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Thunderbolts Forum • View topic - Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Consciousness - the elephant in the room

What is a human being? What is life? Can science give us reliable answers to such questions? The electricity of life. The meaning of human consciousness. Are we alone? Are the traditional contests between science and religion still relevant? Does the word "spirit" still hold meaning today?

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Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby Scott MC » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:38 pm

Consciousness is, in at least one sense, what we are.

As such, the absence of anything even close to a working definition for it should be a bit more of a cause for concern in scientific circles than it seems to be at present.
99.999+% of everything can't be that simple, can it?
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby mathew » Fri Oct 07, 2011 9:09 pm

The wind.. in its greatest power, whirls. -Black Elk
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby tayga » Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:11 am

tayga


It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

- Richard P. Feynman

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
- Thomas Kuhn
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby Scott MC » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:32 pm

But consciousness is what we are.

Shouldn't that logically be a top priority for research?
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby tayga » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:40 pm

tayga


It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

- Richard P. Feynman

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
- Thomas Kuhn
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby nick c » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:22 pm

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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby Scott MC » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:48 pm

Jaynes' valiant attempt to describe consciousness never comes close to any kind of intelligible definition.

There are semantic difficulties with English (the whole 'being unconscious' thing), and there are obviously some very fertile brains on it, but really, when you simply look for conclusions, there are none - not even a working hypothesis. :o

I'm not very well read at all in the field yet, but has any researcher made a link between consciousness and life?
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby tayga » Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:15 pm

tayga


It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.

- Richard P. Feynman

Normal science does not aim at novelties of fact or theory and, when successful, finds none.
- Thomas Kuhn
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby nick c » Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:43 pm

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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby Scott MC » Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:18 pm

99.999+% of everything can't be that simple, can it?
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby GaryN » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:15 pm

In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. -Buckminster Fuller
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby nick c » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:06 am

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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby nick c » Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:17 am

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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby Scott MC » Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:15 pm

To me there looks to be a very, very thin evidential basis for the "bi-cameral" revolution. Wafer thin. I don't accept Mr Jaynes as an authority on consciousness, despite his book. A global cultural explosion in material development doesn't equal the emergence of "that which is introspectable."

Imho, it's just Darwinian/New Age bunkum - part of the same categoric positive feedback loop that pervades practically all the sciences, but applied anthropologically (which imho again, is similar to 'derivatives' in economics - totally batshit freaking crazy, because for all the apparent 'credentials' it has frighteningly little relevance to anything resembling actual observations due to its fixation with minutae - Mr Jaynes' theory doesn't even have credentials).

It's also very polluting semantically - adding to the utter confusion re: consciousness.

My point is, that the phrase "that which is introspectable" begs the question, 'why do we know practically nothing about 'that which is introspectable', despite Mr Jaynes' book?

And how high is his theory on the scale of introspectability, from, say ...
1. Why do I suffer? or How can I be happy?
to
10. ?

Does Mr Jaynes describe pranayama or yoga at all?
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Re: Consciousness - the elephant in the room

Unread postby nick c » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:48 am

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