Atoms and Consciousness Watch

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Chubb
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#21
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#21
(Original post by PhilipsCDRW)
Not animals. I believe that animals are entirely physical, like a great organic computer in a highly advanced robot frame.
I would have to disagree here; just by viewing dogs you can see how they are obviously intelligent (new evidence has recently surfaced that shows that some dogs have the ability to communicate with each other). Do you not beleave that dophins (so long and thanks for all the fish ) or primates are conscious? Where do we draw the line between something being consicous and just anoter animal? To suggest that animals are just physical almost suggests that they are here for our benefit (since they have no experiences of themselfs then why should they be here).
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Adhsur
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#22
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(Original post by piginapoke)
Maybe it would have been better if we hadn't developed enough to say 'we don't have free will', ignorance is bliss
Yes, if only! Life would have been less complicated! Then again, there ARE some humans who hardly ever think - they go about their daily routine parrot fashion. I doubt they are very conscious or are using their potential to be conscious - they are merely like other animals.
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Chubb
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#23
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#23
(Original post by piginapoke)
Animals haven't got language like we have (yes I know we also have much more brain power but bear with me). Language lets us think abstractly, its much harder or impossible to do so without language to 'think with'.
Actualy dophins do have language; in fact their language is more complex than ours - does this make them more conscious than us? The hickhickers guide say yes.
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Adhsur
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#24
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#24
(Original post by Chubb)
I would have to disagree here; just by viewing dogs you can see how they are obviously intelligent (new evidence has recently surfaced that shows that some dogs have the ability to communicate with each other).
Ok dogs may be able to communicate with each other, but what you have failed to outline is what they would communicate. "I feel like making puppies with you" is hardly a trait of conscious thought.

Where do we draw the line between something being consicous and just anoter animal?
As I suggested before, there are different degrees of consciousness which are linked to brain power and complexity. We are the most complex by far, and thus we are the most conscious by far.

To suggest that animals are just physical almost suggests that they are here for our benefit (since they have no experiences of themselfs then why should they be here).
Oh that is ridiculous! I have the utmost respect for animals and so do most philosophers. Lets not confuse morality with a debate about consciousness. And let's not forget that even if an animal isn't conscious, that doesn't mean that it can't feel pain. It can. No one denies that animals don't feel pain.
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Adhsur
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#25
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#25
(Original post by Chubb)
Actualy dophins do have language; in fact their language is more complex than ours - does this make them more conscious than us? The hickhickers guide say yes.
What makes you think it's more complex? Ok the ways of saying things might be more complex to us because we are not familiar to something so different. But what matters most is the type of idea which is communicated. Will dolphins ever ponder the existence of God? Why they are there? What they want to get in life? What they don't like? No. Dolphins are pretty much all the same - they don't have the variety that the human race has because they are not conscious and hence they can't exhibit unique character traits.
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Chubb
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#26
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#26
(Original post by Adhsur)
What does learning mean? A parrot can learn an alphabet or a dictionary but does it really know what the words mean? Does it understand what it is doing when it is apparently learning?
I just came back from a football match (we won though we played awful ) - before I went we gave the dogs a bone each and told them that we were giving them bones (they then got very excited). When we came in they ran to us (and away from their bones) and then I told them that I was getting the bones. They then turned around as soon as I said this and went to retreve their bones before I could claim them. This clearly shows that they understand what a bone is and what the sound of me saying "bone" means. Now take note that one of them is only about 1 1/2 years old and has only ever had a handfull of bones and so has learnt what "bone" means very quickly.
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Chubb
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#27
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#27
(Original post by Adhsur)
What makes you think it's more complex?
I heard it somewhere (think it was T.V but I'm not sure).
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Adhsur
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#28
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#28
(Original post by Chubb)
I just came back from a football match (we won though we played awful ) - before I went we gave the dogs a bone each and told them that we were giving them bones (they then got very excited). When we came in they ran to us (and away from their bones) and then I told them that I was getting the bones. They then turned around as soon as I said this and went to retreve their bones before I could claim them. This clearly shows that they understand what a bone is and what the sound of me saying "bone" means. Now take note that one of them is only about 1 1/2 years old and has only ever had a handfull of bones and so has learnt what "bone" means very quickly.
Ok that might be good for a dog but sad to say in human terms that doesn't represent anything. Ok a word can be mentally associated with an image (everytime he sees a bone, he hears the sound of a bone so he remembers) but would the animal be able to learn a word which represents something more abstract? Animals feel pain but i doubt they'd ever learn what "pain" means.

Can animals imagine, daydream, just sit there thinking? They'd rather get on with something or think about getting on with something.
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Adhsur
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#29
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#29
(Original post by Chubb)
I heard it somewhere (think it was T.V but I'm not sure).
I suppose it depends what "complex" means in this context. Does it mean more difficult, more unusual, the sounds are harder to make, there's less/more pattern, there's more vocabulary (I doubt it) or what?
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Dajo123
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#30
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#30
(Original post by piginapoke)
Dolphin language study:

http://www.dauphinlibre.be/langintro.htm
That’s really interesting, i heard of a similar study on Killer Whales.
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Jonatan
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#31
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You may want to think about the weather as an anology. Its all atoms as well, still the chaotic interactions between air, water and heat can give rise to rather spectacular phenomena such as tornadoes or snowflakes.

There is no contradiction in that a system may behave fundamentally different than its component parts. A rod of iron typically has a zero, or very low, net charge, whereas it is composed of very manny charged particles for instance. A watch can hold information about the current time, whereas the separate parts do not. A book may hold an interesting story, but the individual letters and words can be rather dull on their own.

Most systems are more than their components, this is particularely true for the human brain.
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Muse
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#32
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#32
(Original post by Jonatan)
Most systems are more than their components, this is particularely true for the human brain.
you do seem to have an excellent way of analogising things.
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Jonatan
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#33
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#33
(Original post by timeofyourlife)
you do seem to have an excellent way of analogising things.
Well, sometimes its successful, other times peopel dont get what the hell Im talking about (may be because it doesnt always make sense) but I try my best....
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spk
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#34
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#34
(Original post by Chubb)
If atoms are in fact conscious this opens up some revolutionary conclusions such as the fact that we never really die but instead change into a new conscious form. There is a theory that states that this is true (I think its called Gaia theory) - what do you lot think though?
If you are actually referring to James Lovelock's Gaia Theory, then you are confused (as are many hippies).

Gaia Theory is a scientific claim that the Earth's biota is tightly coupled with its environment, acts (and has acted since life on earth developed any complexity) as a single, self-regulating living system in such a way as to maintain the conditions that are suitable for life. The system includes the near-surface rocks and atmosphere. In particular, it regulates the chemistry of the oceans, composition of the atmosphere and surface temperature.

There is no sense whatsoever to the idea that atoms are conscious or that we never really die but instead change into a new conscious form, at least not according to Gaia Theory.

In Lovelock's own words:

I recognise that to view the Earth as if it were alive is just a convenient, but different, way of organising the facts of the Earth. I am of course prejudiced in favour of Gaia and have filled my life for the past twenty-five years with the thought that Earth may be alive: not as the ancients saw her — a sentient Goddess with a purpose and foresight — but alive like a tree. A tree that quietly exists, never moving except to sway in the wind, yet endlessly conversing with the sunlight and the soil. Using sunlight and water and nutrient minerals to grow and change. But all done so imperceptibly, that to me the old oak tree on the green is the same as it was when I was a child.
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Chubb
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#35
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#35
(Original post by Jonatan)
You may want to think about the weather as an anology. Its all atoms as well, still the chaotic interactions between air, water and heat can give rise to rather spectacular phenomena such as tornadoes or snowflakes.

There is no contradiction in that a system may behave fundamentally different than its component parts. A rod of iron typically has a zero, or very low, net charge, whereas it is composed of very manny charged particles for instance. A watch can hold information about the current time, whereas the separate parts do not. A book may hold an interesting story, but the individual letters and words can be rather dull on their own.

Most systems are more than their components, this is particularely true for the human brain.
Yes this is exactly what I was getting at; if we use the book for an example each individual letter doesn't carry much information but the whole book does. However each letter carries information (though not much). Now if you change letter for atom, information for consciousness and book for animal does it still hold true?
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Chubb
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#36
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#36
(Original post by spk)
If you are actually referring to James Lovelock's Gaia Theory, then you are confused (as are many hippies).

Gaia Theory is a scientific claim that the Earth's biota is tightly coupled with its environment, acts (and has acted since life on earth developed any complexity) as a single, self-regulating living system in such a way as to maintain the conditions that are suitable for life. The system includes the near-surface rocks and atmosphere. In particular, it regulates the chemistry of the oceans, composition of the atmosphere and surface temperature.

There is no sense whatsoever to the idea that atoms are conscious or that we never really die but instead change into a new conscious form, at least not according to Gaia Theory.

In Lovelock's own words:
Yes thats what I was refering to; I must have gotten confused by Isacc Asimov who used Gaia theory in a different sence.
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Jonatan
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#37
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#37
(Original post by Chubb)
Yes this is exactly what I was getting at; if we use the book for an example each individual letter doesn't carry much information but the whole book does. However each letter carries information (though not much). Now if you change letter for atom, information for consciousness and book for animal does it still hold true?
No, the letters do not carry tiny pieces of the story because the information is only meaningful when put in the propper context. If you sort all the letters in the book alphabetically, then you still have the same letters, but they are now completely meaningless. Same goes for atoms. Atoms do not hold tiny pieces of consciousness because consciousness is a high-level feature of a complex system. Just as the type of ink the book is printed in is irrelevant, so is the atoms. The story is also not dependent on the language. You can translate a story from english to chinese and still maintain the same story (in many cases at least). The point is that a system is MORE than the sum of its part. The pattern in which the letters has been placed is just as important as the letters themselves. If I took this post and scrambeled all the words in it you would not understand anything because it would not correspond to english grammar. Thus the words here is not all there is to the post. It is the high-level meaning of the words and sentences that is important, not whether I have spleded and wirten sentence in the order correct. Could you, as an example, identify the letters carrying the irony in the previous sentence, and preferably also how much irony each letter is carrying?
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Chubb
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#38
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#38
(Original post by Jonatan)
No, the letters do not carry tiny pieces of the story because the information is only meaningful when put in the propper context. If you sort all the letters in the book alphabetically, then you still have the same letters, but they are now completely meaningless. Same goes for atoms. Atoms do not hold tiny pieces of consciousness because consciousness is a high-level feature of a complex system. Just as the type of ink the book is printed in is irrelevant, so is the atoms. The story is also not dependent on the language. You can translate a story from english to chinese and still maintain the same story (in many cases at least). The point is that a system is MORE than the sum of its part. The pattern in which the letters has been placed is just as important as the letters themselves. If I took this post and scrambeled all the words in it you would not understand anything because it would not correspond to english grammar. Thus the words here is not all there is to the post. It is the high-level meaning of the words and sentences that is important, not whether I have spleded and wirten sentence in the order correct. Could you, as an example, identify the letters carrying the irony in the previous sentence, and preferably also how much irony each letter is carrying?
Thats a good point and very well explained. I think what we have concluded then is that consciousness comes about because of atoms but not from atoms. Consciousness is obvously vastly more complex and harder to define than we are lead to beleave.
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