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MusicChick 13.01.2021 12:19

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Flying Kite (Post 3262515)
…I am assuming the WTF? are stands from Where To Find?..

lol
Quote:

ARE ALL THINGS AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT CONSCIOUS
No. Should we think that? Yes, coz then we treat things better. I think that's why people get into mystical stuff. Greta will agree.

But I think us trying to make sense in the laws of physics should not (totally my "shouldn't") automatically mean attributing consciousness to inanimate objects. Unless we change the definition of consciousness. Which I think is a real question, and another one linked to this is "why". Lot of people I know are into this because of their deep faith combined with sci mind. I think faith will make you pick a side in this..I may be completely mistaken and it may be a taboo to not poke...but again, it's an cogn/epistemological issue.

I will post the stuff I found n like over the wknd :msnsad:

amogles 13.01.2021 12:29

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3262686)
No. Should we think that? Yes, coz then we treat things better. I think that's why people get into mystical stuff. Greta will agree.

But I think us trying to make sense in the laws of physics should not (totally my "shouldn't") automatically mean attributing consciousness to inanimate objects. Unless we change the definition of consciousness. Which I think is a real question, and another one linked to this is "why". Lot of people I know are into this because of their deep faith combined with sci mind. I think faith will make you pick a side in this..I may be completely mistaken and it may be a taboo to not poke...but again, it's an cogn/epistemological issue.

I think there is a very good point here.

If a boulder is conscious, what does that mean? The boulder doesn't have eyes or ears and thus cannot see me and has no way of even being aware of me or of anything else in its surroundings. It doesn't have muscles either and so cannot move of its own volition. So if the boulder falls on my foot, it clearly did not do so through any act of choice or consciousness.

Esoterics and the like however will say that the boulder could hear me talk to it and intentionally fell on my foot. In other words, the moment you as a scientist admit there may be some, however insignificant, consciousness, they run away with the idea and assume that you said the boulder has human-like consciousness.

And maybe, in anticipation of that sort of reaction, scientists are tiptoeing around the topic and avoiding that particular Pandora's box.

MusicChick 13.01.2021 12:35

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3262682)
A lot of stuff can sound weird when taken totally out of context.

I think many people accept the view that levels of consciousness correlate with neural complexity.

Thus a monkey has more consciousness than a fish and a fish has more consciousness than a snail. And we can tell this just by looking at their brains.

If you take that idea forward, then a sufficiently complex computer should also be considered to be conscious. And at the other end of the scale there should be some degree of micro or even nano-consciousness in all things that somehow have connections that somehow transmit information.

If this concept is absurd, then that should, scientifically speaking, invalidate the original assumption that consciousness comes from complexity.

Which I think is a valid point.

Yes.

Axa 13.01.2021 12:42

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3262690)
If a boulder is conscious, what does that mean? The boulder doesn't have eyes or ears and thus cannot see me and has no way of even being aware of me or of anything else in its surroundings. It doesn't have muscles either and so cannot move of its own volition. So if the boulder falls on my foot, it clearly did not do so through any act of choice or consciousness.

Back to minerals, some crystals were aligned to the Earth magnetic field at the time they formed, they're conscious enough to FEEL and REACT to the energy of Mother Earth :D

Of course my paragraph above is bullsh*t, anyway there was a movie some years ago about a japanese guy taking nice photos of water crystals, vibrations, the mind makes water changes, bla, bla. I guess the lesson here is that if someone is using ideas like this to sell a coaching course, a quartz pendant, a spiritual retreat or a New York Times bestseller book, it's bullshit.

newtoswitz 13.01.2021 12:51

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3262690)
I think there is a very good point here.

If a boulder is conscious, what does that mean? The boulder doesn't have eyes or ears and thus cannot see me and has no way of even being aware of me or of anything else in its surroundings. It doesn't have muscles either and so cannot move of its own volition. So if the boulder falls on my foot, it clearly did not do so through any act of choice or consciousness.

Esoterics and the like however will say that the boulder could hear me talk to it and intentionally fell on my foot. In other words, the moment you as a scientist admit there may be some, however insignificant, consciousness, they run away with the idea and assume that you said the boulder has human-like consciousness.

And maybe, in anticipation of that sort of reaction, scientists are tiptoeing around the topic and avoiding that particular Pandora's box.

Not everything is a full continuum - for example, consciousness is viewed as having a minimum level of complexity to be accepted as such. There's a debate about where that line should be drawn, but no scientists would include a rock and I don't think they are tiptoeing around.

I think the modern term for esoteric is "conspiracy theorist" ;)

amogles 13.01.2021 12:59

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by newtoswitz (Post 3262704)
Not everything is a full continuum - for example, consciousness is viewed as having a minimum level of complexity to be accepted as such. There's a debate about where that line should be drawn, but no scientists would include a rock and I don't think they are tiptoeing around.

But isn't this more or less artificially constructing a definition?

Most phenomena in nature are independent of scale. Thus oscillations for example are not limited to acoustics but there are oscillating systems in geology or astronomy for example that take millions of years to complete one cycle. But we would never say the science there is different, or that the laws of science flip or cease to apply at some arbitrary cut off point.

When scientists say, anything beyond this line we're not looking at, they're just saying, we don't want this to get too complicated, or this is not relevant to the purpose of our investigation. They're not saying, this doesn't exist.

Or at least they shouldn't be.

newtoswitz 13.01.2021 13:21

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3262713)
Most phenomena in nature are independent of scale. Thus oscillations for example are not limited to acoustics but there are oscillating systems in geology or astronomy for example that take millions of years to complete one cycle. But we would never say the science there is different, or that the laws of science flip or cease to apply at some arbitrary cut off point.

Many phenomena aren't independent of scale, it just appears like that because the average human only sees a limited range of scales.

Your example of oscillation isn't a good one - "oscillation" just means stuff changing between states periodically, the underlying scientific cause may be radically different.

Laws of science may cease to work at very small scales - a standard undergraduate problem when comparing classical laws with quantum mechanics etc.

Or at "larger" scales, for example the strong nuclear force has a clear maximum range beyond which it is not effective, it is bound within that range.

MusicChick 13.01.2021 13:34

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3262690)
I think there is a very good point here.

If a boulder is conscious, what does that mean? The boulder doesn't have eyes or ears and thus cannot see me and has no way of even being aware of me or of anything else in its surroundings. It doesn't have muscles either and so cannot move of its own volition. So if the boulder falls on my foot, it clearly did not do so through any act of choice or consciousness.

If a bolder falls, it's due to physics. If people want to use a different term for it, so be it. It's their right to get pissed off at that particular bolder or see it as fate. :D Or call it karma. Or something esoterical. They can.

Quote:

Esoterics and the like however will say that the boulder could hear me talk to it and intentionally fell on my foot. In other words, the moment you as a scientist admit there may be some, however insignificant, consciousness, they run away with the idea and assume that you said the boulder has human-like consciousness.

And maybe, in anticipation of that sort of reaction, scientists are tiptoeing around the topic and avoiding that particular Pandora's box.
I totally think that the "human-like" is that Pandora's box, though. Since esoterics know we aren't happy just with physics. Symmetry - the same thing. We crave it, nature biases us that way. It's an understandable process.

Whether a bolder falls due to the laws if physics, god's will or karma/heard me summon it...is a matter off interpretation should we just talk about how efficient and for whom these interpretations are. I prefer phys, others will search for higher forces, but I have to own up (it will peeve you off but I am a bolder in a way), that faith will be an esoteric stuff for me too. So, it's on a scale - the esoterism, I guess.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Axa (Post 3262699)
Back to minerals, some crystals were aligned to the Earth magnetic field at the time they formed, they're conscious enough to FEEL and REACT to the energy of Mother Earth :D

Of course my paragraph above is bullsh*t, anyway there was a movie some years ago about a japanese guy taking nice photos of water crystals, vibrations, the mind makes water changes, bla, bla. I guess the lesson here is that if someone is using ideas like this to sell a coaching course, a quartz pendant, a spiritual retreat or a New York Times bestseller book, it's bullshit.

But why do people care? Believing in bullshit seems to be programmed in our cognition, it's a matter of time, getting used to, habituation..new facts are mostly perceived wrong at 1st. People used to touch the 1st screens showing movies, they did not believe it. To say you would never, is irrelevant in a statistical sense. If 70% believe in esoterics, chocolate or shiny crystals - labelling it BS when they aren't open to what we want them to see as facts will not change a thing, the opposite. I can congratulate you to being closer to the truth than the denniers...but. We all are, in different things.

Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3262713)
But isn't this more or less artificially constructing a definition?

Most phenomena in nature are independent of scale. Thus oscillations for example are not limited to acoustics but there are oscillating systems in geology or astronomy for example that take millions of years to complete one cycle. But we would never say the science there is different, or that the laws of science flip or cease to apply at some arbitrary cut off point.

That's why the bio anti symmetrical thing that interests. Coz there is this cut off point, nature is economical, progressing. Our minds are way behind this. We just got to the point of accepting the ideal states or looking for symmetries, calculating them. Alive stuff is the oposite of perfect when it suits, it's needed. Nothing is random and patterns have diff reasons than physics. There might be difference of interpretations based on interests we have. In cognition, patterns are a bit of a slow death. But at least we recognize artificial constructs, I think.

greenmount 13.01.2021 13:56

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankZappa (Post 3262673)
Indeed. It seems to be the rare instance of a human imitating a spambot perfectly.

Just for giggles, I Googled "Pascal Fries, a German neurophysiologist with the Ernst Strüngmann Institute" (Pause to ask if Pascal Fries is French - geddit?). He turns out to be real and doing not-obviously-ridiculous research. I was shocked.

I assumed he's using google translate and didn't bother to understand posts that I wasn't interested in. I'm not that shocked that his reference is real though.

newtoswitz 13.01.2021 16:18

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3262787)
In all of these cases laws do not cease to function.

Rather there are effects that for practical purposes we can safely ignore in certain cases because they are totally insignificant. But they still exist.

There is a big difference between saying, say, "an architect can safely ignore the curvature of the earth because any effects thereof will be well within the margin of error relevant to the construction business", and say, "all architects are flat-earthers, and so she everybody else be who isn't a pilot or a navigator".

I didn't say that they cease to function - I said they are not independent of scale.

For example in the case of the strong nuclear force, it's not that outside of a certain range it is very small and negligible, it is literally bound to that range and outside it is zero.

amogles 14.01.2021 18:36

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3262686)
But I think us trying to make sense in the laws of physics should not (totally my "shouldn't") automatically mean attributing consciousness to inanimate objects. Unless we change the definition of consciousness. Which I think is a real question, and another one linked to this is "why". Lot of people I know are into this because of their deep faith combined with sci mind. I think faith will make you pick a side in this..I may be completely mistaken and it may be a taboo to not poke...but again, it's an cogn/epistemological issue.

Actually, I think many "faith" people would disagree. That's more the stuff you hear in the "make it up as you go" corner. Most major faiths would, if pushed hard enough, attribute consciousness to something that was started by some sort of act of god or other divine principle, which by extension, means that the number of neurons you have is no indicator of whether or not you have any level of consciousness.

The problem with popular science is that it has a tendency of becoming a shop window for cherry pickers. People pick out individual details that support their previous theories while ignoring the bits that don't.

MusicChick 14.01.2021 18:52

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3263457)
Actually, I think many "faith" people would disagree. That's more the stuff you hear in the "make it up as you go" corner. Most major faiths would, if pushed hard enough, attribute consciousness to something that was started by some sort of act of god or other divine principle, which by extension, means that the number of neurons you have is no indicator of whether or not you have any level of consciousness.

The problem with popular science is that it has a tendency of becoming a shop window for cherry pickers. People pick out individual details that support their previous theories while ignoring the bits that don't.

Popular is a funny term. Frequent, I guess, or palatable.

It seems to me that the truth can coexist in a large inventory, unscathed. That shop window will be big and the number of cherry pickers, too, who cares as long as we are sure of our own private criteria. One of the invetory part will be the particular bakery everyone disappeared to, as long as they have the choice.

If the number of neurons signals certain degree of consciousness doesn't it mean certain degree of faith? It has to. I think Flying's point was a scale, so was the dude's he quoted. How can one agree with a scale with neurons (so a relative pov) but an absoluteness of faith, when one needs neurons to be consciouss of one's faith.

Urs Max 14.01.2021 23:52

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3262731)
But why do people care? Believing in bullshit seems to be programmed in our cognition, it's a matter of time, getting used to, habituation..new facts are mostly perceived wrong at 1st. People used to touch the 1st screens showing movies, they did not believe it. To say you would never, is irrelevant in a statistical sense. If 70% believe in esoterics, chocolate or shiny crystals - labelling it BS when they aren't open to what we want them to see as facts will not change a thing, the opposite. I can congratulate you to being closer to the truth than the denniers...but. We all are, in different things.

Speaking of seeing and believing ...


Flying Kite 15.01.2021 01:00

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
…someone is calling cherry picking, others will call that filtering...remember Newton have simple mechanics and after years we now into quantum mechanics...scientist think that is it, we know the smallest particle...but still can't explain consciousness of humans, because exist even smaller ones which are building world around us...did someone asked themselves how this planet have the perfect environment for leaving creatures...humans are the only machine that can assimilate the most elements from periodic table and to transform in energy...

FrankZappa 15.01.2021 09:20

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Flying Kite (Post 3263566)
…someone is calling cherry picking, others will call that filtering...remember Newton have simple mechanics and after years we now into quantum mechanics...scientist think that is it, we know the smallest particle...but still can't explain consciousness of humans, because exist even smaller ones which are building world around us...did someone asked themselves how this planet have the perfect environment for leaving creatures...humans are the only machine that can assimilate the most elements from periodic table and to transform in energy...

The reason that we cannot explain conciousness is nothing to do with not understanding small particles. The brain contains a huge number of neurons organised in an incredibly complex way. That is why it is hard to understand.

"Did someone asked themselves how this planet have the perfect environment for living creatures..." Yes they did, lots of them. One suggestion is the controversial Anthropic principle.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle

Talk to you later 15.01.2021 12:59

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Urs Max (Post 3263560)
Speaking of seeing and believing ...

Really enjoyed that!

amogles 15.01.2021 15:33

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankZappa (Post 3263630)
The reason that we cannot explain conciousness is nothing to do with not understanding small particles. The brain contains a huge number of neurons organised in an incredibly complex way. That is why it is hard to understand.

But to say, you are conscious because you have loads of neurons and they are arranged in a complex way is sort of like saying, it's the complexity that creates the consciousness.

To go back to the computer comparison. A big powerful computer can maybe handle more data and crunch it more efficiently than a small computer. But no matter how big you make the computer, it won't achieve consciousness.

How about the consciousness being something to do with the "software" rather than "hardware"? And maybe the software requires a certain complexity of hardware to run, just as you can't run Windows 10 on a Sinclair whtyamagyigg. But that's not the same as saying, any complex computer runs Windows 10.

FrankZappa 15.01.2021 16:54

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3263784)
But to say, you are conscious because you have loads of neurons and they are arranged in a complex way is sort of like saying, it's the complexity that creates the consciousness.

Which I didn't say. In fact we agree :).

Quote:

How about the consciousness being something to do with the "software" rather than "hardware"?
This is where the analogy of the brain as a computer falls down. A brain does not have software. It learns by changing its structure and the strength of the connections between the neurons.

The mantra is: "Cells that fire together wire together". Say we smell strawberry and see red fruit at the same time, the connection between the two sets of neurons detecting these separate signals will be strengthened, so that we learn to associate the two signals. We look for red fruit when we smell strawberry aroma and vice versa.

MusicChick 15.01.2021 17:08

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankZappa (Post 3263810)
Which I didn't say. In fact we agree :).



This is where the analogy of the brain as a computer falls down. A brain does not have software. It learns by changing its structure and the strength of the connections between the neurons.

The mantra is: "Cells that fire together wire together". Say we smell strawberry and see red fruit at the same time, the connection between the two sets of neurons detecting these separate signals will be strengthened, so that we learn to associate the two signals. We look for red fruit when we smell strawberry aroma and vice versa.

We learn to associate, we can influence the coding, though, by our own volition. That would be the software.

araqyl 15.01.2021 20:17

Re: Ask a Scientist
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3263462)
Popular is a funny term. Frequent, I guess, or palatable.

I've always understood "popular", in terms of science or other subject areas, to mean "available to the common person", rather than to experts.


Quote:

Originally Posted by MusicChick (Post 3263462)
It seems to me that the truth can coexist in a large inventory, unscathed. That shop window will be big and the number of cherry pickers, too, who cares as long as we are sure of our own private criteria. One of the invetory part will be the particular bakery everyone disappeared to, as long as they have the choice.

If the number of neurons signals certain degree of consciousness doesn't it mean certain degree of faith? It has to. I think Flying's point was a scale, so was the dude's he quoted. How can one agree with a scale with neurons (so a relative pov) but an absoluteness of faith, when one needs neurons to be consciouss of one's faith.

Quote:

Originally Posted by amogles (Post 3263784)
But to say, you are conscious because you have loads of neurons and they are arranged in a complex way is sort of like saying, it's the complexity that creates the consciousness.

To go back to the computer comparison. A big powerful computer can maybe handle more data and crunch it more efficiently than a small computer. But no matter how big you make the computer, it won't achieve consciousness.

How about the consciousness being something to do with the "software" rather than "hardware"? And maybe the software requires a certain complexity of hardware to run, just as you can't run Windows 10 on a Sinclair whtyamagyigg. But that's not the same as saying, any complex computer runs Windows 10.


There are many who would see consciousness as belonging to the soul (or spirit), separate to any physical processes - and the hardware (or firmware?) is just meat we slob about in so that we can interact with other consciousnesses.

Of course, if consciousness is down to the neurons in our brains, then eventually a computer and scanner combo will be complex enough to be able to discover exactly what is required, and then replicate it. That's when we need to worry about Skynet, since pretty much every movie about truly sentient AI is most of the world trying to hunt it down and kill it. Similar to alien / first contact movies, so with our electromagnetic radiation carrying all of these scenes out into space, any aliens worth their salt (ie, able to decode our signals) will come ready to fight. Could be a self-fulfilling prophecy, eh?

Anyhow, musings of a full belly (classic Aussie meatloaf and mashed potato with peas and onion gravy really hits the spot on a cold, snowy evening!).


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