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What are the conditions required for a body of matter to be conscious? Watch

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    (Original post by Hypocrism)
    You sound like a hippy idiot. "one divine intelligence"? "common spiritual bond"? Get out of your ass!
    There's no need to be rude and condescending.

    Incidentally, there's a guy called Christopher Langan with a verified IQ of 200+ who proposes very similar ideas to those which you so readily dismiss in his 'Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe'. The following is an extract from his website ctmu . org:


    "there are multiple levels of consciousness. Human temporal consciousness is the level with which we're familiar; global (parallel) consciousness is that of the universe as a whole. The soul is the connection between the two...the embedment of the former in the latter. When a human being dies, his entire history remains embedded in the timeless level of consciousness...the Deic level. In that sense, he or she is preserved by virtue of his or her "soul". And since the universe is a self-refining entity, that which is teleologically valid in the informational construct called "you" may be locally re-injected or redistributed in spacetime."

    He's a "hippy idiot" too I suppose?
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    (Original post by hungergeist)
    "there are multiple levels of consciousness. Human temporal consciousness is the level with which we're familiar; global (parallel) consciousness is that of the universe as a whole. The soul is the connection between the two...the embedment of the former in the latter. When a human being dies, his entire history remains embedded in the timeless level of consciousness...the Deic level. In that sense, he or she is preserved by virtue of his or her "soul". And since the universe is a self-refining entity, that which is teleologically valid in the informational construct called "you" may be locally re-injected or redistributed in spacetime."
    It sounds like a twisted form of the principle of conservation of information…
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    (Original post by hungergeist)
    Incidentally, there's a guy called Christopher Langan with a verified IQ of 200+ who proposes very similar ideas to those which you so readily dismiss in his 'Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe'.
    He believes in intelligent design, so he can't be all that bright.

    I'm told that Mensa's IQ scores are capped at 161 (162?) so I'd also question how his IQ was verified.
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    (Original post by Pastaferian)
    He believes in intelligent design, so he can't be all that bright.
    That's somewhat of a red-herring. In any case, what Langan believes is certainly not conventional intelligent design. He essentially proposes that the universe is self creating and what he refers to as "God" is, in fact, the universe itself. This passage from his website sums up his theological position quite well:

    "The universe timelessly emerges from a background of logically unquantified potential to which the concepts of space and time simply do not apply. Within a realm of unbound potential, everything is possible, and this implies that "everything exists" in the sense of possibility. Some possibilities are self-inconsistent and therefore ontological dead ends; they extinguish themselves in the very attempt to emerge into actuality. But other possibilities are self-consistent and potentially self-configuring by internally defined evolutionary processes. That is, they predicate their own emergence according to their own internal logics, providing their own means and answering their own "hows". These possibilities, which are completely self-contained not only with respect to how, what, and when, but why, have a common structure called SCSPL (Self-Configuring Self-Processing Language). An SCSPL answers its own "why?" question with something called teleology; where SCSPL is "God" to whatever exists within it, teleology amounts to the "Will of God".

    (Original post by Pastaferian)
    I'm told that Mensa's IQ scores are capped at 161 (162?) so I'd also question how his IQ was verified.
    Mensa is just one of many high IQ societies, they are not the sole arbiter of validating IQ scores. There are various tests such as the Titan test and the Mega test that claim to be able to verify IQs of 200+. Regardless it has been well documented that Langan's IQ has been verified, as a quick Google search will reveal.
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    (Original post by hungergeist)
    There's no need to be rude and condescending.

    Incidentally, there's a guy called Christopher Langan with a verified IQ of 200+ who proposes very similar ideas to those which you so readily dismiss in his 'Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe'. The following is an extract from his website ctmu . org:


    "there are multiple levels of consciousness. Human temporal consciousness is the level with which we're familiar; global (parallel) consciousness is that of the universe as a whole. The soul is the connection between the two...the embedment of the former in the latter. When a human being dies, his entire history remains embedded in the timeless level of consciousness...the Deic level. In that sense, he or she is preserved by virtue of his or her "soul". And since the universe is a self-refining entity, that which is teleologically valid in the informational construct called "you" may be locally re-injected or redistributed in spacetime."

    He's a "hippy idiot" too I suppose?
    IQ is a fail of a measure of determining intelligence. Do you really think finding patterns in sets of boxes qualifies you to be considered an authority on consciousness?

    No, that's the realm of the neuroscientist.

    He believes in a conscious universe and the soul, and for that reason, I can't give him any credibility.
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    (Original post by Hypocrism)
    IQ is a fail of a measure of determining intelligence. Do you really think finding patterns in sets of boxes qualifies you to be considered an authority on consciousness?
    I do not wish to derail the thread by digressing into the validity of IQ tests as a measure of intelligence. However, I feel obligated to point out that IQ is strongly positively correlated with academic achievement and job performance. IQ testing is far from a comprehensive measure of intelligence, but it still provides the most reliable indication of an individual's ability to to problem solve and recognise patterns of any method used to date.

    (Original post by Hypocrism)
    He believes in a conscious universe and the soul, and for that reason, I can't give him any credibility.
    Well, quite frankly, dismissing the speculations of a theory without even reading the paper seems very arrogant and narrow-minded. Isaac Newton believed in a 'God' too, and once said: "This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called 'Lord God' , or Universal Ruler. The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect." ...does this belief strip him of all credibility in your eyes also?
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    (Original post by hungergeist)


    Incidentally, there's a guy called Christopher Langan with a verified IQ of 200+ who proposes very similar ideas to those which you so readily dismiss in his 'Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe'. The following is an extract from his website ctmu . org:
    Having read his 'theory', at best I can tell you it doesn't actually say or describe anything.

    But in any case, the problem is that you could be an absolute genius, but without proper facts, your conclusions will be flawed. This is what seems to be happening here (assuming he is a genius).

    The problem it seems, is that he is applying personal values to a much wider concept of the connectivity of the Universe. Many have many broad steps between interpretation and theory, and he appears to be one of them.
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    (Original post by lilytheblue)
    Hey i dont think you understand what im trying to get at here...to define an electronic device as conscious is the complete wrong word and gives consciousness a completely different connotation to what im am trying to say. I am writing about science and philosophy coming together and merging because science can explain how something happens, yet it fails to explain why. I am truly for science, in fact i am doing all sciences for A level. Many times in class have i questioned the validity of the information, each time i am told just to accept it because thats what examiners want and i am sometimes even ridiculed. Yet, the people who do accept this information go on to get high grades and become the authorities of our society. What im trying to say is our school system teaches us to think in certain ways and teaches us not think openly. And because of this, people are quick to reject information that does not fit into their own way of thinking because they do not know how to open their minds and think in other ways. At the end of the day this is all my opinion you can choose to understand my point of view or ridicule it. I am still in the process of figuring this all out
    I haven’t described an ‘electronic device’ as conscious. Where did you get that from?

    I’m suggesting that all the evidence, critically examined, points to the brain as the source of our consciousness. No brain activity, no mind, no mind, no consciousness. There’s nothing wrong with having an open mind as you suggest, indeed it is a good thing, but assertions of fact have to be defended through critical analysis of the evidence - the alternative is to believe and defend pretty much whatever 'explanation' you feel like. As I’ve suggested, it is only because of the scientific method that you are in a position to make use of your PC, the internet, your mobile phone and any number of other technologies which only exist because scientific theory constitutes a good correspondence to how things ‘are’.
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    (Original post by Smaug123)
    While it's true that consciousness is housed in the brain, this is not evidence for that; before medicine, people thought consciousness was housed in the heart...
    While it might well be the case that before modern medicine people understood their feelings as coming from their bodies and more specifically their heart, I'm sceptical at your assertion that people generally thought of their heart as the sources of their consciousness or 'being'. Indeed we only have to look at the historical and geographical universality of how the human skull is given importance as the source of a person to question your account. Ritualistic cannibalism, as one example, usually involves eating small parts of the brain of an ancestor, or slain enemy, in order to benefit from the 'essence', knoledge or ability of that person.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    While it might well be the case that before modern medicine people understood their feelings as coming from their bodies and more specifically their heart, I'm sceptical at your assertion that people generally thought of their heart as the sources of their consciousness or 'being'. Indeed we only have to look at the historical and geographical universality of how the human skull is given importance as the source of a person to question your account. Ritualistic cannibalism, as one example, usually involves eating small parts of the brain of an ancestor, or slain enemy, in order to benefit from the 'essence', knoledge or ability of that person.
    I'm only going on what I remembered of Aristotle -
    "But Aristotle was neither the first nor the last to advance the cardiocentric view. In Classical Greece and Rome, it was generally believed that the heart played a major role in the mediation between the mental and the physical. And initially it was the heart, rather than the brain, that was considered to be the seat of mental processes, including intellectual functions like thinking, memory and imagination."
    (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/news/2004/.../wtx023667.htm)
    I was under the impression that the Ancient Greeks thought the brain was a radiator of heat from the blood.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    While it might well be the case that before modern medicine people understood their feelings as coming from their bodies and more specifically their heart, I'm sceptical at your assertion that people generally thought of their heart as the sources of their consciousness or 'being'. Indeed we only have to look at the historical and geographical universality of how the human skull is given importance as the source of a person to question your account. Ritualistic cannibalism, as one example, usually involves eating small parts of the brain of an ancestor, or slain enemy, in order to benefit from the 'essence', knoledge or ability of that person.
    (Original post by Smaug123)
    I'm only going on what I remembered of Aristotle -
    "But Aristotle was neither the first nor the last to advance the cardiocentric view. In Classical Greece and Rome, it was generally believed that the heart played a major role in the mediation between the mental and the physical. And initially it was the heart, rather than the brain, that was considered to be the seat of mental processes, including intellectual functions like thinking, memory and imagination."
    (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/news/2004/.../wtx023667.htm)
    I was under the impression that the Ancient Greeks thought the brain was a radiator of heat from the blood.
    For many centuries before the Greeks and Romans, the ancient Egyptians thought the heart was the organ which gave rise to thoughts. During mummification, the heart was preserved, but the brain was thrown away.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    But you're not really saying anything here. The science very strongly supports the idea that consciousness is an emergent property of brain activity - highly complex no doubt, but brain activity nonetheless. It's pretty compelling anecdotal evidence that our sense of 'self' feels like it is located somewhere in our head - where our brain is. Moreover, the fact that no matter where we go, even if we make a sudden turn in direction, when, say, we're out on our bicycle, our sense of 'self' seems to stay with us - right where our brain is.
    I think there was a problem with calling it consciousness. It needs some other word that can't be so easily passed off as a trivial biological function.

    What I mean is, once someone has existed and knows he has existed - I don't believe that information is ever destroyed. I believe that his existence is imprinted onto others' lives the moment he is brought into existence and he exists "within" these other sentient creatures eternally. One gets to see whether the memories shared with these entities are ultimately for the greater good or for evil, therefore any emotion one feels can be called a heaven or hell of sorts.

    I believe that when I die, my memories will still exist. In the same way that when I write a text document and upload it to the internet then that text document has the potential to exist eternally, and not just exist - it has the potential to create new information.

    Our memories transcend the physical world and therefore, I believe, so do we.
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    (Original post by The_Last_Melon)
    I think there was a problem with calling it consciousness. It needs some other word that can't be so easily passed off as a trivial biological function.

    What I mean is, once someone has existed and knows he has existed - I don't believe that information is ever destroyed. I believe that his existence is imprinted onto others' lives the moment he is brought into existence and he exists "within" these other sentient creatures eternally. One gets to see whether the memories shared with these entities are ultimately for the greater good or for evil, therefore any emotion one feels can be called a heaven or hell of sorts.

    I believe that when I die, my memories will still exist. In the same way that when I write a text document and upload it to the internet then that text document has the potential to exist eternally, and not just exist - it has the potential to create new information.

    Our memories transcend the physical world and therefore, I believe, so do we.
    In a way, I agree with you, and so does Douglas Hofstadter - you might be interested in his book "I am a Strange Loop", which is the followup to his incredible "Gödel, Escher, Bach" which everyone should read.
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    Having read his 'theory', at best I can tell you it doesn't actually say or describe anything.
    You've read his entire 56 page paper, understood it all, and have come to the conclusion that it doesn't say anything? I honestly mean no disrespect, but I suspect that a lot of the subject matter may have just gone over your head.

    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    But in any case, the problem is that you could be an absolute genius, but without proper facts, your conclusions will be flawed. This is what seems to be happening here (assuming he is a genius).
    To what facts are you specifically referring? Whichever details you are alluding to I think that, considering the guy has spent the last 40-50 years studying everything from philosophy to physics to advanced mathematics, the chances are that he has a much wider knowledge of the facts than you or I.
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    (Original post by hungergeist)
    That's somewhat of a red-herring. In any case, what Langan believes is certainly not conventional intelligent design. He essentially proposes that the universe is self creating and what he refers to as "God" is, in fact, the universe itself. This passage from his website sums up his theological position quite well: [...]
    Without wishing to seem too immodest, I came to the same view (God == universe) independently at age 15, after abandoning the church and before coming across Spinoza. I don't say this to make me look clever, I just don't think it's original or revolutionary. However, I have never considered ID to have a shred of credibility.

    Mensa is just one of many high IQ societies, they are not the sole arbiter of validating IQ scores. There are various tests such as the Titan test and the Mega test that claim to be able to verify IQs of 200+. Regardless it has been well documented that Langan's IQ has been verified, as a quick Google search will reveal.
    True, Mensa is not unique, but they seem more reliable than the unsupervised tests that Mega promoted, particularly if the rumours of Mega's answers circulating on the internet are true. But whatever, IQ isn't a particularly useful qualification in relation to this debate, so I won't pursue this further.

    (Original post by hungergeist)
    You've read his entire 56 page paper, understood it all, and have come to the conclusion that it doesn't say anything? I honestly mean no disrespect, but I suspect that a lot of the subject matter may have just gone over your head.
    To what facts are you specifically referring? Whichever details you are alluding to I think that, considering the guy has spent the last 40-50 years studying everything from philosophy to physics to advanced mathematics, the chances are that he has a much wider knowledge of the facts than you or I.
    The fact that he has studied these subjects does not make him an expert in any. His understanding of set theory is considered to be unsound (actually, "wrong" would be a better word) by more qualified scientists, and his 'theory' makes no provable predictions. Unfortunately, it's a fail. I tried to read it all, but kept thinking of Sokal.

    While we're on quirky theories about consciousness, has anyone read "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes? He argues that the bicameral nature of our brains is the root cause of consciousness, and for many other hard-to-explain phenomena (schizophrenia, hallucinations, hypnotism, somnambulism, etc). In particular, he suggests how it could have given rise to our belief in gods. One reviewer rightly described it as "one of those books that is either complete rubbish or a work of consummate genius, nothing in between!", but it is thought-provoking nonetheless.
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    (Original post by hungergeist)
    You've read his entire 56 page paper, understood it all, and have come to the conclusion that it doesn't say anything? I honestly mean no disrespect, but I suspect that a lot of the subject matter may have just gone over your head.
    You're right, I read an article which I thought was the 'paper'. I've now found the paper and have read it. Although it makes more sense than the article, it still doesn't explain much of what he claims it does.

    Most of the paper is spent describing the universe as a self-exciting circuit, and comes to conclusion that the Universe 'created it self' as it were. While I think his thinking is flawed in this as well, the issue is with consciousness.

    The main issue with consciousness is the M=R (mind = reality) principle. It is somewhat similar to something Karl Sagan described, in that because we are a part of reality, reality is aware of itself. However, in part because he also argues that theory and reality are the same, he takes this to the extreme and concludes that reality is aware of itself, in of itself. Additionally, because he argues that reality is language based, and is in need of perceiving itself, reality is aware of itself and consistency within reality are therefore an example of reality 'intelligently designing itself'. A great deal of his later conclusions are built up on this.

    It's possible that it did just go way over my head, but I suspect by the way he writes, that he is trying to make the theory sound more complex than it actually is (as others have pointed out). Overall though, his paper hasn't been peer reviewed by anything credible, and professionals who are more qualified than me have claimed the same: that it's nonsense.

    (Original post by hungergeist)
    To what facts are you specifically referring? Whichever details you are alluding to I think that, considering the guy has spent the last 40-50 years studying everything from philosophy to physics to advanced mathematics, the chances are that he has a much wider knowledge of the facts than you or I.
    Wider knowledge is irrelevant, he is only talking about a narrow set of principles. In anycase, it was a more general statement about how without correct facts, your conclusion will be flawed. I was referring specifically to one of the extracts you gave and his idea about the 'soul' and the 'you'. While the self is a purely subjective experience, we do have a relatively good understanding of how it arises, and how it is destroyed. Although further thoughts leads me to think that the 'information' left behind in reality (as he described) could be considered 'you', but only objectively and not subjectively. I suspect however, he may have meant subjectively.
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    I have often wondered about this sort of thing, most recently trying to think about how a hypothetical "hive mind" would see the world. colonies of ants and bees and such do in some respects act like a single organism, and I don't see why it is impossible that a more complex hive organism could not be truly conscious. of course it would be conscious in a way that is basically incomprehensible to the human mind due to its more diffuse nature, with individual objects being an alien concept to it instead seeing the world in areas off influence and effect.

    I think that consciousness, as in the ability to have subjective experience, is due to interactions and reactions within a system. the more interactions the more coherent the experiences, and so the more conscious the being is. the brain has an absurd number of interactions and so creates a high level of consciousness. something like a plant I still believe would have subjective experiences, and so be to some slight degree conscious, but the simplicity of its interactions means it would barely be so. I think the best metaphor would be interactions being pixels in a picture: the more you have the clearer the picture, in this case the picture being the clarity with which a being experiences the world.
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    (Original post by hungergeist)
    There's no need to be rude and condescending.

    Incidentally, there's a guy called Christopher Langan with a verified IQ of 200+ who proposes very similar ideas to those which you so readily dismiss in his 'Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe'. The following is an extract from his website ctmu . org:


    He's a "hippy idiot" too I suppose?
    Almost certainly.
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    (Original post by The_Last_Melon)
    I think there was a problem with calling it consciousness. It needs some other word that can't be so easily passed off as a trivial biological function.

    What I mean is, once someone has existed and knows he has existed - I don't believe that information is ever destroyed. I believe that his existence is imprinted onto others' lives the moment he is brought into existence and he exists "within" these other sentient creatures eternally. One gets to see whether the memories shared with these entities are ultimately for the greater good or for evil, therefore any emotion one feels can be called a heaven or hell of sorts.

    I believe that when I die, my memories will still exist. In the same way that when I write a text document and upload it to the internet then that text document has the potential to exist eternally, and not just exist - it has the potential to create new information.

    Our memories transcend the physical world and therefore, I believe, so do we.
    But I’m not passing consciousness off as ‘trivial’ at all but it either has emerged as a biological function or it hasn’t and I’m asserting that it very much has, as all the organs of biological life has. The issue of triviality doesn’t really come into it. You can, of course, believe what you want, but I’m suggesting that from a critical scientific perspective, consciousness, and memories for that matter, are phenomena which emerge from brain function.

    When you upload a text document to the internet it has to reside somehwere, physically, on a server, or across a collection of servers. There's no actual transcending the physical world in such an example.
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    (Original post by Smaug123)
    I'm only going on what I remembered of Aristotle -
    "But Aristotle was neither the first nor the last to advance the cardiocentric view. In Classical Greece and Rome, it was generally believed that the heart played a major role in the mediation between the mental and the physical. And initially it was the heart, rather than the brain, that was considered to be the seat of mental processes, including intellectual functions like thinking, memory and imagination."
    (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/news/2004/.../wtx023667.htm)
    I was under the impression that the Ancient Greeks thought the brain was a radiator of heat from the blood.
    I'll accept that the ancient Egyptians did not appear to recognise the brain as the source of their cognative and sensory capacities, but human history is a lot longer and geographically wider than that. And notwithstanding Aristotle's influence, the wider status given to the skull and phenomenon like ritual cannibalism (in which pieces of brain tissue are eaten) are strongly suggestive of recognition of the 'essence' or mind of humans as located in the head. But such a debate is a diversion anyway, I stand with modern critical science which posits the brain as the source of cognative and sensory capabilities. Studies in brain injury alone constitute very strong evidence of how memories, and their loss, correspond directly to damage to the brain.
 
 
 
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