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DrmDoc last won the day on March 26

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  1. I followed your link and reviewed the article regarding pathways of consciousness through the thalamus. The article regarded the insignificant effect of thalamic damage on arousal and wakefulness. Although the article freely uses the term consciousness, that term was primarily used as a description of arousal and wakefulness and not specifically as it relates to the precursor awareness associated with mind emergence. I agree that thalamic function is not the mediation or maintenance of arousal and wakefulness, but rather the coordination and integration of sensory information and memory associated with our behavioral responses. It's important to be clear on one's understanding, definition, and use of the term consciousness.
  2. Agreed and that's precisely my position. If we agree that evidence of mind is inferred by behaviors that suggest a thought process, then those thoughtful behaviors should be the antithesis of instinctive behaviors. Indeed, evidence of mind could be suggested by other behaviors but, in view, no behavior consistently provides the clearest evidence of mind as those that are clearly contrary to reflexive, preprogrammed behaviors. Indeed, they very definition of thoughtful behaviors could be those not "bound by instinctual constraint." As I've observed in assessing the likely evolutional path of sensory acquisition in the human brain, much of its early sensory developments appear to have been devoted to various forms of tactile perception (touch, taste, sound, etc). In ancestral animals, tactile perception likely necessitated and promoted reactive, reflexive behaviors because of the very real and immediate survival impact or threat associated with physical contact. When these animal sensory perception diversified into visual sensory, they evolved a means to assess the survival impact of their environment and experiences without the level of threat to their physical well-being posed by just tactile perception alone. The enhancement visual sensory acquisition gave ancestral animals likely allowed them to better mediate their instinctive survival responses, which infers the primal emergence of mind-the emergence of behavioral expressions not bound by instinctual constraints.
  3. I agree that having just a brain isn't sufficient to produce the quality I define as mind; however, as I have discussed, a mind is inferred in organisms by behaviors that suggest a thought process. In my view, the behaviors that most effectively suggest a thought process are those an organism engages that appear to be independent of its accessed instinctive behaviors. That distinction in brain function or similar neural functions in various speices is having a capacity to mediate its instinctive behavioral responses. We can assess when a species may have evolved such a capacity within it CNS by sensory acquistions that decrease their potential for instinctive responses. Not all structures that appear to function as a brain in some species suggest their potential to produce a mind as suggested to me by human brain structure.
  4. Just a quick comment on this bit. This continuing question of "where is mind in the brain" is difficult to answer for some because they may not have fully considered the likely path of our brain's evolution. Theories about how our brain creates mind without some basic perspective or understanding of it's functional evolution is, IMO, no more than an uneducated guess. Included in my definition of mind I said that it is quantified by a brain's capacity to integrate dichotomous sensory data with its memory stores to produce behaviors independent of instinct. While investigating the likely evolutional path of the dreaming brain, I realized from my study that our brain retains significantly clear evidence of its path of evolution--from spinal cord to neocortex. Along that path in the human brain, three significant developments had to occur: The thalamus, sensory perception diversification, and memory. Prominent among these developments was the thalamus, which I have in previous discussion referred to as our proto-brain. but is perhaps best described as our instinctive brain. For millions of years, as our central nervous system (CNS) evolved, our instinctive brain's primary sensory intake was tactile. When you evaluate the current structure of our CNS from spinal cord to thalamus, you'll get a sense of the various stages of its evolutional history from simple sensory intake to increasingly complex forms of sensory intake. For millions of years, increasingly complex forms of tactile sensory intake evolved. This is important to note because tactile sensory detection reinforces the need for the instinctive responses that evolved through thalamic function. Diversification in our brain's sensory perception evolution came with the acquistion and increasing prominence of visual perception. Visual perception was a major diversion from tactile perception because it did not require direct physical contact with ancestral animals--with visual perception, these animals had a means to evaluate their responses without the energy expenditure tactile sensory responses likely required. From that last sentence, you should get a sense of my basis for mind in brain function. Although there's much more that I haven't shared, I said this would be quick and hope this suffices for now.
  5. Perhaps, but with the direction of your natural/artificial selection argument we'd be debating the age old question of nature versus nurture--a debate that apparently won't be settled by or between us in any assigned forum.
  6. I am not a studier of evolutionary biology and I stated that the example I provided was indeed "rare". I also stated that it was "my view" of the example and clearly the researchers conclusions differ from mine. As I have stated in this discussion thread, I am seldom in agreement with author's conclusions provided in citations for various reasons. Wild animals selectively bred to be docile would likely be selected from among animals captured and held in an environment that promotes docile behaviors. What need is there for an animal to behave aggressively where such pressures do not exist? Again, "I" contend that the evidence suggest to me that the "experiences" of wild animals under domestication promotes a lineage of docile offspring. Conversely, the "rare" reversal or phenomenon associated with animals returned to the wild is indeed a result of selective pressures--the pressures of their experiences in the wild. Essentially, I am suggesting domestication is learned behavior past on to offspring with the effect of decreasing the need for aggressive behaviors among those animals--learning has the affect of influencing the brain architecture among the young of both humans and, apparently, other species.
  7. I tend to abbreviate my explanations in discussions here to make them accessible to all. I understand how natural and artificial selection affects the brain of domesticated animals. However, the science for me appears to suggest that both natural and artificial selection are essentially driven by the experiences of the animal rather than the experience/perspective of their domesticator. There is no disagreement in the science that domesticated animals have smaller brains than their counterparts in the wild. In the brains of domesticated species, the parts associated with aggression and fight/flight behaviors are significantly smaller than their versions in the wild. The theory behind this difference is that the ancestry of domesticated animals were selectively bred by humans for their non-aggressive traits. This would suggest that humans were unknowingly selecting and breeding animals with naturally smaller and smaller amygdalas. I contend that this shinkage occurred as a result of the safe and relatively stable environment of the animal rather than selective breeding between decreasingly aggressive animals--these brain changes occurred because of the animals environment (experience) rather than breeding. This perspective, in my view, is support by the rare reversal of brain volumn of domesticated animals that returned to the wild. Some might suggests that such reversal is a result of natural selection, which again to me suggest the environmental adaptations in behavior that changed the brains of these animals. The question I ask is, "Does experience influence brain architecture?" The evidence suggest that it does. The next question is, "What does this infer about the savant brain's architecture as it may relate to memory retention?" It's clear the seemingly eidetic memory of certain savants involve some permanently accessible neural pathway to selectly detailed memories. If evidence suggests experiences influence brain architecture and it also suggests the potential permenancy of that architectural influence, then the potential for access to the smallest detail of every architectural influence ever expeirenced is possible. The seemingly eidetic brain function of the savant suggest to me that potential possibility regardless of what theory may have been discredited.
  8. Through our discussion, I'm beginning to have a better understanding of memory as it may relate to the autistic savant's brain. We know that experience changes brain structure, which is supported by the differences in brain volumn we have found between domesticated animals and those that live in the wild. Animals that live in the wild, tend to have larger brain volumns because their experiences are richer and more varyed than those we've domesticated or that live in our zoos. What this suggests for the human animal is that all of our experiences are in someway imprinted in/on our brain structure. If this is true, we potentially have memory access to the smallest detail of every sensory experience we have ever encountered--which brings us back to the austistic savant's brain. The memory recall and mathematically abilities of certain celebrated savants are extraordinary. These extraordinary individuals are able to access their memories as though viewing a detail snapshot or imprint of some prior or learned experiences. The difference between our brain and those of a savant involves the permanency of their neural pathways of recall--in this way memory ins't the imprinted prior or learned experiences, but rather the permanent neural pathways of recall linked to those imprinted experiences. In pondering what I mean by permanent neural pathways of recall in the savant brain, I'm referring to some pronounced or incessant reverberant neural stimulation that those pathways must be experiencing. This appears to align with a perspective shared on this site by an austic individual who described how his overwhelming sensory experiences preclude his ability to look and listen to a person at the same time.
  9. Memory regards our ability to recall a prior or learned experience. My take on memory storage and brain waves goes back to my analogy of the well traveled path between destinations in that the path of or to a memory must be frequently traveled or stimulated to be fully recalled. Reverberant stimulation along a set neural pathway (brain waves) stengthens that path of recall to a prior or learned experience. Memory isn't the experience itself, it's the path of conscious recall within the brain to that experience. Assessing whether mind is suggested by any organism we identify regards our ability to assess whether it behaves in a way that is independent of what we have identified as its instinctive behavior. Behavior is a response to stimuli; therefore, the organism must have a both an observable or testable sensory and response system. Evidence of a mind would be produced by the organism's response systems, which we would observe as its behaviors. If any of the animal examples you've consider for the presence of mind displayed behaviors identified as non-instinctive, that animal likely has a mind--of course consideration must be given for whether the animal's non-instinctive behavior was caused by an abnormality or disease affecting its brain function.
  10. With memory, there's this generally accepted idea that the brain produces two types: Short-term working memory and long-term memory. Relative to the dreaming brain, the accepted idea is that dreaming is one way in which our brain consolidates short-term memories into long-term memory. To support this idea, copious research has revealed enhanced acuity in brain function only after it has received sufficient dreaming-level (REM) sleep--however, as I have so often discovered, the researchers conclusions are flawed, which brings us back to the neuronal nature of memory. In brief, the conclusions sleep/memory researchers have reached suggest that memory is like food stock in a refrigerator (short-term memory) that dreaming consolidates or move into freezer storage (long-term memory). This conclusion is flawed because it doesn't account for the effects of our brain's glymphatic system. Briefly, brain activity creates cell waste and the glymphatic process is how the brain cleans itself. Researchers of sleep and dreaming have not accounted for the effects of that process in their research. Sleep/memory researchers gauge the acuity effects of waking and testing sleep study participant amid the various stages of sleep. Their sleep interruption study approach impedes the brain's ability to clean itself, which occurs more efficiently during sleep. These interruptions impede the brain ability to remove obstructions between cell communication--allow our brain to complete its sleep cycles enhances the connectivity between its neurons, which enhances functional acuity. In my view, which appears to be alligned with your neuroscience citations, memory isn't analogous to moving food stock from refrigerator to freezer; memory is a well worn path between destinations that gets lost or forgotten if not traveled often and cleared of debris. How I determine whether an organism's behavior suggest it has a mind is by asking myself if that organism is behaving in way that is independent of its instinctive nature. If an organism is engaging in a behavior that does not align with what we know of its instinctive behaviors, then we may infer from the behaviors we observe that the organism has engaged a choice not to follow its instinct, which to me suggest a thought process. Indeed, behaviors that suggest a thought process infers evidence of a mind and, by my definition, a mind is quantified by a brain's capacity to merge dichotomous sensory data with its memory stores in a process that produces behaviors independent of instinct.
  11. Knowing what consciousness is and how it works depends on one's definition of consciousness. Excluding various faiths and philosophies, the science suggest to me that consciousness is merely a basic awareness suggested by an organism's observed behavioral responses to stimuli and nothing more than that. In my view, every living organism potentially has some level of consciousness, which is simply some level of sensory awareness of its environment. In my view, consciousness and mind are not synonymous--consciousness is a precursor to or prerequisite for mind. Although some ascribe consciousness with some salient or spirital quality, for me it is merely a term that identifies an organism as having a sensory system. Having a sensory system, for me, does not suggest that an organism has a mind; however, having a sensory system is essential for building the response systems essential to the construct of mind--mind is a product of our brain's response systems. For example, during dream sleep, your identity of self relative to your life and sleep environment is lost to that dreaming state. It is only when you awake from the dream state that you become fully aware of who you are relative to physical reality. This happens because our brain does not have full access to the body's sensory system amid the dream state. We regain our full sense of self when we arouse from dream sleep as our brain reconnects to the body's sensory because that connection stimulates those neural pathways our brain uses to navigate our physical/material reality--it is our connection to our body the reminds us of who we are relative to our reality when we awake. Mind and consciousness are not the same because, in my view, having mind is reserved for organisms whose behaviors suggest a thought process. Before ascribing mind to an organism that organism's should demonstrate it's ability to engage behaviors contrary to its instinctive behaviors. For example, if you heard a sudden loud bang from behind, your instinct might be to distance yourself from that noise. If instead the noise came from a person in front of you who popped a balloon, you might not react from fear because you could visually assess the balloon pop threat level--your ability to engage thoughtful behaviors contrary to your fears suggests you have a mind.
  12. If I now understand correctly, this discussion for you is broader than our separate views on the various theories about how mind originates. For you, if I understand, our discussion is also about how the evidence either supports or invalidates those theories. Although I believe there's sufficient evidence supporting a consensus for mind emergence, you believe differring interpretations of the evidence belie that consensus. Again, if I understand correctly, you perceive my perspective as aligned with mind-from-brain with body merely its vessel and sensory array. As you've offerred, your perspective is aligned with mind-from-brain and body with body as an "active participant" in memory, emotion, and cognition. In support of your position, you've offerred various citations suggesting that memory, emotion, and cognition may reside elsewhere in the body. If true, let's begin with memory. This idea of memory transference from cells, bio-matrices, or organs to the brain suggest the transference of these aspects learned experiences from the body external and subordinant to the brain. I don't readily accept evidence of any claim by the title of a paper or by the conclusions of its author. It has been my experience that all papers are in someway biased by the predisposition, objectives, and/or poor science of their authors. So when I explore claims of memory transference from aspects of the body subordinant to the brain, I'm the devil's advocate--I look for flaws and ask myself if these are sufficient to invalidate a claim. Admittedly, I have a predisposed bias to citations and rarely review them in their entirety. But I've prevoiusly read several papers on memory transference with organ transplants and have found them all insufficient for baseline evaluations of transplant recipients. I found their author's investigations should have included a thorough psychological assessment of their subject's history and suggestibility, which would explain their behaviors subsequent to the transplant. Regarding the notion of cell memory transference or "Do cells think", I agree that there is a type of memory transference between cells, but not between cellular matrices and the brain. The memory transference I speak of is described by what happens between cells to adapt to pathogens. To answer whether cells think, one must ask whether cells engage behaviors contrary to their instinctive nature--whether cell behaviors suggest a brain-equivalent thought process. Your perspective on brain-body interplay also offerred emotion and cognition as a body contribution to the mind our brain constructs. Emotion is an efferent response and exclusive domian of brain function. The emotional influence of our brain's subsystems does not describe a package (emotion) delivered to the brain, but instead describe our brain's reaction to that package--which is precisely the same with cognition. More recently, you've offerred citations suggesting the potential influence of wave forces external to the brain. It's true, wave forces such as those generated by strong magnetic fields have been shown to have a direct affect on brain function. This, perhaps, would be the only evidence of support for a wave field external to the brain that has an affect on the mind the brain creates--but this is about resphaping, adjusting or, possibly, ameliorate what's already there in the brain rather than implanting something external to the brain.
  13. It's admittedly difficult to understand your perspective of the idea of mind-through-brain, which you've offerred for our consideration and discussion. The wording of this idea suggest that the brain is merely a conduit for the mind, which is secondary to something else. I also understand the of perception of mind-from-brain as suggesting mind originates from no other factor other than the brain. I believe your counter to that perception has been the idea of mind as a partnership between brain and body. If true, I agree that mind originates from a partnerships between brain and body. However, I don't believe we agree on the nature of that partnership. Foreign Accent Syndrome is a speech disorder that can occur as a result of brain trauma. People with this disorder speak with accent perceived as not native to their own. Other than an individual with savant syndrome, there's indeed no record of spontaneous acquisition of a foreign language due to brain trauma--a tangent that required my correction. In support of the idea of mind-through-brain, you've offerred citations suggesting memory transfers through transplants. These types of citations appear to support the idea of brain being a "conduit" for memories residing in the transplanted origin. My perspective of these types of citations is that they merely reflect the brain's responses to the transplant with something already present in the mind of the transplant's recipient through that recipient's prior knowledge or life experiences. Mind-from-brain, in my view, does indeed involve a partnership between brain and body. Without body--without a means to sense and engage life experience--our brain is incapable of producing a mind. Mind is our brain's cognitive response to stimuli and there is no mind without a brain's capacity to experience stimuli--our body is our brain's vehicle for experiencing stimuli.
  14. Yes, and I have offered my perspective of the role of the body as a sensory array for engaging life experiences that basically support the metabolic/homostatic imperative of the brain and brain function. I'd perfer not to have my focus and discussions diverted by a tangent maze of multiple citations. So my focus has regarded what I believed to be the point you were trying to convey with all of your citations. When you provide citations focusing on "memory transfer and major personality changes" after transplants, it's quite clear your position isn't just about the prominent role of the body in the formation of mind. You are clearly providing support for our consideration of "mind-through-brain," which is counter to the more proven and provable position of "mind-from-brain." If you're promoting consideration of mind-through-brain evidence, that idea infers the emergence of mind or indeed a piece of mind from a location external to the brain. After considering the whole of the citations you've provided, I see that they are flawed. Firstly, self-reported and anecdotal reports or observations of memory transfers and personality changes after organ transplants are not solid science. No where in any of these types of citations have I found discussion of how prior knowledge of the donor or of the donor's lifestyle might have influenced the organ recipient's thoughts and behaviors. For example, one citation mentioned a recipient's aquired taste for beer after receiving the organ of a donor who died in a motorcycle accident. As a scientist, I'd ask, "How much did the donor recipient know about the donor before and after their transplant?" I'd ask, "What impact did that knowledge have on the psychology of the recipient?" As a scientist, there should have been a baseline assessment of the recipient's life and personality prior to receiving any knowledge of the recipient. It may be that the recipient's prior knowledge of bikers influence the psychological impact of receiving an organ from a biker. This is akin to people who experience head trauma and awaken one day speaking a different language or with a foreign accent--the inference is that the trauma these people experience unlock some unconscious store of life experience associated with that foreign language or accent. Indeed it does, like an atrophied muscle through non-use. However, this type of brain transformation doesn't fit the mind-through-brain model. Again, that idea appears to suggest that mind has to come from somewhere external to the brain--that mind has to be input to the brain before mind can be created and expressed by the brain.
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