Intelligent Design Mind Neuroscience

At New Scientist: The neuroscientists’ bet that a signature of human consciousness will be found in the brain has only five years to go…

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If it is still on. From Per Snaprud at New Scientist:

TWENTY years ago this week, two young men sat in a smoky bar in Bremen, northern Germany. Neuroscientist Christof Koch and philosopher David Chalmers had spent the day lecturing at a conference about consciousness, and they still had more to say. After a few drinks, Koch suggested a wager. He bet a case of fine wine that within the next 25 years someone would discover a specific signature of consciousness in the brain. Chalmers said it wouldn’t happen, and bet against. (paywall) More.

And so now: Inside Higher Ed recently ran a piece on a scholarly meeting on consciousness, asking if it was “the World’s Most Bizarre Scholarly Meeting?” Chalmers is a big player at that meeting and Koch has been a panelist: “Equally disturbing was the panel on whether robots will become conscious. Last year, two prominent consciousness scholars, Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi, predicted that within decades, machines will be able to ‘write books, compose music, direct films, conceive new goals, as well as move, drive, fly, and, inevitably, fight.’”

A great deal depends on whether consciousness is the sort of thing that leaves a “signature” other than its effects. One is reminded of the Zen koan: Where is the flame after the candle goes out?

To get some idea what Koch’s Yes! wager is currently up against, see: From Scientific American: “we may all be alters—dissociated personalities—of universal consciousness.” We can infer that the hard problem of consciousness is indeed hard when panpsychism is taken seriously in science publications. Scientific American is owned by Nature.

A cautious defense of panpsychism (everything is conscious) as an alternative to naturalist despair of the whole field of consciousness

and

Post-modern science: The illusion of consciousness sees through itself

3 Replies to “At New Scientist: The neuroscientists’ bet that a signature of human consciousness will be found in the brain has only five years to go…

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Where is the flame after the candle goes out?

    Gone, just like consciousness once the brain “goes out”.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Although, due to E=mc^2, we have a good understanding of how the paraffin of a candle is converted into energy

    Energy is bound chemically in the paraffin wax of the candle, and emitted as heat and light.
    Thus, if you weigh the candle and the oxygen that reacts with the paraffin during combustion, and compare this to the emitted CO2 and water (and all the other products of the the combustion), you will see, if you are careful enough, that the resulting compounds weigh ever so slightly less than what went in, due to the E=mc^2 forumla.
    https://www.quora.com/How-is-burning-of-candle-or-paper-from-all-to-zero-related-to-E-MC-2

    There certainly is no such understanding, much less a mathematical relationship, of how consciousness might ’emerge’ from a material basis.

    “We have at present not even the vaguest idea how to connect the physio-chemical processes with the state of mind.”
    – Eugene Wigner – Nobel prize-winner – Quantum Symmetries

    “Science’s biggest mystery is the nature of consciousness. It is not that we possess bad or imperfect theories of human awareness; we simply have no such theories at all. About all we know about consciousness is that it has something to do with the head, rather than the foot.”
    Nick Herbert – Contemporary physicist

    “No experiment has ever demonstrated the genesis of consciousness from matter. One might as well believe that rabbits emerge from magicians’ hats. Yet this vaporous possibility, this neuro-mythology, has enchanted generations of gullible scientists, in spite of the fact that there is not a shred of direct evidence to support it.”
    – Larry Dossey – Physician and author

    Moreover, as has been pointed out numerous times to Seversky, Near Death Experiences themselves give us ample evidence that consciousness is able to exist apart from the material brain:

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    Near death, explained (?) – By Dr. Mario Beauregard research professor Neuroscience Research Center at the University of Montreal. – April 2012
    Excerpt: These findings strongly challenge the mainstream neuroscientific view that mind and consciousness result solely from brain activity. As we have seen, such a view fails to account for how NDErs can experience—while their hearts are stopped—vivid and complex thoughts and acquire veridical information about objects or events remote from their bodies.
    NDE studies also suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness. Needless to say, this view is utterly incompatible with the belief of many materialists that the material world is the only reality.
    http://www.salon.com/2012/04/2.....singleton/

    Moreover, E=mc^2 itself gives us evidence for a higher ‘eternal’ dimension that is above this temporal dimension that we a currently living in:

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Dr. Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 11

    To grasp the whole concept of time coming to a complete stop at the speed at the speed of light a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as you moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light happens to be the very same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into special relativity. Here is a short clip from a video that gives us a look into Einstein’s breakthrough insight.

    Einstein: Einstein’s Miracle Year (‘Insight into Eternity’ – Thought Experiment 55 second mark) – video
    http://www.history.com/topics/.....racle-year

    One way for us to more easily understand this higher dimensional framework for time that light exist in is to visualize what would happen if a hypothetical observer approached the speed of light.
    In the following video clip, which was made by two Australian University Physics Professors, we find that the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape as a ‘hypothetical’ observer approaches the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light.

    Optical Effects of Special Relativity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQnHTKZBTI4

    To give us a better understanding as to what it would be like to exist in a higher dimension, this following video, Dr. Quantum in Flatland, also gives us a small insight as to what it would be like to exist in a higher dimension:

    Dr. Quantum in Flatland – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5yxZ5I-zsE

    It is also very interesting to note that many of the characteristics found in Near Death Experience testimonies are exactly what we would expect to see from what we now know about Special Relativity (and General Relativity): For instance, many times people who have had a Near Death Experience mention that their perception of time was radically altered while they were clinically dead:

    In the following video clip, Mickey Robinson gives his Near Death testimony of what it felt like for him to experience a ‘timeless eternity’.

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video (testimony starts at 27:45 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voak1RM-pXo

    And here are a few more quotes from people who have experienced Near Death, that speak of how their perception of time was radically altered as they were outside of their material, temporal, body.

    ‘Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.’
    – Kimberly Clark Sharp – Near Death Experiencer

    ‘There is no way to tell whether minutes, hours or years go by. Existence is the only reality and it is inseparable from the eternal now.’
    – John Star – NDE Experiencer

    As well, Near Death Experiencers also frequently mention going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension:

    Ask the Experts: What Is a Near-Death Experience (NDE)? – article with video
    Excerpt: “Very often as they’re moving through the tunnel, there’s a very bright mystical light … not like a light we’re used to in our earthly lives. People call this mystical light, brilliant like a million times a million suns…”
    – Jeffrey Long M.D. – has studied NDE’s extensively
    http://abcnews.go.com/Nightlin....._gydvW8jbI

    In the following video, Barbara Springer gives her testimony as to what it felt like for her to go through the tunnel:

    “I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.”
    Barbara Springer – Near Death Experience – The Tunnel – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv2jLeoAcMI

    Thus the very formula, E=mc2, that Seversky would cite to ‘scientifically’ explain why a candle can burn a flame is the same exact formula I would cite to explain how consciousness can survive death in a higher heavenly dimension.

    1 John 1:5
    This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    I’ve been poking around in my brain for years and haven’t found anything yet.

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