Hush, we may be hearing answers now.
Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano informs us, from the sanctity of his discipline:
OF the three most fundamental scientific questions about the human condition, two have been answered.
First, what is our relationship to the rest of the universe? Copernicus answered that one. We’re not at the center. We’re a speck in a large place.
So fine-tuning of the universe for life means nothing? Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.
Second, what is our relationship to the diversity of life? Darwin answered that one. Biologically speaking, we’re not a special act of creation. We’re a twig on the tree of evolution.
Okay, if we are just a twig on the tree, why is there no twig anywhere near like us? Or is that just one of the questions we are not supposed to ask if we want a passing grade is Graziano’s class?
He attempts to explain consciousness:
How does the brain go beyond processing information to become subjectively aware of information? The answer is: It doesn’t. The brain has arrived at a conclusion that is not correct. When we introspect and seem to find that ghostly thing — awareness, consciousness, the way green looks or pain feels — our cognitive machinery is accessing internal models and those models are providing information that is wrong. The machinery is computing an elaborate story about a magical-seeming property. And there is no way for the brain to determine through introspection that the story is wrong, because introspection always accesses the same incorrect information.
You might object that this is a paradox. If awareness is an erroneous impression, isn’t it still an impression? And isn’t an impression a form of awareness?
But the argument here is that there is no subjective impression; there is only information in a data-processing device. When we look at a red apple, the brain computes information about color. It also computes information about the self and about a (physically incoherent) property of subjective experience. The brain’s cognitive machinery accesses that interlinked information and derives several conclusions: There is a self, a me; there is a red thing nearby; there is such a thing as subjective experience; and I have an experience of that red thing. Cognition is captive to those internal models. Such a brain would inescapably conclude it has subjective experience.
So there you have it, we have consciousness but only about stuff that is wrong.
As noted earlier, the only specialness naturalism allows humans is that, in a world of conservation consciousness, we should be exterminated.
See also: Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?
Hat tip: Wesley J. Smith
15 Replies to “A Princeton prof attempts to explain consciousness. Hush, we may be hearing answers now.”
Don’t scientific questions require scientific answers? (i.e. experiment and observe)
Actually, as General Relativity has now shown, each one of us is at the center of a 4-Dimensional expanding hypersphere:
Thus from a 3-dimensional (3D) perspective, any particular 3D spot in the universe is to be considered just as ‘center of the universe’ as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered ‘center of the universe’. This centrality found for any 3D place in the universe is because the universe is a 4D expanding hypersphere, analogous in 3D to the surface of an expanding balloon. All points on the surface are moving away from each other, and every point is central, no matter where you live in the universe.
Moreover, the ‘circle’ of the CMBR that is found by modern science to encompass the Earth, from the remnant of the creation event that brought the entire universe instantaneously into being, was actually predicted in the Bible centuries earlier:
Moreover, as if that did not overturn the Copernican principle by itself, quantum mechanics goes even further and states that each conscious observer is central in the universe,,,
I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its ‘uncertain’ 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe.
Moreover, from a slightly different angle, ‘Life’, with a capital L, is also found to be central to the universe in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides a very credible reconciliation to the most profound enigma in modern science. Namely the unification of General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (Quantum Electrodynamics) into a ‘Theory of Everything’:
Of Related Note:
The following site is also very interesting to the topic of ‘centrality in the universe’;
The preceding interactive graph points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality (not just ‘nearly’ in the exponential center!). i.e. 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of ‘observable’ length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly in the exponential middle.
With regards to below:
Explaining consciousness away seems to be a growing trend among our atheistic friends, such is the inexpiable nature of it. We need to face up to our ignorance and stop clutching at straws.
Let us approach the subjective with optimism that one day, maybe just one day, we will have a shard of light illuminate our understanding of what consciousness is, and maybe some bright spark might give us a tenuous schematic of how it could arise from physical matter.
Indeed. Where are those reptilian rocket scientists and those philosophising insectoids? They have been around much longer than humans or mammals, no? Inquiring minds and all that.
That “Odd Alignment” that seems to indicate a special place for Earth is called the “Axis of Evil” by Scientists who subscribe to the “insignificant Earth” hypothesis. They don’t like to talk about it. Hoped it was just dust or something. But the Planck telescope confirmed it.
In a week or so the movie “The Principle” opens in Chicago for a limited showing, How well it does there will determine if it gets a wider release. Hope it does well:)
Yet another academic who has talked himself into blithering idiocy.
So when he performs this diatribe live-and-in-person, at the end, does his head start spinning around 360 degrees? Faster and faster until the centrifugal force pops his eyeballs out of their sockets? Held only by the two optic nerves? Triumvirate with his waggling, spittle-spewing tongue?
ppolish at 5, and let’s not forget ‘Privileged Species – How the cosmos is designed for human life’ is soon to be released too:
A few more notes that support the overturning of the Copernican principle:
At the 38:10 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Huterer speaks of the ‘why right now? coincidence problem’ for dark matter and visible matter:
BA77, have I told you lately how much I love your posts? I love them:) I’m going to purchase the “Privileged Species” DVD when it’s released, thanks.
Jeff, “Go Princeton” lol. I clicked on your Biblical Research website and now look forward to some reading. Lol again.
I think that’s a very interesting question that brings up three important issues:
First, it raises a very important question (yes, a question raises another question): how does the brain process information? We know serious scientists are working hard trying to figure out that. This is an ongoing research. Let’s keep an eye on it.
Second, once we figure out how the brain works, then maybe we could try to figure out how we got it to begin with. This question demands a whole separate discussion, so let’s put it on a shelf for now.
Third, the above quoted question implies a very controversial assumption: that the brain is a subject that has awareness. How do we know that it’s true? What is the proof? That’s another big discussion. However, is this science of philosophy?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to try to resolve the first issue first?
Materialism leads to the grand delusion thesis . . . yet again:
Any scheme of thought that entails a general delusion is inescapably self-referentially incoherent and self refuting. For instance, are we looking at/ perceiving/ feeling/ whatever floats your boat on what “thinking” seems to be like as one thinks thusly of materialistic views of mind and brain?
Thence, shipwreck as Haldane put it so aptly in terms of sawing off branches on which one sits:
Time to think again . . .
Yes, it can be said that we are not at the exact center of the universe, but actually, evidence points to us being very near the center!
Dr. Russ Humphreys wrote an article entitled Our galaxy is the centre of the universe, ‘quantized’ redshifts show here:
Copernicus was not a Big Bang proponent. His findings have been hijacked by the Big Bang crowd and his good name smeared to support something he would not have supported. For an accurate understanding of what he did believe and what his findings actually mean for us, try this article:
Here is the first paragraph:
Read on to find out!
From Dr. Humphries’ article entitled “Our galaxy is the centre of the universe, ‘quantized’ redshifts show”
Is this a valid presupposition to make?
Does the Standard Model of Cosmology actually rest on this assumption that may or may not be accurate?
What do you think? Why or why not?
Just before someone starts having a go at the quantized redshift please read http://www.creationwiki.org/Quantized_redshift
Where the conclusion says,
“The available studies of galactic redshifts seem to support a quantization effect when precise enough data is placed in the galactocentric frame of reference. Since the studies on which the criticism is based seems to ignore both the Earth’s motion and the needed precision of measurements, that criticism seems to be invalid. As a result at this time the best conclusion is that the quantization effect is real. This effect is consistent with a galactocentric universe with the Milkyway at the center and there by placing the Earth near that center. It is also an affront to the Big Bang assumption that we are no in a special place in the universe. It is however fully consistent with a bounded universe with the Milkyway at its center”.
Oldest known star in Universe is a nearby neighbor in Milky Way.