle) I have had to rethink my concept of consciousness many, many times. Training and a lot of time are required to work on this puzzle. But then I like a good puzzle. People not truly listening and wanting to promote their own ideas are most of the reasons for misunderstanding and derailment. When I went back and reread this thread, I discovered that only one person actually supplied the information requested in the OP -- only one -- in eight pages. That was JohnCuthber on the first page. John and I never really got along well before, but I am beginning to rethink that position. He showed me that he can read, comprehend, follow a topic, and think at the same time, which appears to be truly amazing as no one else accomplished this. He stated that species could not evolve simply because they 'want' to, and the "God" idea or Intelligent Designer always comes into play when we try to combine consciousness and evolution. He is correct. We identify consciousness with the brain and thought, or we identify consciousness with "God". Since thought can not accomplish evolution, we are stuck with the "God" idea or an Intelligent Designer, which scares the bejeebers out of us. Fear can be stupefying. I thought that maybe it was time to look at consciousness for what it is, not the brain, not just thought, and not "God". Consciousness is just a part of Nature and works within Nature's rules just like everything else does. My thought is to simply understand consciousness, what it is and what it is made up of, thought, knowledge, memory, awareness, feeling, and emotion, and how these components work -- what they do, their limitations, their possibilities. I mentioned these ideas in the first few pages, but got ignored. You are way too dramatic. The study of consciousness is mostly sweeping away the garbage that has been attached to this word. Consciousness is awareness -- being aware of something, what that something is depends on the size of your suitcase as Tub noted -- or the development of your specie. This awareness 'communicates' some knowledge or information to you. My computer locked up a few time, but I think I will be able to post this. Gee
  2. Consciousness and Evolution

    Area54; A little clarity is a wonderful thing. I have been repeatedly asked for a definition of consciousness, and I have repeatedly given a definition of consciousness, so I could not understand the problem. It was the last line of your post that provided clarity. You don't want a definition of consciousness, you want my "thesis" or theory of consciousness. I thought I made that clear, but could be wrong, so I will review the thread and be back in a few hours. Gee
  3. Consciousness and Evolution

    StringJunky; Welcome to iNow's thread. Although 'construct' would work in some instances and has no negative connotations, it is too objective a term for consciousness as there seems to be variations in the differing consciousnesses. Consider that if you take a dozen people, who have all witnessed the same thing, you can easily end up with half a dozen reports on what happened. If we use the word 'illusion' to describe these differences, then we also create doubt as to whether or not anything at all happened. This would be a little problematic for the police officer trying to make the report. If, instead, we use the term 'interpret' it can explain the differences and even help the officer. If four really short people 'interpret' the suspect to be really tall, most of the people 'interpret' the suspect to be average height, and two very tall people 'interpret' the suspect to be rather short, the officer can 'construct' their statements into a conclusion that the suspect was average height. Gee Area54; You might want to hold off on that idea. You see, I have not yet presented my "claim regarding the linking of evolution and consciousness" so any response to it would not really be a response to it. Why have I not yet presented it? Well, besides the many distractions from the thread's topic, I am have another problem. Consider the following: If you were going to have a discussion with six other people about math, and early in the discussion you discovered that the other people only had a vague idea of what numbers are, then could you discuss math? No. The only viable solution would be to explain numbers. But if one of the people thought that use of the Roman Numerals is better, and another thought that the symbols used for numbers should be changed, and another thought that the idea of 'one to one' association with objects and numerals should be investigated, and they wanted to argue about it, then what could be accomplished? Nothing. Since many of the people in this thread will not even acknowledge that all life is conscious to some degree, even after being informed that both, philosophy and science agree on this, then showing how consciousness and the evolution of species are connected is impossible. Gee No iNow. Shit is when people continually take a thread off topic to discuss: the great 'pinnacle' debate, Tar's writing skills, and illusion, while trying to bait me into other off-topic discussions. Shit is when people intentionally corrupt the meaning of my words in order to have something to argue about. Shit is when people lie in order to pretend that they are not doing the above. That is shit. When I say that communication is the core attribute of consciousness, that does not mean that consciousness is the core attribute of communication. This is just more of your nonsense and apparently a sincere need to corrupt everything that I state. Gee
  4. Consciousness and Evolution

    Area54; I wouldn't have any objections. This is the first sane solution to the problem that I have seen. It also happened to be my thought as well. As I explained, and Tar repeated, consciousness at it's core is essentially communication. So let's look at a communication device; the cell phone. Suppose you are feeling lonely, so you call up your friend, and when he answers, it seems as though he is right there with you. Would we call that illusion? No we would not, nor would we think that we are having an illusionary conversation. Your friend's voice goes into the cell phone, is broken down into some digital form, bounced off a tower, a satellite, another tower, then received by your phone and "interpreted" back into his voice for you to hear. Using the word illusion just makes the whole concept sound like it is mystical or magical, done with smoke and mirrors. It also implies that the conversation is not real, or that your friend is not real. It would be a ridiculous way to explain it. Kind of like Dennett's theory. Gee
  5. Consciousness and Evolution

    iNow; Well, iNow, you have a point there -- I could be wrong. I have not really studied Dennett in any depth, so I could be mistaking his ideas. If consciousness is created through an illusion of the brain, that would mean that species with brains create the illusion of consciousness. A flea has a brain and flies have brains, I am pretty sure, so do they also produce consciousness? But that may be pushing it. How about dogs and horses, do they produce the illusion of consciousness? And sheep, because it would not be fair if we excluded herd animals. And goldfish? So maybe you could produce some reference as to whether or not all species with brains also experience this illusion of consciousness, or if there is some cut-off as to which species experience it and which do not. Since you have studied his work, this information should be available to you. That is not what I suggested. You cut the quote. Here is the quote with the relevant missing parts: "If humans have the most advanced and complex brain, which most people think we do," You see the underlined parts that you cut off? That "if" and the rest make the point. Most people do believe that the human mind/brain is the most advanced of our earthbound species. This is not an assumption; this is a fact. If you dispute this, please provide any valid evidence. Fiction is not acceptable. And I have no respect for parsing people's quotes in order to argue an irrelevant and nonexistent point as that breeds disinformation. Do you actually read anything that I write? Remember way back when I was explaining that consciousness was a vast and complex subject? I stated that consciousness was the subject of ALL religion, more than half of philosophy, and at least half of all science. Religion studies consciousness; they may call it "God", but what they are studying is consciousness. Anyone who does not understand this does not understand consciousness. I watched a video of Dennett on the subject of religion and was shocked by his ignorance. He seemed to regard religion as a group of people who were determined to subdue the masses through any manipulation available. He completely ignored any spiritual or emotional value in religion. I am not a religious person and see consciousness in a more analytic light, rather than a personalized "God" light, but that does not prevent me from seeing the value in religion. It is necessary, whether I need it or not, other people need it. Gee
  6. Consciousness and Evolution

    iNow; Bear in mind that you are posting in the Philosophy forum. Philosophy does not get it's answers handed to it, so we have to think. Also consider that there is still no comprehensive theory of consciousness, so Dennett's theories are just that THEORIES. When Dennett wrote his book, Consciousness Explained, he lost my respect and the respect of most philosophers. Why? Because he disregarded a great deal of what is accepted to be consciousness, which is why some philosophers have dubbed his book, Consciousness Ignored or Consciousness Denied. If Dennett had named his book, Consciousness in the Brain Explained, he could have retained some credibility, but he didn't. Because he didn't, his theory may explain a small portion of consciousness, as it relates to the brain, but like all of the theories before his, he assumed his portion was the whole. Consciousness is a vast and complex subject. You can go to Wiki, look up his book, and get an overview of the above opinion. Also check out Chalmer's book, the Hard Problem of Consciousness, which was written in response to Dennett's book. Think. If Dennett sees consciousness as an illusion created by the brain, then all life without a brain is not conscious. If humans have the most advanced and complex brain, which most people think we do, then doesn't that put humans at the "pinnacle" of consciousness -- exactly what you accused me of? These are two main reasons why philosophers do not admire his theory. Bullshit. I have spent most of this thread trying to teach science. Until I clearly stated that both, a neurologist and a microbiologist, explained that all life is sentient, most people assumed that I did not know what I was talking about; many still doubt it and I suspect that includes you. So who is trying to ignore the science? Unless people can accept what SCIENCE tells us about life, there is no hope of doing any philosophy on evolution, and I have been working on teaching science for five pages!!! You seem to think that I am an emotional moron. Since I know that is not true, I have to wonder where the idea came from. Have you ever heard of projecting? It is studied by psychology, another science. If you really want to boil it down, then physics tells us that everything is really particles and waves, so it is all illusion. Problem solved. So we can close down Science, Philosophy, and even Religion because we have our answers. Well, if I ever get to the point of this thread, I hope you will remember that. It is my argument that chemistry is also what drives and guides evolution. It also allows us to dismiss the parts of it that we do not wish to deal with -- like religion. Dennett's revulsion of religion is almost manic. It also allows vegans to eat with impunity because only life with a brain is sentient. It is bullshit, of course, but it is delivered by a man with a long beard, a grave and solemn face, who looks like a wise philosopher should. (chuckle chuckle) If you want to identify what is life, it is easy, just kill it. It will lose it's consciousness and die. Life has it's own form of entropy, we call it death. Gee
  7. Consciousness and Evolution

    iNow; Yes. You are not the first person to be frustrated with the definition of consciousness. I remember thinking that this term was ridiculous as it defined almost nothing. I even decided to clarify it by creating better terminology, but the idea did not last long. It occurred to me that I would spend more time teaching people my definitions than I would spend studying it. Let us be honest, do you really think that Chalmers, Searle, and Dennett were never frustrated with this foggy word? If they, with all of their authority, could not create a better definition, then who would listen to mine? So I have to go with established terms. Of course, Dennett cheated, which is why I have no respect for him. He decided to study a portion of consciousness, the part that neurology studies and is the rational aspect of mind associated with the brain. By doing this, and forgetting the other portions of consciousness, he has supported the idea that consciousness is ONLY human consciousness, which is absurd and clearly reflects the Christian religious notion of humans being the only ones who have a soul -- and Dennett, from what I have seen, seems to hate religion. So go figure. If Dennett lived 400 or 500 years ago, I could forgive him for just being ignorant, but that is not the case. We now know about the unconscious aspect of mind, we know that other species are conscious, we know that other species possess language skills, and we know that all life is sentient (conscious). So I see Dennett as a wannabe scientist, someone who did not make the grade, or a disloyal philosopher, someone who plays with the truth. I don’t like disinformation. As to his thoughts about the brain creating illusion, I find all of the theories regarding illusion and consciousness suspect. It occurs to me that if I take my illusionary hammer and drop it on my illusionary toe, I will go right to the illusionary store and pick up some illusionary steel-toed shoes, because it REALLY hurts. This goes to the question of what is real. So as to my own understanding. The word, conscious means aware, and vice-versa. In my Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, the term awareness is referred to the term consciousness. When I say consciousness, you can consider it an umbrella term that applies to each and/or all of the things in the definition of consciousness; sentience, awareness, consciousness, etc. If I say conscious, I am generally talking about awareness with thought added, so this is what most people consider conscious. If I say aware, I am generally talking about awareness in it’s simplest form -- without thought -- just perception. If I am referring to the conscious mind, what most people think of as their mind, I will generally refer to it as the rational mind. If I am referring to the unconscious aspect of mind, I will generally state it as such. If I am referring to sentience, I am generally talking about the ability to perceive, sense, or feel. If I make a reference that does not seem to correspond with the above, please call me on it, so I can clarify my point, or correct myself. That didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Thank you for your patience. This isn’t really my understanding of consciousness, but it is a start. Gee Phi for All; Did you miss the definition on the last page? Page 4 Gee
  8. Consciousness and Evolution

    First I would like to thank whoever gave me a positive rep on my last post. It is important for me to keep my rep in the green as red tends to destroy credibility, and I have seen too many philosophers be abandoned down that path. (A philosopher rarely receives an up vote for making a good argument or point.) The only reason I was confident enough to start this thread at all is because Ten oz very kindly gave me a few positive votes in response to my answers to some of his questions. So thank you all. Gee Area54; I have nosed around in the Science forums before and noticed that science does not like endless and pointless discussions any more than philosophy does. Sometimes when a person is obviously ignorant of the topic of discussion, one of the members will say, (paraphrased) "Get a book, read it, then come back to discuss it after you have a clue." Therefore, I recommend that you go to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) or the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), both of which are on-line and free to use, look up Consciousness and read. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and maybe some popcorn. Once you are clear on what consciousness actually is, and have an understanding of the various theories, you can start a thread on consciousness. Expect the thread to be endless, assuming you can garner anyone's interest. Gee Dimreepr; Anyone can get out a dictionary and look up consciousness, or you can use the internet. When I right click, I get this: Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object, or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and executive control of the mind. Does that definition really help? Or maybe you would like my personal simplified definition: Consciousness is communication. Whether it is internal or external, whether it is known (the rational mind / "executive control") or unknown (the unconscious / "sentience"), it is all communication. Does that help? Gee Tar; You make a good point, but must remember that this is consciousness, and consciousness is never ever a simple thing. The "self" seems to start with the individual, although I am not sure of that, but this core "self" immediately starts to bond with other selves and other ideas and things. This bonding creates larger selves much like the rings that occur when you drop a single drop of water into a lake, the surrounding circles that it makes are an indication that the drop happened, a continuation of the influence of that drop. Anything that you put the word "my" in front of can be an indication of a larger self. Examples: My family is a larger self. Law even recognizes this larger self and allows Self Defense as a reasonable cause when spouse or children are endangered. My school, college, alumni, team, hobby, occupation, place of work, sports interest, religion, church, neighborhood, society, town, state and country are examples of larger selves, although there can be many more. So although we are individuals, I am not so sure as to how individual we are. Even zoos have recognized that many species will become despondent and even die if deprived of others of their kind. Isolation is also dangerous for humans, so although we are individuals, I suspect that we are also part of all life and must maintain bonds with life in order to survive. Gee Tub; The underlined sentence is a good point. As regards "the capacity", you have a point, and might be right, but must remember that we don't yet know how sentience started, or if it started. If science can state that one cell species evolve when they turn into us, then I think that I can state that sentience turning into the rational mind is also evolution. Gee My teenage grandson arrived, is playing with a rather large dog and blasting the latest showing of Supernatural. I can't think. Later.
  9. Consciousness and Evolution

    iNow; Responding to your post is going to be difficult and probably lengthy, so try to be patient while reading it. I knew I was going to get in trouble when I wrote that line, but was just too tired to deal with it then. The problem is, in my opinion, that the brain does equate to consciousness, or at least it equates to what people call their consciousness, which is the rational aspect of mind. The rational aspect is where we do our thinking, our planning, our decision making, so this is what people think of as their consciousness, and I doubt that it could exist without a brain, or processor. On the other hand, every cell in our bodies is also conscious in that it is aware. This is a lower degree of consciousness and is called sentience -- all life is sentient. Every cell in our bodies will maintain itself, do it's work, and reproduce or duplicate itself to ensure its continuance -- this activity is the same as the activity in life forms that we call survival instincts. This is how we know that each cell is alive, because this activity indicates sentience. A virus will only activate this way when it is within another life form, so it is at best quasi-life or parasitic life and does not qualify as life. Yes, this is established knowledge. I got it first from a neurologist and then from a microbiologist -- every cell is sentient. So does this mean that every cell is conscious and has a rational aspect of mind? I don't think so. (chuckle) I have seen no evidence to support that idea. Although some theories of consciousness seem to lean in that direction, I can not go there. What I can conclude from this information, is the idea that consciousness evolves along with life forms. My take on this is that the first life was sentient. It was aware of the need to continue and exhibited this by eating, growing, and reproducing in some manner. This means that it could perceive and accept whatever was needed to feed it and had some knowledge of what was good to absorb. So sentient life can sense things and has some knowledge, but it had no mobility except for the environment which would buffet it along with wind or water. Next came plant life, which set itself down in an environment that was capable of sustaining it, but it also had no ability to move. Eventually, mobile life evolved, and this life started to navigate its environment. In order to navigate the environment, senses were needed to be able to perceive farther than the simple ability to feel because as speed in navigating increased, so did the need to perceive obstacles further away. So things like vision and hearing evolved to resolve this problem, but vision and hearing are useless without some central place to dump the information -- hence a brain evolved. I could be wrong, but I think that actual brains are exclusive to mobile life. This brain not only gathered information, but also began to make choices -- "that is water, should I go through it or around it? or that rock looks too big to climb over|. So this would be the very beginning of the rational conscious mind, which would eventually evolve into what we have today. It is clear to me that the rational aspect of mind (Freud's Ego) is designed to relate to physical reality, and I doubt that it could exist without a brain to process the thoughts and impressions that we receive. Sentience, which is the earliest known form of consciousness does not require a recognition of physical reality outside of it's body and only needs to know how other things feel in relation to its body. Sentience does not require a rational aspect of mind, the Ego, so I suspect that sentient life experiences something like the unconscious aspect of mind, the Superego. The unconscious is not very well known, but there are some things that we do know about it. One of the things is that it does not give two hoots about time and does not even acknowledge it. In my mind, this implies that if it does not acknowledge time, then it does not acknowledge space and physical reality, so this is another reason for the evolution of the rational aspect of mind. Yes, it appears in the nervous system, but in other systems as well. Consider that our immune system can actually learn; if it could not, then vaccines would not work. Also consider that hormones control homeostasis within our bodies, much like pheromones seem to cause it within ecosystems. What a wonderful compliment!! Some of the greatest minds known to man have struggled with this definition for thousands of years, yet you imply that I might have the answer. How flattering. (chuckle) But seriously, it is a reasonable request. The best that I can do is give you an explanation of my understanding of consciousness, but warn you it will probably be lengthy. Right now, I am tired as MS (multiple sclerosis) has a way of kicking my butt, and consciousness is a headache inducing subject. I will get back to this question either later tonight or tomorrow, depending on how well I feel. This should give you time to consider my above comments Gee Area54; Thinking of a Venn diagram is very appropriate, but this problem is even more complex than that. If you study the various theories of consciousness, you will find that every one of them has some truth in it, but many do not even overlap, they conflict. I am resistant to saying that consciousness is this or that because I think that is the mistake that others have made -- to jump the gun and define it before we really understand it. Instead I try to stick to simple truths, small things that I can be relatively sure are true to build my understanding. Hopefully my explanation to iNow that I will produce later, will also answer some of your questions. But I should state that I think of consciousness as a thing. I do this because it is the only way to study it without corrupting it with other ideas like "God" or the brain. Much like Freud did when he studied mind, he saw it as an object that he could take apart and examine, so he could analyze the components, I study consciousness the same way. But mind and consciousness are not really things and have no physical presence, so I think one of Freud's biggest mistakes was to try to match what he learned about mind with the brain. I do not intend to make that mistake. In the meantime, consider this: I often relate my ideas about consciousness with water because I think they share properties, and it makes a good analogy. Water can burn us in the form of steam, it can also kill us in that form; water can freeze us in the form of ice and snow, and can also kill us. It can crush us in an avalanche or destroy everything we own in a tsunami. It can drown us or knock us down in the form of slippery ice. But it can also clean us, reduce a fever and heal us, and floating on it in a small lake (if you learn how) is blissful. It is a liquid and a gas and a solid, so how does one describe it? It is in everything (like "God" is everywhere) and is necessary to life. When mixed with other things it can be anything from a nourishing soup to a dangerous bog that will pull you down and kill you. So imagine for a moment; if we could not be aware of water, if we could not see it or hear it or smell it, if we could only know how it affected us and made us feel, what would we think of it? How many ways would we try to describe this powerful, dangerous, but necessary and life giving thing? I suspect that long ago, we would have worshipped it and called it a "God". Gee
  10. Consciousness and Evolution

    iNow; Welcome to my thread. I will admit that the first few months that I knew of you, I thought you were an idiot. Then I read a post of yours where you were obviously very bright, and learned that maybe you were even brilliant on occasion. After that it took me some time to realize that you are a very worthy poster, but only when you are sincere and honest. Like many science people, you firmly believe that the brain and consciousness are the same thing -- there is some truth to that, but only some truth. Since all of my threads relate to consciousness, but none of them relate to the brain, you do not take my thoughts seriously, so you do not take me seriously. This leads to a feeling that you do not respect me, which I resent. If you were an idiot, then it would not bother me, but you are not and you have knowledge that I would like to ask you about. Because I doubt that you would take my questions seriously, I resent the inability to learn from you even more. So I agree that this resentment has caused me to treat you less than favorably, and for that I apologize. When we say the word, consciousness, most people think we are talking about the brain, "God", or thought. The first two, the brain and "God" are not consciousness, they are where we think consciousness comes from. I have no interest in where consciousness comes from as I see this as a political issue and a continuation of the centuries old debate of monism v dualism or Science v Religion. I don't care about the politics and will gladly leave that to a braver soul. The third word, thought, is a part of consciousness, but only a part. It was a professor of physics and philosophy that I was corresponding with, who pointed out that thought can not do anything on it's own. Thoughts in a book are just ink and paper; thoughts on a DVD are just plastic. Without a reader for the book or a player for the DVD, the thoughts have no value, no ability. So what I do is break consciousness down into it's components, and study them. How they work, how they can not work -- their possibilities and their limitations. According to my daughter, who just finished a class in psychology, he was also a bit too fond of his assistants having bedded most of them. But we are not trying to get him elected as President, so I think we can leave his personal choices out of the discussion. Freud was not brilliant; every paper that I found that talked about his mental abilities used the word "genius", and there is a difference. Brilliance is not too hard to follow; genius is often misunderstood. A lot of the work that was done, in his name, after he shared his ideas was awful. People made a mess of his theories and badly damaged the patients in their care, which of course was blamed on Freud. Please note the words that I underlined above. You are saying that his "three part model" does not fit with what we know about the brain. I agree with you. There has been a great deal of knowledge acquired since Freud tried to map the brain and match it to mind. But his understanding of mind is still valid, and an understanding of mind is very difficult to acquire, which would be what made people call him a genius. I do not study the brain. This thread is not about the brain. I study consciousness and mind, so I value Freud's input. You might say that; I wouldn't. Do you know anything about psychology? Other than behavioral psychology? The concepts do not map onto the brain; they map the reality of mind. And we've known this for decades. Actually, we are on topic . . . . finally. When I say consciousness, I am not talking about the brain. If a person tries to hook the brain to evolution, they end up with a very big problem. The brain was not yet evolved when evolution started to happen, so the brain had no input into the start of evolution. If a person decides that consciousness (the brain) was involved in evolution, they are talking about a "God" or an Intelligent Designer, because there was no other brain in existence at the start. My thought is that consciousness evolved along with species, so there was no brain or mind guiding it -- no "God" and no Intelligent Designer, just simple laws of physics and nature. Gee
  11. Consciousness and Evolution

    Tar; You are welcome. And again, I suspect that you are right. If a person can not deal with the possibility of being wrong, they really need to stay away from philosophy. (chuckle) Philosophy tries to make the unknown more known, or to discover what is true. This is never an easy straight path, and we are going to go off in the wrong direction while exploring -- it is inevitable -- so we are going to be wrong sometimes. We have to know how to deal with that and turn around, so that we can learn more and find a better path. Look how many theories there are on consciousness. Each of them has some truth and something of value, but the whole of the theory does not explain consciousness in a comprehensive manner. People have to back up and redirect their thinking. I can't even count the number of times I have been wrong on this very subject. But I have also been right a few times. You are too nice. I will never be as nice as you are, as there is a little bitch hidden down deep inside of me that sometimes pops out. Gee Area54; I thought you weren't talking to me. What happened? Well, I did a little studying on Freud, and what I found was that even his detractors agreed that Freud was a genius -- so I'm not sure that "nonsense" is the right word. One of the things, that I learned about while studying Freud, was his take on "infantile sexuality", which was one of the more unpopular of his ideas. This may be the idea that caused them to burn his books. The problem is, I think that he was right. I was actually thinking about starting a thread on the subject of infantile sexuality and my take on this idea. Wouldn't that be interesting? Since you have expressed your opinion that Freud's ideas are nonsense, and this being a Philosophy forum, you would be obliged to state your argument that supports your opinion. Of course, it is off-topic, but the idea of the Superego is not off-topic. If you would prefer, you can save your argument for the other thread that I will be starting on infantile sexuality after I have finished this one. If it isn't even wrong, then I would think that you should explain your opinion that it is "nonsense", as this "nonsense" is the topic of this thread. I don't want your apology. This is a philosophy forum. Peer reviewed journals that verify what I think are not required. Only verification of the facts are required, not my interpretation of them. That is what philosophers do -- we interpret. Some species evolve camouflage to make themselves safe from predators. (established knowledge) Other species evolve in order to access food. (established knowledge) Why would you think that this doesn't make them feel good? Gee iNow; Are you talking about Hume's Law with the "is and ought" cartoon? As far as I remember Hume's Law is about ethics or morality. I don't see how it applies in this thread. Gee
  12. Consciousness and Evolution

    Tar; Let me first state that in my opinion, dopamine is very much related to consciousness and evolution. You are correct. When a specie changes and that change makes it feel better, we call the change evolving. Examples: camouflage makes the specie feel better, safer; better ways of acquiring food makes it feel better as it satisfies hunger. If a specie changes in a way that makes it feel like shit, then it is no longer satisfying its needs and is not happy, so that would be devolving. Feeling good and evolution within species is very much related. This is not difficult to comprehend. I will admit that you do a little rambling in your posts. When I first read your posts, I found them difficult to comprehend, but then I study consciousness, so I do difficult to comprehend. What I discovered is that you have a very different perspective from mine. I tend to be very analytical in my thinking, but you tend to see things from a more personal perspective adding an experiential value to the information. I also noted that you take in the considerations as to how the information relates to societies, families, or groups, as a whole which is something that I miss, not being a very social person. So in short, I learn from you, and that is why I am here -- to learn. So if I have not said so before, I am saying so now. I appreciate the work you put into your posts and my exposure to a different perspective and viewpoint. I value your input and am glad that you choose to participate in my threads. Thank you for the things that you have taught me; I hope that you have also learned from me. I also value the fact that you seem to understand philosophy, how it works, and how to work it. Many do not. After playing in a number of different Science and Philosophy sites, I have begun to categorize these people, who do not have a clue as to how to work philosophy. I categorize them as the "jokers" and the "scab-pickers". The jokers seem to have no clue as to the topic, so they participate by making jokes, quips, sarcastic remarks, or adding videos or music that seems to have no relevance to the topic. They clutter up a thread, but usually do no serious harm. The scab-pickers are much worse and can destroy a thread. Sometimes I wonder if that is their goal, to take a thread so off-topic that nothing is ever learned or resolved. These people scan a thread, rather than reading it, to look for real or imagined "weaknesses" or "flaws", then they will expound on their discovery like a hunter coming home with a prize. They will pound over and over until the flaw or weakness is acknowledged, whether it is real or imagined. If someone is stupid enough to admit to the flaw/weakness, then the scab-pickers will simply go on to scan for another flaw/weakness. If you try to ignore the scab-picker, then they will go over and over and over the same thing. In some forums, moderators will stop this from happening, but in this forum, the moderators seem to have no understanding of how to work philosophy -- being more science oriented. So in this forum, the scab-pickers are allowed to pick, pick, pick, until no one remembers the topic, and everyone is focused on what is now the horrendous wound that is the "flaw" or "weakness". I am in no way implying that anyone in this thread is a "joker" or "scab-picker". This is strictly a hypothetical instruction to a friend, so any coincidental activities of members in this thread with my "categories" is just that -- coincidental. As far as this thread goes, I would compare most of page three to a kindergarten class where the teacher stepped out half an hour ago, and forgot to return -- out-of-control, unruly, bad mannered, and undisciplined. If there are any members in this thread, who are more science oriented, but like to play in the philosophy forum, and would like to learn how to do it, I can help. One must always bear in mind that Science spawned from Philosophy -- they are not that different. Both are disciplines. The biggest difference between them is their methodologies, which in turn limits each with what they can study. If someone came up to you and stated that they have tested a theory and know that Einstein was wrong. How would you disprove their test? You would examine the test for flaws. In philosophy we use opinion, rather than hypothesis, and argument rather than test. So if you think that someone's opinion (theory) is wrong, you would look at their argument (test) and examine it. Their argument consists of the evidence, experience, logic, and reasoning that culminates in their opinion. Likewise, if you choose to share your opinions, you would be required to present your evidence, experience, logic, and reasoning that caused your opinion. An opinion that is not already known or accepted as true information, is garbage without a valid argument. So you examine their argument for flaws. Since this thread is not about learning English, you would not examine their English for flaws. Since this thread is not about writing skills, you would not examine their writing skills for flaws. You would examine the argument that relates to the topic, Consciousness and Evolution, for flaws. Please bear in mind: Arguing is not making an argument. Criticizing is not critical thinking. Arguing and criticizing is what a bitchy spouse does. It is not philosophy. Gee
  13. Consciousness and Evolution

    Tub; Welcome to my thread. I remember you from Ten oz's thread, and you had some interesting things to say, but I don't remember if I communicated with you directly. Your points are interesting, so please consider my responses. At my present level of understanding, I would agree with you. But this agreement depends upon what you mean when you say "Consciousness". Most people mean the rational conscious aspect of mind, in which case I don't agree with you. Consciousness is simply awareness, and awareness seems to be an on/off type of thing -- either you are aware or you are not. What we can be aware of seems to be connected with the physical traits of the life form as some have the ability to sense more than others, hence they have more awareness. I think we agree here. On the other hand, if the Big Bang theory, or something like it, is true, then awareness might have evolved. I am a mechanic at heart, so I look at how things work, how they do what they do. When you look at a tree, where is the awareness that makes you aware of the tree? Is it in the tree? Is it in you? Most people think that the awareness is in us, but if that were the case, then there would be no difference between illusion and reality because it would all be within us -- there are some theories of consciousness that follow this path. My take on this is that awareness is between you and the tree, that awareness is the relationship or bond between you and the tree. So in my opinion awareness requires matter, time, and space. For awareness to occur, there must be a point to focus from, and a point to focus on, in order for awareness to happen. So matter and space must exist in order for those points to exist. So there was no awareness prior to the Big Bang or whatever caused matter to exist. This idea seems to be consistent with what we know about evolution; awareness is dependent upon matter. What I find interesting in the above is that the last two lines are a reasonably good description of the unconscious aspect of mind. The unconscious is primordial, timeless, and can overwhelm and displace self-consciousness. We have only just begun to unwrap the secrets of the unconscious aspect of mind in the last hundred or so years, but it is easy to see why older philosophies and religions attributed some of the unconscious aspects to mystic ideas. If you go to Wiki and look up the unconscious, you can learn more, but I recommend that you also look up Matte Blanco and Jung's Oneness theory. Blanco found five or six levels or stratums in the unconscious and discovered that there is a logic in the unconscious if you eliminate time from your considerations. (chuckle) His work has been validated by clinical studies and explains things like childhood traumas affecting the whole life, and things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can take your awareness out of time and space. Jung's Oneness theory suggests that we are all connected through our unconscious. I have not read the whole work, but from what I have seen, he seems to think that all species have this connection through the unconscious. I suspect that all life is connected through the unconscious. Isn't that a lot like the cake baking itself to see what it tastes like? For myself, I know that the cake is made up of ingredients, so that is where I will start when trying to make a cake. Consciousness is made up of components, things that must be in order for it to work the way it does, so that is what I am working on. Yes it is. I reviewed Panpsychism a few years ago and found it interesting. Like all theories of consciousness it has some ideas to add to the whole. But there is still no comprehensive theory of consciousness, and there are many other theories that also have validity. One of the ideas that I found interesting in Panpsychism is the thought that it might be able to answer the question of "self". We do not really know where "self" comes from, or why life has the sense of "self". If "self" is an intrinsic property of matter, Panpsychism could possibly explain this. Gee
  14. Consciousness and Evolution

    John Cuthber; You didn't check with the SEP did you? Well, it is a lot of reading, so try this: Go to Wiki and type in Id, Ego, and Superego. When you get to that page, scroll down about half way and you will see a picture of an iceberg on the right hand side. This is the representation that Freud created of the mind. It is now widely accepted as a reasonable picture of how the conscious and unconscious are divided. Freud stated that the conscious mind is like the tip of an iceberg with the vast majority of mind (the unconscious) hidden from our awareness. This is not just from psychology. A working neurologist explained to me that the unconscious is necessary as there is just too much information to process in the rational conscious mind, trying to do so would make us useless at best, or crazy at worst. It is unfortunate that the medical definition of mind that divided it into conscious and unconscious is the one that we use to describe this aspect of mind, as it makes one think that nothing is going on when we are unconscious. Nothing could be further from the truth. The unconscious aspect of mind is massive, and I personally suspect that it is even greater that Freud described. Gee Area54; Did you know that just before you wake up every time, little fairies riding on miniature pink unicorns are what start the process of your waking up? You don't know about them because you are sleeping when it happens, but you can't deny it because that would be an unwarranted assumption. Sorry, but I had to either get mad or laugh, I chose to laugh. Your logic is so illogical that it is funny. If something is known, we can discuss it; if it is not known, then it is speculation. This is real easy stuff here. Gee iNow; Yes. I will give out neg reps when someone in my thread passes out disinformation. If I think that I can argue the point or explain where the person is wrong, I will do so, but some people just do not listen to facts, and others make a joke, often sarcastically, to make their point. This can sway a reader into believing what was written, and I hate causing someone to receive bad information because I hate receiving bad information myself. So I use the neg reps to hopefully make the reader consider that what they are reading may not be true. An example would be when (paraphrased) you stated that a person in a coma would be the same as a person, who is dead -- according to me. This was a clear example of disinformation, and some people bought into it. You could have just asked. OK. Self awareness is the most advanced consciousness that we know of. Is that better? This is how I know it. (chuckle) Gee Area54; But I did not assert that humanity must be the pinnacle of consciousness. So you think that I should say "Good point" to someone who corrupts the meaning of my words, and congratulate them on their brilliant observation that their assumption and interpretation of what I wrote is wrong? Don't you think that there are enough people kissing iNow's backside? Is one more really necessary? Why don't I get the apology???? You probably don't know this, but iNow was in my thread on the Supernatural, and in my thread on Emotion, and in this thread. In all three of these threads, iNow contributed nothing of value, picked at posts that were made by me, and attempted to introduce neurology and/or studies of the brain into the threads. This is documented fact -- look them up if you want. You think this is coincidence? You think that iNow is going to cease and desist? Can you recognize a pattern? OK. Gee
  15. Consciousness and Evolution

    Area54; I hope to help you see it, but since this is a Philosophy forum, let's analyze it. Consciousness is a vast and complex subject. But do you know what I mean when I say "vast"? Let me explain: Consciousness is the subject of ALL religion; consciousness is the subject of more than half of philosophy; and consciousness is related to at least half of all sciences. It is indeed vast. Even the simplest of minds should be able to grasp the idea that any study of consciousness must be focused and disciplined, otherwise the study turns into a tangle of unrelated nonsense, and nothing is learned. So it is easy to stay on the subject of consciousness, in chemistry, regarding "God", in the Universe, and other assorted Theories of Consciousness, while completely ignoring the Original Post and the topic of Consciousness and Evolution. When you stated that "iNow broadened it to include the Universe", you were exactly right. When iNow did that the focus was changed; it was no longer a thread about Consciousness and Evolution; it was now a thread about Consciousness in the Universe. My thread is dead; no one is discussing it; I will learn nothing. iNow has this thread now and it is what iNow wants to talk about. From what I can see, iNow mostly wants to talk about what iNow thinks, and I have no interest in that. So my thread is gone and you are supporting iNow's thread. Thanks a lot. The assumption here is iNow's and the rest of it is pure speculation. Taking over a thread is bad enough, but taking it over in order to turn it into a speculations thread (garbage) is incredibly rude. The above is nothing but opinion, and that opinion is based on assumption, not fact or evidence. You have no idea of my "view". It is always nice to do your homework. Following is my quote from earlier in this thread. It is the one that iNow keeps harping about, so let us take a look at it. If you are able to break down a simple sentence in English, you will note that the underlined completes a sentence. The subject "form" (of consciousness); the verb "is" and the object "ability to be conscious of our consciousness" completes a full sentence. If you will look at the non-underlined words between the two parts of that sentence, you will find another subject "we" and verb "experience". So what we have here is a sentence within a sentence. I missed putting the coma between "is" and "what". The most advanced form of consciousness is self awareness and we, as humans, do experience it. Does it state anywhere that no other species experiences self-awareness? No. It does not. I know this because I am very aware of tests like the Mirror test that support the idea that other species are self aware. One can not spent a lifetime studying consciousness and be ignorant of these types of tests. Does it state anywhere that we are the "pinnacle" of consciousness? No it does not, as I would not be so asinine as to even imply this. It does state that self awareness is the most advanced form of consciousness; but really, if you are aware of things around you (sentience) and you are aware of your self, what else is there? The only thing I can think of is awareness of all things and all selves -- that would be "God" and I am not ready to go there. Also note the bolded words at the end, this was meant to be a "simplified" explanation and not inclusive of all explanations of consciousness. So how did iNow interpret my meaning to be that I think we are the "pinnacle" of consciousness? I don't know. iNow is intelligent enough to understand what I wrote, iNow obviously can read, so my thought was that maybe the very bad interpretation of my thoughts were caused by emotion. If you study consciousness, you will be aware that emotion can mix what you see with what you are feeling and corrupt what you learn from it. Well, I don't find it funny at all. What I did note was that iNow did not even try to answer my question in the OP or offer any pertinent information that was on topic. For that matter, neither did you. Your first post was about "snow" and your second post was about "iNow", yet you are following this thread. Why? Gee