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Consciousness and Evolution


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Area54.

You have the highest horse.

And you are missing the point.   

In a discussion such as this, the answer is not already existent.  

That is the point of the discussion.

Regards, TAR

 

Socratic method, also known as maieutics, method of elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate, is named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates. Elenchus is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions.

Area54,

 

You want Gee to give you the answer.  I want to, together, arrive at it.

TAR

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8 hours ago, Area54 said:

Many people in this thread have been frustrated by your unwillingness or inability to define which of the many definitions of consciousness you wish to use. If I have understood you correctly you believe the term may be applied to everything between the biochemical reactions of a unicellular organism, up to the self awareness of a human. In this you are supported by many philosophers and branches of philosophy, although not all would be in agreement with each other. The discussion then comes down to one of semantics.

Until you have given and continue to give precise definitions of consciousness as you are using it at that moment you will obfuscate your message rather than expound it. You have been told this multiple times  by multiple members, but instead of taking this on board you have retreated into the "I am a knowlegeable philosopher and you are Phillistines" approach. Now that, to use your own terminology,  is shit!

So, if you wish your discussion to advance I recommend that you come of your high horse, recognise the valid objections of other members and offer clarity of statement and a well defined thesis. That shouldn't be difficult for someone well versed in philosophy.

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

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11 hours ago, Gees said:

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

I agree. A lot of clarity is even better.  I have been unclear.

I do not wish, at this stage, to read your theory of consciousness. (I can see that my phrase "well defined thesis" was poorly chosen.) I simply wish you to clearly agree to, disagree with or edit the following statements:

  • Consciousness has multiple levels.
  • Tthe simplest of these levels is present in prokaryotes and is, in essence, a suite of reactions to their environments.
  • The more advanced levels, that we are aware of, are reached by creatures such as humans, cetaceans etc.
  • There are other "levels", or "phases", or "stages" between these two.
  • Different "levels", or "phases", or "stages" may be present in an organism at different times, under different conditions and at different points in its life cycle.
  • Unfortunately all these levels/phases/stages are considered by one or more authorities to be consciousness.
  • This lack of granularity causes confusion, misunderstanding, derailment of arguments, etc.

In view of the foregoing, and in particular the last point, for the love of whatever deity you choose not to believe in would you please be very specific about which consciousness you are talking about in each post, or in each part of a post. Had you done so from the outset we would all have lived happier lives over the past couple of weeks.

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Area54,

I am sorry about your unhappy weeks,  but your lack of clarity as to what is being discussed is not automatically shared by all in the discussion.  We each have separate questions and problems with various aspects of the discussion and the complexity of the interaction of these ideas is exactly why I attend these threads.  To learn something, to share insights, to figure out what must be true and what can not be true.

I would have to add, that my understanding of ideas includes a certain understanding of the MO that various posters come to the discussion exuding. (theory of mind) 

There are other, unsettled issues that we each have, other needs we have to complete a thought, or further prove a pet idea, or share a favorite insight or ability or piece of knowledge.

But, to my pet idea of dopamine being one of the mechanisms at the base of consciousness and evolution, it is important to a society, a collection of humans, a hive, a school of fish, or a giant Oak, to have some communication, and agreement between the parts.   That is, we like, as humans to get it right, to be in agreement on an idea, to hold workable, fitting ideas in our heads, of how the rest of the place is operating. That is, we feel good when we are right, correct, get the joke, solve the problem.

So dopamine must be a part of our evolution, in the sense that we needed a "reason" to live, to maintain our body/brain/heart group on a day to day basis, and to "want" to have children and see them thrive.   We have to get some pleasure out of seeing other people live, be happy, succeed, so we can make the right moves to sustain their lives, along with our own.

So mechanisms of societal consciousness, like you wanting to cut to the chase and harness the energy and ideas of the  group in a focused fashion, are mechanisms that evolved in us, and must have neural correlates.   That is, it makes you feel good, if I am a better writer and Gees gets to the point, and your summation is correct, because then we all have a workable, agreed on idea in our heads, and then can together take the next step toward understanding our world, and how to continue doing whatever it is we do, when we live as conscious humans.

It follows that things like mirror neurons, and Saxe's junction, and iNow's  brain stem base, and my dopamine,  and Freud's ego, superego and id, each play a role, in the interconnected interplay between a conscious human and her society.

We feel good when we have a good discussion

Back to a point that I think we still have the need for further discussion on.  Gee, in her OP, and later, suggested that all people did not feel consciousness was a "thing" in and of itself, in the way that life is a thing.  

These various positions one can take regarding consciousness, are not complexities to my mind, but rather the thread question.    

For instance, did human consciousness exist before the first word was spoken and understood, or did the communication define the emergence of human consciousness?

Regards, TAR

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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.

23 hours ago, Area54 said:

I agree. A lot of clarity is even better.  I have been unclear.

I do not wish, at this stage, to read your theory of consciousness. (I can see that my phrase "well defined thesis" was poorly chosen.) I simply wish you to clearly agree to, disagree with or edit the following statements:

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.

 

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Consciousness has multiple levels.

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)

 

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Tthe simplest of these levels is present in prokaryotes and is, in essence, a suite of reactions to their environments.

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.

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The more advanced levels, that we are aware of, are reached by creatures such as humans, cetaceans etc.

Yes.

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There are other "levels", or "phases", or "stages" between these two.

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)

 

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Different "levels", or "phases", or "stages" may be present in an organism at different times, under different conditions and at different points in its life cycle.

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.

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Unfortunately all these levels/phases/stages are considered by one or more authorities to be consciousness.

Yes. (chuckle)

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This lack of granularity causes confusion, misunderstanding, derailment of arguments, etc.

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.

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In view of the foregoing, and in particular the last point, for the love of whatever deity you choose not to believe in would you please be very specific about which consciousness you are talking about in each post, or in each part of a post. Had you done so from the outset we would all have lived happier lives over the past couple of weeks.

 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

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Gee',

Since we can rely neither on our own intelligence nor God's to "drive" or motivate evolution, there must be "something" about universal stuff, that promotes, or allows for patterns to repeat themselves, and workable patterns to stick around for a longer period of time, than unworkable patterns.

That is planets "want" to go around the Sun, electrons "want" to fall to a lower energy level and release a photon, water wants to run downhill and gas molecules want as much space as they can get, and thusly fill their container.

I am wondering what "wants" on a chemical, physical, basic electromagnetic level, result in life and consciousness.    How does a Redbud know to bloom in the spring?  Without God, without any human executive order, not accidentally, but purposefully, in the same manner, every spring, on every  Redbud tree, on most hillsides in certain areas of West Virginia.

Evolution must be very complex and interrelated.   Layer built on layer.  One organism, conditioning the world for the next to do its thing.   

Consciousness could not have evolved without utilizing the "wants" built into the place.  The temperature, the pressure, the chemicals present on the Earth, were requirements for whatever happened on Earth, to have happened.

Regards, TAR

The one common thread I see in all Earthbound life, is DNA.   So should we be looking at DNA to see some analogy to consciousness?   Something that DNA "wants" to do, seems to underpin the whole operation of life and consciousness.   And DNA is the primary unique species specific thing that either maintains itself or passes.  The pattern itself.

Just found this.  Am watching a fascinating TED talk (25 minutes) at the end. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/03/21/how-dna-consciousness-operate-according-to-law/

Edited by tar
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The TED talk got a little political and diverged from talking about DNA to talking about stem cell research and computer economies so it did not go where I thought it should have gone.  Still interesting in considering how our DNA is central to life and consciousness, and the thought is still related to the thread topic.

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5 hours ago, tar said:

 

I am wondering what "wants" on a chemical, physical, basic electromagnetic level, result in life and consciousness.    How does a Redbud know to bloom in the spring?  Without God, without any human executive order, not accidentally, but purposefully, in the same manner, every spring, on every  Redbud tree, on most hillsides in certain areas of West Virginia.

Evolution must be very complex and interrelated.   Layer built on layer.  One organism, conditioning the world for the next to do its thing.   

 

This is incredibly simple! We just can't see it because we don't think "right" because we use symbolic language. 

Things want to live and consciousness is the means to do it. 

Evolution is simple as well but plays out in a very complex world that is always changing and eradicating "wrong" behavior". 

 

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Tar;

12 hours ago, tar said:

Gee',

Since we can rely neither on our own intelligence nor God's to "drive" or motivate evolution, there must be "something" about universal stuff, that promotes, or allows for patterns to repeat themselves, and workable patterns to stick around for a longer period of time, than unworkable patterns.

Yes. Pattern recognition is important in philosophy, and a repetition of patterns is a sign that something is true.

I remember taking the children to a Science Institute years ago. There was a picture of some part of space, maybe a galaxy, that was taken with a high powered telescope, and there was a picture of some matter, maybe cells, that was taken with a high powered microscope. The pictures looked the same. Nature repeats what works.

 

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That is planets "want" to go around the Sun, electrons "want" to fall to a lower energy level and release a photon, water wants to run downhill and gas molecules want as much space as they can get, and thusly fill their container.

Yes. When we define what a word is (want), we also define what it isn't. By setting parameters around the word we limit it. Cladking could probably explain this, but hopefully would give a brief explanation. Unfortunately, we have defined 'want' to be something that is consciously wanted, so it looks like you are saying that planets and electrons are conscious -- this is not necessarily true. 

If you show a child some magnets, the child will say that the magnets 'want' to be together, then flipping one around, the child will say they 'want' to be apart. The child is anthropomorphizing the magnets, giving them a human consciousness, in order to understand the 'want'. This is really just attraction and repulsion, which like want, are just forces and motion between things.

 

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I am wondering what "wants" on a chemical, physical, basic electromagnetic level, result in life and consciousness.    How does a Redbud know to bloom in the spring?  Without God, without any human executive order, not accidentally, but purposefully, in the same manner, every spring, on every  Redbud tree, on most hillsides in certain areas of West Virginia.

Evolution must be very complex and interrelated.   Layer built on layer.  One organism, conditioning the world for the next to do its thing.   

 

Yes, complex and interrelated, but not a straight path. This is one of the bigger problems that I have with the "God" idea or the Intelligent Designer theory. Why start with a human-like mind, then reduce it to microbes, then let it develop into dinosaurs, then wipe out most life, then rebuild it to humans? This makes no sense and looks nothing like a plan -- but neither is it random. I suspect that evolution is reactionary, and when the reaction is successful, it is repeated. This repetition then appears to be purposeful, although I doubt that it was originally "designed" to be purposeful. It is the nature of Nature to be assertive; to assert itself into an available void, so when I translate this into ideas of consciousness, I find that it is the nature of Nature to learn.

Yes, if it is reactionary, it would also be interrelated. It is also the nature of Nature to self-balance, as we have learned while studying ecosystems. So any lack of balance would tempt Nature to try to fill the void and rebalance itself, which is where the reaction comes from.

 

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Consciousness could not have evolved without utilizing the "wants" built into the place.  The temperature, the pressure, the chemicals present on the Earth, were requirements for whatever happened on Earth, to have happened.

Regards, TAR

 

Agreed. My studies indicate that temperature and density affect consciousness, and water seriously changes up the rules. This information came mostly from studies of ecosystems where temperature, mountains, lakes, rivers, and oceans limit the interrelated self-balancing of Nature. It is also why island life is so interesting because it can evolve in totally unique ways because of the water that surrounds it and isolates it from many influences. There are also electro-magnetic fields, and probably other things, that influence consciousness.

 

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The one common thread I see in all Earthbound life, is DNA.   So should we be looking at DNA to see some analogy to consciousness?   Something that DNA "wants" to do, seems to underpin the whole operation of life and consciousness.   And DNA is the primary unique species specific thing that either maintains itself or passes.  The pattern itself.

Just found this.  Am watching a fascinating TED talk (25 minutes) at the end. http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/03/21/how-dna-consciousness-operate-according-to-law/

 

I have no idea not being a scientist. I don't know much about DNA, but am wondering if it is Nature's memory bank.

Gee

 

Cladking;

It is good to hear from you again. Welcome to what appears to now be my thread. (chuckle)

Gee

 

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Gees,

Was reading a little on DNA.  I know you are not interested in the inner workings of the DNA process, but I think within the "magic" of DNA, there are some basic ideas or principles or universal wants, needs, proclivities, or possibilities, that when put together in the right order and orientation, can cause complex entities to emerge and persist.

Particularly I am thinking of the copying process. The double helix gets unzipped by some chemical and this creates a replication site, like a Y where the phosphate-sugar backbone is split leaving open binding spots on each side of the now split ladder.  A binds with T and C binds with G  so everywhere a G is hanging out unbound a free G floating around jumps on board and vice versa, and when a A is open a T binds and when  a  T is open an A binds, the phosphate-sugar backbone seals along and you wind up, when the whole chain is unzipped and matched, with two of a pattern that before was only one.   The exact process we are talking about, in terms of maintaining and passing on one's pattern.

It makes a certain amount of sense to further consider that if this arrangement, this particular order of pairs would result in being able to produce or copy certain proteins that would help the collection exist longer in the world, by means of somehow gathering or marshalling more building blocks...then that particular arrangement would survive and other arrangements might not.  Of course, since there is no plan, or foreknowledge of what arrangement is the best, it is always a matter of, if something about the arrangement allows it to continue, then the whole chain will be copied and survive, whether or not it has coding or non coding segments, or areas that don't on their own "work" with any purpose.   The thing itself is not conscious of its purpose, but the fact that it works, allows it to survive.  It fits, because its existence came about because it fits.    Seems like a non explanation and some sort of double talk, but I think it goes to what the self is, and it goes to what survival is, and it lays the ground work for self awareness to evolve.

Regards, TAR

 

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Tar;

It is not that I am uninterested in DNA, it is that I am almost clueless about it. One person can not know everything, and early in my life I realized that I am a philosopher, not a scientist, so I chose to study life and consciousness in a different way. This does not stop me from respecting and appreciating science and is the reason why I am in this forum. I need science to support and confirm my thoughts on consciousness, or to dispute them and show me where I am wrong so that I can adjust my thinking on this matter.

You, and  hopefully a few others, can help me in this, but only if there is understanding between us. The biggest problem that I have faced in this forum is people's belief that consciousness is either something produced by the brain or that it is "God", instead of considering what consciousness actually is. To that end, I think that it is time for me to explain a little more of my understanding regarding consciousness. Please consider the following:

Many years ago I was reading a thread where someone mentioned "pure consciousness". At that time, my thoughts were that when someone says,  "pure consciousness", they are talking about an ideal, or the "God" idea where "God" is pure and humans taint the consciousness, referring to sin and morality and whatever. I dismissed the idea, but kept the notion that consciousness may not be pure, not one singular thing. It occurred to me that there are different levels of consciousness, but there are also different kinds. For example: If I lay on the floor dying, my dog would whimper, but my cat would be more likely to look for any part of me that might twitch. Cats and dogs theoretically have the same or a similar level of consciousness, but they are often conscious of, or aware of, entirely different things. A lot of this can be explained by their different bodies, brains, and chemistry, but can these physical differences change consciousness so much if consciousness is one singular thing?

To that end, I went to a philosophy forum, a real philosophy forum,  and started a thread entitled, "Pure Consciousness?". I worked with others considering their suggestions and objections for about 30 pages and came to some conclusions. The core components of consciousness are thought and awareness, which can be expanded into; thought, knowledge, memory, awareness, feeling (not tactile) and emotion, and that these components can be divided into two divisions of what we call consciousness. There are more things to consider, of course, like bonding, focus, recognition, familiarity, self, intelligence, learning, and many other ideas, but I think that these things all relate to the core components, rather than being the core components.

The divisions came from noting similarities and the way the components work -- what they do.  The first division is made up of thought, knowledge and memory. Thought and knowledge are similar, but not the same, as knowledge is true and comes from reality and/or experience, whereas thought is more flexible and can be anything from true to fantasy. Memory is the storage of thought or knowledge. These components of the first division are internal, private, and known only to the life that possesses them -- I can not know your thoughts, knowledge, memories, unless you tell me, and vise-versa. It is my opinion that this is true for all life. Another attribute of this first division is that it is static, it can not move or activate on it's own. As a Professor explained to me, a book without a reader or a DVD without a player are just paper, ink, and plastic.

The second division is made up of awareness, feeling and emotion. Feeling is a word that has many meanings, but for this understanding it can be identified with awareness, as in when you walk into a room and react to the atmosphere, or feel someone watching you, and it can be identified with emotion as a more subtle emotion like moods. These components of the second division are not private or internal, they are shared and work between things, which makes them predominantly external. Anyone who pays attention can see that you are awake and aware, can sense your mood, and can note your emotional state -- unless you specifically work to hide these things. I suspect this is also true for all life. Another attribute of this second division is that it is fluid, it works and moves between things and bonds them. It is experienced, but not known, in that we do not know awareness, we just know what we are aware of; we do not know feeling, we just know how we feel about something (this does not include tactile feeling), we do not know emotion, we just know the ideas that we attach to that emotion.

This second division is experienced not known, but is often interpreted. One example would be body language. We can interpret other people's moods, how they are feeling, and even their self image by studying their body and movements. We can also interpret feeling in other species, like a cat's fur ruffling, a dog's aggressive stance, or a horse rearing up on it's hind legs. It is also interesting to note that interpretation of body language seems to be inter and intra specie, like an angry man raising his fists in the air, like a bear will do, or my cat will do, or a tarantula will do, an ant will do, and what most mammals and insects will do. Birds are more likely to flutter their wings. So I suspect that this second division was the first actual communication after sensing (awareness) and before the development of language. This communication is also why we will tell people that they are "sending mixed signals" because their body language is saying something different than their words. It is interesting to note that we will usually believe the body language.

Another way that we interpret the second division is through art. We use everything from poetry to sculpture and design to dance and music to convey emotion. Why? Because although if I very carefully describe a table to you, you can picture it; if I explain a math problem, you can understand it the same way that I do, but if I describe my feelings, you can only relate them to your own experiences. You can not actually know what I feel, you can only get an approximation, if you have similar experiences. This is because awareness, feeling, and emotion are not actually known. What we think we know about them are just the ideas, pictures, and memories that we attach to them.

Once you get a handle on this understanding, it becomes clear that all life, at least on this planet, is interrelated. Science may call this relationship pheromones and New Agers may call it spirituality, but it is all the second division of consciousness. Does this have bearing on evolution? I think so. Maybe I can explain how I think that works in my next post, now that my understanding of consciousness is posted.

One other point. When I was working all of this out in the other forum, I met the author of "Digital Universe, Analog Soul", and he thought that my divisions related to his ideas. He actually asked to borrow some of my ideas, which is fine with me, as I have no desire to become rich and famous while trying to prove that I am right. (chuckle) If I am right. (chuckle chuckle) But early in this thread, EdEarl also mentioned digital and analog in relation to consciousness. I wanted to address his post, but the thread went ski-haw. I know diddly squat about digital and analog, so if EdEarl or someone else sees a connection between that and my divisions, and can explain it to me in very small words, I would appreciate it.

Gee

 

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Gee,

I think the first level of thought, knowledge and memory, and the second level of awareness, feeling and emotion could be considered, in terms of evolution,  as evolving together.

That is, for purposes of tying the ideas to Freud's,  and together with the actual physical neural correlates, I would say information, and where it is, would have to be traced and kept figuratively in mind, to see what aspects of each level have to coexist, and therefore probably emerge or evolve in some sort of lockstep or reciprocal fashion.  Specifically I use the analogy of inside and outside, in terms of where the information is.  When the form or pattern exists in the waking world in terms of being the moon or a tree or another human or a neural correlate that science can study, witness, record, test, measure and investigate  then this is outside, objective reality.   The thing we sense in the first place.

Then, when it is internalized, through the senses,  and perceived, and stored in the pathways of the brain, it becomes an internal analogy, and has to be now the "illusion" that Bennett talks about, or the shadow that Plato refers to in the allegory of the cave.

So the thoughts we have are of the objective world, but they themselves are shadows on the wall, so confusion comes when we talk of the tree, as to whether we are talking of the tree or we are talking about and saying something about the shadow.  Then the knowledge runs into the same literal/figurative identification issue when we talk of the stars.  Are we talking about what we see, or what we "know" must be there, out in space. "Is" the   star shining in our sky now or is it shining in a manner we will not see for 3 years or 10,000 years depending on its distance?  And the memory, is of, as you say, not only the thought, but the external object you sensed.    These things, in the first level I think are probably binary in the sense that we think in opposites, up and down, left and right, back and forward, and we increment our grain size in discrete lumps.   Like in powers of ten for instance.   We count in whole numbers.

But to get to this binary first level, we need first the analogue input.  We might have a particular amount of pixels with which to work in terms of the cones at the back of our eye, but we can move our eye and use the analog level of chemical activation coming off a particular cone, in conjunction with that coming off a neighbor, together with the impression we get as our eyes scan, together with memories of, and expectation, and pattern completion and other activities in the brain, to form a coherent image of the world that corresponds to the input from all our senses, AND with our memory and knowledge and thoughts.   These things are all accomplished using the awareness, the emotion the feeling, that we are calling the second level.  This level could be considered the analog level, for two reasons.   One, the various chemicals involved in the motivation, activation, pleasure system causing our awareness of and interaction with the world,  cascade and operate in a nonbinary,  accumulating fashion, and two, what we internalize is an analog of the actual world, which is arguably smooth like a sinewave, and not made up of square waves.

Regards, TAR

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On 20/09/2017 at 4:42 AM, Gees said:

Yes. Pattern recognition is important in philosophy, and a repetition of patterns is a sign that something is true.

 

More commonly known as confirmation bias and so no more important to philosophy than verbosity is to understanding.

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4 hours ago, dimreepr said:

More commonly known as confirmation bias and so no more important to philosophy than verbosity is to understanding.

All is confirmation bias but we don't see it because we preferentially see what agrees with our beliefs and models.  

The brain does what it does because that's what the brain does with the programming we have.  One person experiences "feelings" (probably originating in the amygdala), and another dredges up the id, ego, and superego from the darkest recesses of the cerebral cortex.   We then become our beliefs.  

We create a model of reality in our minds but much of it isn't real at all, or more commonly, is only real from the individual's unique perspective.  We are each looking at the results of the programming and are unable to see or study the program itself.  We delude ourselves into believing we each share a reality when obviously we each have a unique reality. 

Rather than change leading to a shared reality all the forces are leading to a further splintering (splittering?) of the perception of reality.  Certainly scientific modeling appears to be converging on a point but this point is probably inaccessible and current understanding is too far removed from reality to be considered. 

 

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Tar;

 

8 hours ago, tar said:

Gee,

I think the first level of thought, knowledge and memory, and the second level of awareness, feeling and emotion could be considered, in terms of evolution,  as evolving together.

Use the word, division, because talking about levels confuses the matter with levels of awareness as previously discussed. Even species with the lowest level of consciousness, bacteria, have knowledge and feeling so they have both divisions, which apply to all consciousness, or all conscious life. Division is a better word, I think, because we are dividing consciousness into information, the first division, and how the information is acquired, the force or motion that causes the acquisition, the second division. So in life it could be said that the divisions evolved together.

I am  not as sure about the components, themselves, as having evolved together. People generally think of thought as information that is processed, so a brain or processor is required before that component evolves. Awareness, according to science, requires focus, and focus requires a point to focus from and a point to focus on, so it would require matter, time, and space. There are a lot of indications that awareness is dependent upon matter.

I used to think of emotion as just being a faster moving awareness, but there are some indications that emotion may not require time and space. There is also some good evidence that emotion can affect matter, so I think that it may be different in some fundamental way. Still a force, yes, but a different kind of force. I have seen nothing that indicates that awareness can on it's own affect matter.

 

Quote

That is, for purposes of tying the ideas to Freud's,  and together with the actual physical neural correlates, I would say information, and where it is, would have to be traced and kept figuratively in mind, to see what aspects of each level have to coexist, and therefore probably emerge or evolve in some sort of lockstep or reciprocal fashion.  Specifically I use the analogy of inside and outside, in terms of where the information is.  When the form or pattern exists in the waking world in terms of being the moon or a tree or another human or a neural correlate that science can study, witness, record, test, measure and investigate  then this is outside, objective reality.   The thing we sense in the first place.

 We assume that the mind is within the brain, but that is an assumption. We don't know what mind is, and we can not even prove that it exists, except for our own personal belief in our own individual minds. Mind is a lot like a show on a television; a television is more like a brain. The television controls the show and can change it, take it out of focus, pervert the color, remove the sound, and completely control what we view. But is the show actually in the television? All I am doing is trying to track down where the show comes from, and who or what is the producer. Many people think the producer is "God"; I think that it is Nature. If I am right, then there are rules that Nature uses to produce the show. 

If I were to take a guess regarding Freud's divisions of mind, I would guess that the Ego, the rational aspect of mind, is directly connected to the brain and senses, because it deals with physical reality. I would guess that the Id, our drives and instincts, are hard wired through chemistry, because different species have different instincts and drives. I would guess that the Superego, the unconscious aspect of mind, is called "super" because it connects all aspects of mind and also connects to other life, specifically life that it is bonded to. This aspect is activated through emotion, we know that emotion does all of the bonding in life, and this aspect seems to ignore time -- as emotion does. Lots of coincidence here.

A female dog goes into heat, her body releases pheromones, a male dog senses the pheromones and responds. So where was the information, within them or between them? If it was within them, then why are pheromones necessary -- why do they exist? An oak tree is attacked by some pestilence, the oak releases pheromones, other oak trees respond by building up resistance to an attack. Where was the information? Why didn't the asp, the pine, and the maple get the information? Whether we like it or not, the reality is that consciousness/communication works between life -- science is proving it. Every multi-celled life form possesses hormones; all species that possess hormones also possess pheromones. The communication that goes on in every ecosystem would be deafening if we could hear it.

 

Quote

Then, when it is internalized, through the senses,  and perceived, and stored in the pathways of the brain, it becomes an internal analogy, and has to be now the "illusion" that Bennett talks about, or the shadow that Plato refers to in the allegory of the cave.

Ah, but Plato said "shadow", not illusion. A shadow is caused by something that is real, and Plato understood that. To compare that to Dennett's nonsense is exactly that -- nonsense. Yes, his name is Dennett, not Bennett.

I thought that Dennett's theory was some kind of technologically enhanced form of solipsism because it dealt with illusion, no "God", and an objectification of other species. I was wrong. To be fair, and because I know that I can be wrong, I did some research on his ideas last weekend. His theory is much worse than I thought could be possible. He thinks that "qualia" is "incoherent" and therefore not acceptable as real. He thinks that "self" is just an illusion, that there really is no "self". The problem with this is that my subjectivity is based on the idea of my "self" and qualia, or what it is like to experience being me. So he does not think that subjectivity is valid either, and supposes that studies of "self" should be conducted third-person -- which I suppose means that the "third-person" is not a subject and has no subjectivity. (chuckle)

He had no problem with objectivity, as far as I can see, but that is problematic. What is objectivity? Well, that is a consensus of subjective opinions. So if there is no subjectivity, can there be objectivity? Well, no.

But there are still facts, yes? Not really. Facts are based on truths that were set down thousands of years ago, and are much like objective truths. Since truth is subjective, then there would be no truths and no facts. So if one removes subjectivity, they also remove objectivity, truth, and fact. It is no wonder that philosophers called his book "Consciousness Denied" or "Consciousness Explained Away". They were being kind or generous. I would call his book nonsense, and would like to suggest that he go back and take a beginning class in philosophy, logic, or critical thinking. The only illusion is Dennett's.

 

Quote

 

So the thoughts we have are of the objective world, but they themselves are shadows on the wall, so confusion comes when we talk of the tree, as to whether we are talking of the tree or we are talking about and saying something about the shadow.  Then the knowledge runs into the same literal/figurative identification issue when we talk of the stars.  Are we talking about what we see, or what we "know" must be there, out in space. "Is" the   star shining in our sky now or is it shining in a manner we will not see for 3 years or 10,000 years depending on its distance?  And the memory, is of, as you say, not only the thought, but the external object you sensed.    These things, in the first level I think are probably binary in the sense that we think in opposites, up and down, left and right, back and forward, and we increment our grain size in discrete lumps.   Like in powers of ten for instance.   We count in whole numbers.

But to get to this binary first level, we need first the analogue input.  We might have a particular amount of pixels with which to work in terms of the cones at the back of our eye, but we can move our eye and use the analog level of chemical activation coming off a particular cone, in conjunction with that coming off a neighbor, together with the impression we get as our eyes scan, together with memories of, and expectation, and pattern completion and other activities in the brain, to form a coherent image of the world that corresponds to the input from all our senses, AND with our memory and knowledge and thoughts.   These things are all accomplished using the awareness, the emotion the feeling, that we are calling the second level.  This level could be considered the analog level, for two reasons.   One, the various chemicals involved in the motivation, activation, pleasure system causing our awareness of and interaction with the world,  cascade and operate in a nonbinary,  accumulating fashion, and two, what we internalize is an analog of the actual world, which is arguably smooth like a sinewave, and not made up of square waves.

Regards, TAR

 

I still don't have a clue about analog as it relates to consciousness. Do you remember how difficult it was for you to get me to understand entropy? You finally did it when no one else could, not even that physics professor. Analog is another one of those terms that simply will not go into my head after that last major attack of MS. But I have faith in you. Try to keep the explanation very simple.

Gee

 

Dimreepr;

This is what I stated:

Quote

Yes. Pattern recognition is important in philosophy, and a repetition of patterns is a sign that something is true.

This is how you responded:

8 hours ago, dimreepr said:

More commonly known as confirmation bias and so no more important to philosophy than verbosity is to understanding.

Apparently something that I stated made you think of "confirmation bias". Not sure what it was.

Was it pattern recognition? I know that some people see patterns in everything, so we have to watch out for that; on the other hand, pattern recognition is a major part of every IQ test that I have ever taken or seen, so it does have some value and can indicate and measure intelligence.

Maybe it is the repetition of patterns that bothers you. Does science make you do your experiments over and over and over, which is exhausting?

Or maybe you think that philosophers do not care about what is true? Or maybe you think I don't care about what is true, as your lack of respect for me is not something that I could have missed if I were blind.

Or maybe you just wanted to teach me about confirmation bias, yours toward me. If so that was brilliantly done. 

My thought is that if you actually had an argument against the points in my post, you would have made it.

Gee

 

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Gees,

Thank you for nicely correcting my wrong spelling of Dennett.  Others with confirmation bias would have pointed it out as an indicator of my idiocy.

I am glad you operate under the joke advice I used to give people I was helping on a technical hotline I manned.  "Listen to what I mean, not what I say!"

Also, thank you for that last post's ideas.  It made me think of a number of things on several levels that I want to comment on...but today the weather is nice and I am working on an outside project that requires painting and such and the times for this are numbered as we are getting into fall in NJ and I should go out, rather than be typing here.

But on the analog, digital thing, just think of the old analog clock with a sweep second hand.  It did not "tick" and go from one second mark to the next, all at once.  The second hand existed in every spot between the two marks, in a smooth proportion fashion.   In a digital world it is either 12:00:59 or 12:01:00.  In an analog world there are an infinite amount of "times" between the two marks, not limited by the amount of digits you have to express the tininess of the increments.

Regards, TAR

(Dennett is interested in expressing the world in terms of ones and zeroes, on an off, so that we can make a conscious machine by breaking down a conscious human into a Turing machine, reproducing that machine with wires and silicon, and coming up with consciousness.)  Not likely, in my mind to work, in an analog world where all the times between the second marks are used.

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25 minutes ago, tar said:

Dennett is interested in expressing the world in terms of ones and zeroes, on an off,

You state this with such certainty, yet acknowledged yourself as being wholly unfamiliar with his work. The mind continues to boggle...

9 hours ago, Gees said:

there are some indications that emotion may not require time and space

Citation needed

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10 hours ago, Gees said:

 

10 hours ago, Gees said:

Apparently something that I stated made you think of "confirmation bias". Not sure what it was.

Was it pattern recognition? 

 

Of course, your unqualified statement has nothing to do with philosophy or science...

 

 

10 hours ago, Gees said:

pattern recognition is a major part of every IQ test that I have ever taken or seen, so it does have some value and can indicate and measure intelligence.

It also has nothing to do with either science or philosophy...

 

10 hours ago, Gees said:

My thought is that if you actually had an argument against the points in my post, you would have made it.

What makes you think I haven't?

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On 19/09/2017 at 11:34 AM, Gees said:

Area54;

I apologize for taking so long to get back to you.

Not, I think, as long as I took to get back to you. More things happen outside the forum than inside it. No apolgies are required.

But I have not yet introduced anyone to my thoughts on the connection between consciousness and evolution

And yet you made a couple of statements regarding evolution that were, demonstrably, in serious error, reflecting a fundamental misunderstanding.

Gees: If consciousness is not necessary for evolution, can you give me an example of a life form that evolved without consciousness?

I answer with a quesion: in what way was the evolution of lactose tolerance in adult humans dependent upon consciousness?

Gees: Feeling good and evolution within species is very much related.

so taking time to review what has been stated has more value to me than throwing out a lot of disjointed ideas.

And to me, which is why I took you to task earlier, for throwing out disjointed ideas. My objections, and those of other members, seem to have had a positive effect in that your most recent posts are coherent and unambiguous.

Yes. This [the diversity of types of consciousness] 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 well and good, but it took a great deal of effort to get you to make that as a clear, unambiguous statement. In an early post you made the necessary distinctions, but then, for the greater part of the thread, you (and perhaps some others) used consciousness repeatedly without specifying which type you were talking about at that point. To say this frustrated me is like saying the Pope may be Catholic. I do not wish to revisit this yet again. You are now being clear. As the recipient of your prior communication I can assure you that you were not previously being clear. We now have a foundation on which to move forward. Let's do so.

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)

Good. I don't think anyone was disputing this, but for a time it seemed that you were.

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.

There is a school of thought that would say that mere chemical reactions continue all the way up to humans; that a bacteria is a biomehcanical machine and so are humans. If this distinction is important to your thesis it will require more discussion. As far as I am concerned the jury is still out (and sitting in a jury room several light centuries away, so that we can forget about receiving news of any early verdict).

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.

Some biologists consider viruses to be alive. I consider argument over the point to be unimportant. There are almost as many definitions of life as there are biologists. There is a range of complexity going from non-life to life. Molecules such as amino acids lie close to one end, prions a short distance along, viruses slightly further. We can debate and agree their relative positions, but to fight over where we put up the big Life/non-Life customs barrier is, in my view, a waste of time.

Life will also adapt, and if it cannot adapt, it will die.

  I should prefer, Populations will also adapt and if they cannot adapt they will become extinct.

This adapting can also result in evolution, which would be why we are told that the first life on earth was microbial.

No. That is a bizarre non-sequitur. We are told the first life on Earth was microbial because that is consistent with palaeontoloigcal observation. Perhaps what you meant to say was something like "Evolution has led to increasing complexity. If we reverse that complexity it implies that early life was single celled and simple."

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5 hours ago, iNow said:

You state this with such certainty, yet acknowledged yourself as being wholly unfamiliar with his work. The mind continues to boggle...

Citation needed

iNow,

 

Am I characterizing his belief in AI and his reliance on computers ability to simulate completely what the human does, in the way of consciousness, incorrectly?

I have not read all of Kant's works.  I have not even finished Critique of Pure Reason, but that does not make me unable to comment on what of his work I have read, and think about the implications of what he has said, that I have heard.

Between saying I was not as familiar with Dennett as you were, you having seen him speak and having read some of his works, I watched a talk

on the internet and got some idea of how he thinks, what he is trying to say, and how he goes about saying it.

My impression, built around our argument about illusion, was that he thinks there is a better way to be conscious than the way we do it, as humans. Like perhaps we are being fooled, and there is a way to understand reality directly, without being thusly fooled.

I am not asking here whether I understand Dennett's whole worldview.  What I am asking is do you agree with someone (maybe Dennett) that believes the human consciousness that we are talking about on this thread, is faulty.   Or do you believe as I do, that it is excellent?

 

Regards, TAR

 

 

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iNow,

I suppose you are referring again to the non-existent super conscious races in other star systems, that we will never talk to, or the whales and octopi who have a different way of paying attention to and utilizing the environment?

Who or what has more or better human consciousness than a human.   And the fact that I was just outside and saw a nice sky and beautiful trees and a wife, that were all actually there, sharp, in focus and coherent, I would say however I am doing it, is very very workable.   And since you do it in an approximate manner, and it works for you too, I would say that is absolute proof of its value and utility.   You have absolutely nothing better to offer in the way of consciousness, so there is no arrogance involved.  It is not the same as saying my race is better than another race, that would be arrogant.   But to say my species is the best is not arrogant, it is simple evident.  No animal is better at being a human than a human.  No machine is better at being a human than a human.

You think, perhaps that consciousness can be created in a machine?   Are you arrogant enough to think you can create life, as well?

I wish you would explain what it is you think I am ignoring, or ignorant of,  concerning human consciousness,

and I wish you would explain exactly who you think I am putting down, to consider human consciousness excellent.

Regards, TAR

 

Edited by tar
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I didn't say it was unworkable. I said it was both arrogant and ignorant to assume there's no better way. 

26 minutes ago, tar said:

But to say my species is the best is not arrogant, it is simple evident. 

Oh, the irony

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iNow,

 

From what stance, are you making this claim that I should be humble?  

Who or what is it I should bow down to, in your mind?

You have nothing but guesses as to a higher life form.

 

Even if you and dimreepr and Dennett can imagine a purer or more capable consciousness, that does not make such a consciousness exist.  Nor are there any better judges of the situation, than humans, to point to, to prove me wrong and you right.   We only have humans to ask.  Only have humans to care.  Only have humans to judge. 

Even some wonderful computer program that simulated everything a human can do, and do everything faster and more error free than a human, would be written by....guess who...a human.

 

Regards, TAR

 

 

 

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