Hey you! Science says you don’t have a self.

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Neuron tangle 1: Okay then, if I don’t have a self, do you have a self? If so, why are you talking to me?

Neuron tangle 2: No, I don’t have a self either. This here prof is quoted in New Scientist (Liz Else, “Your brain creates your sense of self, incognito”, 19 April 2011), and he knows more than the two of us put together:

All of this is designed to probe and eventually destroy any residue of an unexamined, if presistent, sense of “I” that enables most of us to believe we are in charge of our senses, our thoughts and feelings. As Eagleman rightly observes:

…who can blame you for thinking you deserve the credit? The brain works its machinations in secret, conjuring ideas like tremendous magic. It does not allow its colossal operating system to be probed by conscious cognition. The brain runs its show incognito

Eagleman is especially interesting on the issue of “dethronement”: where the emerging understanding of the brain shifts us from an intuitive sense of being at the centre of things, to being far out at the edge. So what happens then? How are we to think of ourselves? As a “parliament of pieces and parts and subsystems,” says Eagleman, a democratic team of rivals.

Aside from that somewhat tricksy analogy, Eagleman is keen to avoid reductionist traps: the future of understanding the mind will not be down to neurons alone but much more to do with “deciphering patterns of activity that live on top of the wetware, patterns that are directed both by internal machinations and by interactions from the surrounding world”. As for the biggest puzzle of all – how to understand the relationship between physical matter and subjective experience we call consciousness – the jury (in the shape of the world’s top labs) is still out.

Neuron tangle 1: So they don’t know what consciousness is, but they know that you and I don’t have unified selves?

Neuron tangle 2: Yes. It’s the assured results of modern science.

Neuron tangle 1: And so is the inability to get a handle on consciousness doesn’t cause anyone to wonder … ?

Neuron tangle 2: It’s the assured results …

[ — this conversation extrapolated to eternity … ]

5 Replies to “Hey you! Science says you don’t have a self.

  1. 1
    GilDodgen says:

    This is yet another example of the bizarre Alice-In-Wonderland world to which reductionist materialism inevitably leads, and the weird thing is that supposedly highly educated, intelligent, rational people come up with this transparent nonsense that anyone with an IQ near room temperature should be able to detect by the smell test from a mile away.

    In the AIW world there is no truth. (And that’s the truth, trust me.) We have no free will. (If people have no free will why should I take seriously anything a no-free-willer says, since he had no free will to do anything other than assert that I have no free will? He is therefore a robot who was programmed to say that I have no free will. Why should I trust a robot who says I have no free will when I obviously exercise free will all day long?)

    And, of course, there is no self. If, in the AIW world there is no self, the no-self “person” is not a person, he is someone who doesn’t actually exist, so I am obligated by reason to ignore his existence, if indeed he doesn’t exist by his own declaration.

    All of the above is remarkably simple reason and logic, which apparently, for some strange reason, is no longer accessible to Ph.D. professors in our secular institutions of higher learning.

    It continues to amaze me that those in secular academia have apparently completely lost their minds. I mean that in a literal sense. They should look around and try to find their minds again.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Well I just ran across this ‘science’ which says I do have a ‘self’ that is over and above the chemical particles of my brain;

    Quantum Coherence and Consciousness – Scientific Proof of ‘Mind’ – video

    Particular quote of note from preceding video;

    “Wolf Singer Director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (Frankfurt) has found evidence of simultaneous oscillations in separate areas of the cortex, accurately synchronized in phase as well as frequency. He suggests that the oscillations are synchronized from some common source, but the actual source has never been located.”
    James J. Hurtak, Ph.D. – Ph.D. on non-local consciousness

    I hold this evidence, from Wolf Singer, to be concrete proof for the ‘transcendent mind’ of man, since the ‘simultaneous actions’ in the brain are ‘instantaneous’ and are thus impossible to be explained by, or reduced to, any of the physical ‘space-time energy/matter’ chemical processes of the brain.

    further notes:

    Study suggests precognition may be possible – November 2010
    Excerpt: A Cornell University scientist has demonstrated that psi anomalies, more commonly known as precognition, premonitions or extra-sensory perception (ESP), really do exist at a statistically significant level.

    Mind-Brain Interaction and Science Fiction (Quantum connection) – Jeffrey Schwartz & Michael Egnor – audio

    In The Wonder Of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind, Eccles and Robinson discussed the research of three groups of scientists (Robert Porter and Cobie Brinkman, Nils Lassen and Per Roland, and Hans Kornhuber and Luder Deeke), all of whom produced startling and undeniable evidence that a “mental intention” preceded an actual neuronal firing – thereby establishing that the mind is not the same thing as the brain, but is a separate entity altogether.;lpg=PT28

    “As I remarked earlier, this may present an “insuperable” difficulty for some scientists of materialists bent, but the fact remains, and is demonstrated by research, that non-material mind acts on material brain.” Eccles

    “Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder.”
    Heinrich Heine – in the year 1834

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,,,,Nobel prize winner W. Penfield could sometimes induce flashes of recollection of the past (never a complete life review), experiences of light, sound or music, and rarely a kind of out-of-body experience. These experiences did not produce any transformation. After many years of research he finally reached the conclusion that it is not possible to localize memories (information) inside the brain.,, In trying to understand this concept of mutual interaction between the “invisible and not measurable” consciousness, with its enormous amount of information, and our visible, material body it seems wise to compare it with modern worldwide communication.,,,

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.

  3. 3
    MedsRex says:

    So in the case of the cast of the Jackass film and television series it’s a “parliament of pieces and parts and subsystems,” that tricks them into thinking that shooting staples into their bare chests or throwing billiard balls at their own private parts are good ideas?

    Oh and in the case of a suicide victim its just “incognito brain machinations” tricking the “host body” into pulling a 9mm’s trigger?
    hmmm . . .

    there is not a face or palm big enough to express my awe at such stupidity.

  4. 4
    Ilion says:

    He must pull out his own eyes, and see no creature, before he can say, he sees no God; He must be no man, and quench his reasonable soul, before he can say to himself, there is no God.” — John Donne

  5. 5
    MedsRex says:

    An example of a reductionist materialist note to his spouse:

    “Dear” wife,
    thank “you” for that delicious breakfast “you” left in the fridge for “me”. “I” will be working late tonight so “I” probably won’t be home in time to watch Bill Mahr with “you”. Oh and “Timmy”‘s school called and said “he” was having trouble with algebra and “we” will need to schedule a meeting with “his” teacher. What an inconvenience. All that aside “I’m” off to work.
    “I” “Love” “You”

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