[FoRK] The State of Consciousness Studies

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com> on Mon Jul 16 12:20:33 PDT 2007

  Honestly, when I read your post, I think you're just
  as confused as you seem to believe that I am.

  * You regularly confuse behavior for consciousness.

  * You don't understand the difference between the hard
    problem from the soft problem.

  * You don't even care about the question of Consciousness;
    You simply are operating from, "Science has the answers
    to everything;  What's important here is that people aren't
    confused, and talk about consciousness confuses people."

  You don't even know the first things about these debates.

  You don't even see "the point" in any of this?  This is as laughable
  as your belief that Greek philosophers have nothing worth
  understanding.  As far as I can tell, you, like Megatron, believe
  that there's nothing but accumulation of power, utility, and "rationality."
  Again, you fail to see that all rationality is towards irrational ends.

  I see clearly why many anti-transhumanists distrust the
  transhumanists.  I'm not one of those, but I can see their point.

  You leap to conclusions;  No, I don't believe that "God" is
  Consciousness, though I can understand how people might
  name Consciousness God.  I have no single definition of God;
  God is a term that is applied in many contexts for different
  purposes.

  You appear to me like a scared little boy, or like young Francis
  Crick, furious with his elders, striving to do science to prove
  them wrong.  I'm glad he found DNA, it was a wonderful
  contribution.  But I'll look to Chalmers and crew for the discoveries
  in Consciousness, which will require equal parts philosophy and
  hard science to make any headway into.


  On the subject of Consciousness--

  You guys REALLY need to get a grip.  One guy here said
  that "The actions of Neurons **IS** Consciousness."
  Thus there's no explanatory gap, and thus there's nothing
  to be understood.  It's just false dualism.

  This is an absolutely absurd argument, and I can't believe
  that Jeff Bone labeled it "cogent." (Or at least, I infer that he
  did.)

  An experience in the head is a **dramatically** different thing
  than a brain in the hand.

  If you're holding a brain, that's one thing.  A brain is a material
  thing.  It has weight, substance, and so on.

  An experience is another thing entirely.  We cannot point
  to an experience.  We cannot locate it in space.  It's the most
  intimate part of our existence.


  We understand clearly that the organ of the brain is tied
  to our experience.  We have good reason to believe that for
  every thought we experience, every vision we see, that there
  is a circuit moving in the brain, and that, furthermore, we will
  be able to track it down and watch it happen.

  Is all this talk of consciousness "unnecessary dualism?"

  Are we positing a mental world of mental stuff, that then
  transmits information down to the brain?

  When people dismiss dualism, they are dismissing this
  notion of an "other world."

  But a new distinction has come, called "property dualism."
  And it says, "Conscious experience" is a different thing
  than "The motion of brains."

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_dualism

  This is NOT talk of a "mental plane of existence," or anything
  like that.  But it is a recognition that conscious experience
  is actually a different thing than the neural correlate of
  consciousness.


  Your temper is hot, I know that.  "This doesn't even matter.
  I JUST WANT RELIGION TO DIE!  You're confusing people!"

  I understand that you're thinking this way, I hear you.
  I'm even somewhat sympathetic to your line of thought.

  But I think it's clouding your understanding of the problems of
  Consciousness, and you're coming unhinged from reality.


  When people stubbornly insist that Consciousness is
  the same as the brain, end of story, no further explanation
  needed, FULL STOP, --

  That's just wrong.

  That's not science.

  That's not the science I signed up for, at least.

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