Showing posts with label Mind. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mind. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pure Thought

Jun 21, 2015 -- 10:54AM, Blü wrote:
And can you offer a testable (hence falsifiable) hypothesis about the manner in which thought on its own could exist, could be informed, could change, could remember, could reason, could formulate and articulate (or otherwise communicate) information (&c)?

If so I'd be delighted to pursue your question.

Another way to detect thought is through EEG. The thoughts produced and measured by MRI admittedly a physical process can be observed to be synchronized by mirror neurons, musical expression, and synchrony of movements in animals and people.  These thought patterns can control computers, prosthetics, etc. and the computer interface can process the information to incorporate feedback to refine control like being able to pick up a raw egg.  

Is it not possible that another brain can process, change, remember and reason on, and store the information of this synchronized information?   The information must be physically created originally by a brain, but is the result not observably "pure thought?"  

My observation is that God is nothing more than repeated and memorized fictional reality data created over time by people and incorporated into religious ritual and dogma. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yesterday is up. No, it is East.
What we have learned is that people who speak different languages do indeed think differently and that even flukes of grammar can profoundly affect how we see the world. Language is a uniquely human gift, central to our experience of being human. Appreciating its role in constructing our mental lives brings us one step closer to understanding the very nature of humanity.
Where yesterday is depends on your native language in the title Mandarin and Kuuk Thaayorre (aboriginal Australian) respectively.  I don't know about you but as an English speaker it is behind me.

If you describe a key or a bridge in English, the words you choose have the characteristics of the gender of the word in your native language if that native language is gendered.

A sentence in Japanese where many things seem to me to be personalized I remember from my capital budgeting days is "The air conditioner for our office wants to leak, we are not permitted to repair it, but the building will close its eyes if we do so."

A fascinating article. Linked to study.  Well worth the time. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Science of Meaning.

The Rosetta Stone, information is material, meaning is not - Beliefnet:

I will admit that in the limited world of the study of consciousness there are no tools for studying emergent properties of the working of the brain. And by the way I am not arguing the mind is an immaterial thing, it is an overlay on the brain and depends on a working brain for its existence. But until your scholars of consciousness can provide a reasonable ontological link between brain action and self, other, and fiction, and reliably distinguish between them as a child of 7 or 8 does quite reliably and naturally, we are in the realm of metaphysics not science.

Perhaps self generated dualism is the best way to think about the relationship between the brain and the mind. It is true that the mind "app" can be reduced to material actions of neuron activity, just as any app can be reduced to the the material changes in the state of silicon switches. But the meaning of the app is not found in the relationship of silicon switches, it is found in the usefulness of the app to the mind "app" using it for whatever useful or useless thing the mind finds to do with the app.

The meaning of Facebook is not found in the material state of some server farm somewhere, it is found in the way real people can use it to stay connected to people who they may have no material connection with. I have never met in person several friends on Facebook, due to geographic limitations, but I would have no qualms about sharing an extended visit with any of them. Indeed, I have done so on a couple of occasions. (I will admit to be very selective in my friends list.)

Similarly the meaningful connection between you and me is not found in the state of the switches at the Silicon Valley and the Minneapolis ends of the fiber optic network, it is the way each of our minds works with the data represented by the states of those switches. Please note that the state of our brains is no more relevant than the state of those switches.

I don't think scientists can think about the issues of mind and meaning as scientists. They just don't have the scientific tools.

I can't prove, but suspect, that the brain processes the information about self, other in the real sense of a known other real person, and a fictional character like God made, after all, in the image of self in much the same way neurologically. All have faces, bodies, emotions, needs, likes, dislikes, etc, that I suspect are processed in the same brain spaces dedicated to tracking those things. But somehow a healthy rational mind can keep the differences sorted out correctly and is able to process information derived from each stored source in an appropriate manner. I am skeptical that the scientists will ever be able to distinguish the stored information about, for example God in a believer, from the stored information about self. Yet the mind does this quite reliably most of the time. Although some of the people posting here make one wonder about how reliable the mind is in this function.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Mind?

Where Is The Mind? - Beliefnet :

"Lets be honest here. In Christian myth, human minds created God, in order to create and sustain their little universe. Y'know the circle of the earth with the canopy of the heavens and a pile of dirt to turn into a human in the image of the minds that created God."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mind research

The error of mind-body dualism - Beliefnet

If you have a better excellent summary [of mind research] to hand, grateful if you lay it on us.
"If I had one I would. The science is still barely in its infancy. It was almost aborted by the skeptic crowd and Randi who declared that anything but the standard five senses was by definition either supernatural or magic. Most of it was, but they intimidated research into neurosciences and consciousness research. Partly by setting standards for success waaaaay to high. And partly because it was infringing on the forbidden territory of God's duality.

Esp as an example is an intensely emotional phenomenon. The Rhine and PEAR studies have foundered on trying to produce results without the emotional content. But ask an early pair bonded couple how they know it is the right pair, and all you get is a shrug. We just know. Ask teilhard how he knows God, and all you get is E-X-P-E-R-I-E-N-C-E. Guess what? He is telling the truth. Science won't touch that with a double insulated 20 foot pole.

Science is still afraid of esp it is a grant killer big time. People on the periphery will earnestly try to find "rational" explanations for obvious esp phenomena like the dog knowing when master is getting off the bus a block away, or how a school of fish avoid a predator. Or how a quintet synchronizes everything they do including the emotional content of the music even if the pianist is blind. I was at a concert last night where a chamber choir performed an extremely difficult new music piece commissioned just last year. The choir was scattered around the stage in no apparent order with at least 6 ft. spacing between singers. How they held it together was either God, esp, or magic. I will bet on esp.

It is only recently that the kinesthetic senses are being investigated, although gymnasts, pianists, and dancers have known about them almost as long as they have been doing their thing. Ask a pianist how they play an Ab minor arpeggio and they look at you funny and say what do you mean how? You just play it. I recently found out I have a muscle memory disability. I have known about it since I took typing in high school, but everybody said I was just stupid. It is easier to say stupid, than research a tenuous phenomenon

If I sound bitter, it is because I had a very frustrating childhood, I could do anything physically as long as it was one thing at a time. 40 WPM no mistakes first week in typing class. But I still can't type my name without doing it one letter at a time. Stupid, lazy, careless, just some of the names used instead of disability. I finally figured it out for myself, after crashing routinely on a double back with a full twist. It was one too many things to do in the time I had to do it, and the muscle memory wasn't there to help. 30 years later science caught up. No esp there, that is a different subject. Just a different brain function. And science wouldn't touch it."

I have no doubt that infringing on the remaining gaps filled by God, as in "God helped me do it" is still intimidating to scientists. The right wingers have no problem with exposing "wasteful grants" for what they deem useless research.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Determinism, Randomness, and the Mind

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will
It seems to me that if brain-function is random, then its product, reason, cannot be relied upon at all.
J'C: "Random with sophisticated feedback can produce quite meaningful results. Think random error in gene duplication with the feedback of selection and one gets a meaningful result of a new successful species, or a meaningful result of a lethal mutation.

I think cause and effect have very little to do with mind/brain function. Essentially the sensory stimulus is random or at least so voluminous that the first cut by the mind can be thought of as eliminating data points that do not conform to an existing pattern in the nerve cells feeding data to the brain, in other words eliminating worthless random stimuli. Apparently the first cut in the retina is an edge. The first feedback loop is that an edge might be useful and the brain 'requests' data from around the edge. If the data around the edge form the capital 'I' the mind says 'Pay attention this is critical data!' Another feedback loop may say forget it it is just a bridge girder, and the mind moves on, and the cause bridge girder resembling an 'I' has no lasting effect.

The important functions of the brain/mind are these feedback loops that correlate fresh input with existing data to reinforce or weaken the data points. Trying to identify cause and effect is an endless chase through the feedback loops unless one reasonably shortstops the process as the mind does and says this stimulus reproducibly is associated with this response and is a cause and effect relationship."

Friday, October 16, 2009

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will --Randomness

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community: "I am quite comfortable with the randomness of living. Unlike some of the hard theists here, I think causality is the exception rather than the rule. If God is watching over anybody Hesh is doing a lousy job. In my view free will is expressed by how we react to the random events that color our lives including that huge one of our inevitable death. Our lives began with the random meeting of gametes, and random events like finding and losing friends, and lovers define how we choose to live. I live my life intentionally, in that I choose which random events I wish to react to and how I do so. Free will is not even an issue, there is no compulsion to do anything I choose not to do. Although things may happen that I must choose to react to. But there is always a choice. When the green car came flying over the center barrier into my lane, I could choose to do nothing and experience the fun of a high speed head on, or I could choose to steer as close to the barrier as I could. One might say the choice was forced, but it was still a choice. Making good choices is the essence of living in a random world."

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will ---Solipcism

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community

I need the axiom to get rid of solipsism &c.

What is wrong with solipsism? It needs to be recognized, understood and controlled, but even your axioms are fundamentally solipsistic. They are what you believe and what make you comfortable with your relationship with the material world. Pretending otherwise may cater to your materialism, but does not get rid of the solipsism.

I have no problem with solipsism. As a wonderful quote from Heinlein notes, 'Sometimes she goes away, but I am always here.' That is how I know the relationship of self with the rest of the world. I do not doubt the reality of the rest of the world, even when it 'goes away' but I do know the difference between self and other."

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community:
Forgetting 'random' for the time being -- if the brain's random we might as well pack up and go home --

What everyone is forgetting is that random is not an either/or condition. In fact rationality might be defined as reasonable responses to random events that occur both internally to the brain and externally as in spilled cumin in the curry. (Should I eat it or spit it out?) The brain has sophisticated feedback that evaluates odd inputs either internal or external to see if it is important to current events in the mind. That random linear flash of reflected sunlight might be nothing. In the vicinity of a passing car the brain will ignore it. But in a crowd of people the brain might decide to direct the full attention of the mind to look for danger associated with such linear flashes. Many millions of years of separating out dangerous random signals from similar random signals that are normal patterns in the environment make dealing with the randomness of the environment a critical survival trait.

The brain's internal random juxtapositions of thought patterns is the essence of human creativity and free will. A vaguely remembered dream of a snake biting its tail juxtaposed to a vexing structural chemical problem may be responsible for modern organic chemistry. One can play the determinism game all night long and say August Kekulé had the dream because of a logical train of subconscious thought on his problem, but the waking correlation of the dream to the problem at hand seems to be deterministically improbable to the point of ridiculousness. The mind might be envisioned as a laser cavity of random thought processes that reinforce to produce meaningful waves or flow past each other without hooking up at that time. Sooner or later less important thought processes are relegated to the memory for future use as needed, (don't ask me how the mind knows they are needed, or how it retrieves them from the memory, I am not that smart.) But I do know that the mind is extremely versatile in processing that endless stream of data.

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will -- Peek-a-boo

Determinism, Randomness, and Free Will - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community:
As I said, the only non-arbitrary starting point for knowledge to begin, which is implicit in all knowledge, is the distinction between something which is observed and ourselves as observers of it. Before we can know anything about anything, we must first observe something which we subsequently attempt to know (ie determine the nature of).

A recent AI article in Scientific American noted that peek-a-boo is the AI holy grail. I have been thinking about that a lot recently, not only because peek-a-boo is fun to play with kids, but because an infant in the cradle can play peek-a-boo with a relative stranger and still tell the difference between self and other no matter which of them is doing the hiding. I would agree that the distinction between the observed and ourselves as observers and interpreters of what is observed is fundamental.

I think Blü is entitled to his axioms:
There is a world external to the self. The senses are capable of perceiving this world. Reason is a valid tool.
They describe the reality that he observes, just as the theist is entitled to the axiom that all observations are manifestations of the will of God, and Descartes is entitled to his view that observations are manifestations of his will. I agree that Blü's axioms are probably the best description of our interactions with what we observe, but he has no greater claim to TRUTH than the bible thumpers.

I have no problem with a separate material external reality that we can discover and manipulate with science and technology. I also have no problem with a separate internal reality in other people by which they view the world. If it includes a God that watches over them and will take care of them if they pray hard enough
how hard, hard enough to make water flow uphill. Lazarus Long
that is as much their privilege as it is Blü's and mine to depend on materialistic science and technology. I find the God that many pray to is worthless, but it is still their free choice to do so. Sometimes I would like to warn them that God and Herm followers are subject to evolution just like all the other animals out there, but it would do no good, and probably annoy them in the process.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What is "Real"?

What is "real?" : "

What do you mean by 'real'?

"Since everybody else is playing dodge-ball with this issue, let me try. Real for the human mind or brain if you prefer, is a conception of an object external to the mind that can be described with sufficient precision to be identifiable to others as a similar conception in their mind of sufficient power and experience. Hence, rocks, rainbows, even virtual particles are real. A mythical entity such as Santa Claus can be considered to be real, as the conception is of an object that can be described and understood by others, even though certain properties may be differently conceived by different minds and the referent of the myth is fictional.

Please note that even the magical aspects of Santa Claus, the flying reindeer, the self replenishing present supply, can be considered real at the unsophisticated child level although the sophistication is not age related. An adult given no opportunity to understand the differences among magical, mythical, and material reality may not be able to conceive the difference.

Maturity of mind allows us to separate reality into categories like magical, mythical, material, and conceptual among others depending on the sophistication of the mind involved. The big bang, or inflation, is a conceptual reality for those able to deal with the concept of best explanation of reality to date but not necessarily a material reality. "

So for me, reality's (first) what's out there and (second) the reasoned inclusion of oneself in the resulting picture.

Which eliminates all of the interesting conceptual, fictional and mythical things that inform and amuse the mind, which of course does not exist in your material world. I find your material world orderly, understandable, and boring. I much prefer the messy, incomprehensible, wonder-filled world of the mind, where truth is not found by observation but by understanding.

You can borrow my Vintage Playboy collection if you get too bored.

Typical materialist. Just look at the pictures and you don't have to deal with the interesting conceptual, fictional and mythical complexities of a real woman.

I will go with the materialists that consciousness or mind is supported by neural activity of the brain. Where I differ from them is that consciousness is not dependent on input from the sensual processing areas of the brain, but uses selected data from those areas and creates a relationship between itself and the rest of the world as sensed, and in addition provides self referential feedback on how to manage that relationship.

Pain input from the senses, causes the reflex action to minimize the pain, but also triggers the consciousness to analyze the source of the pain, and the consciousness will analyze the cause of the pain and figure out ways to avoid it in the future, or perhaps decide that it is a necessary accessory to some other project the consciousness has in its in-box. The easiest way to avoid the pain of a hot stove is to stay away from hot stoves. But the consciousness says I'm hungry and some scrambled eggs would be good right now, and that means go near that dreadful hot stove. Be careful Y'all.

As noted I have no problem with the mind being supported by neural activity of the brain, but I would bet long odds against sombody with a fMRI being able to say "Here lies the mind"

Material or immaterial mind?

The mythical "non-fundamentalist atheist":

Isn't the mind and brain the same thing?

I would think that even a strict materialist would say no. Certainly an intricate series of neural firings supports what we think of as the mind, but the intricate feedback loop between the working of the mind and the neural actions which support and are affected by the working of the mind strongly suggest a separate conceptual entity. It certainly develops with the brain and ceases to exist when the brain ceases to function, no dualism here, but I find the mind to be a separate entity.

To an idealist, no - the brain (and all other matter) is an 'objectification' of mind which is non- material.

To a realist ****waves hand and says "Teacher call on me!"**** both the material and the immaterial exist in reality. A rainbow exists only in the mind, damn the pedants who draw ray diagrams to show it is merely (sic) an optical phenomenon. The rock I stubbed my toe on was real and material, the pain was real and immaterial. I didn't imagine the pain.

No, the pain was not immaterial.

Yeah, it was just the firing of neurons telling the mind "Hey dipshit, you just fuckedup. Don't do it again.

Now, was the mind's response to that firing of neurons material?

The Mind, making sense of chaos.

The mythical "non-fundamentalist atheist" - Discuss Atheism - Beliefnet Community: "The conscious mind evolved or emerged if you wish, to make sense of the chaotic material input presented to the brain by the senses. To take a simple example, at a large cocktail party with many conversations going on with perhaps music and other random noises are presented to the brain by the auditory nerve complex. The mind needs to separate out the important noises, like the conversation one is engaged in. It can even sort out ones name mentioned in a conversation across the room. Visual stimuli are even more chaotic. Reality is much too messy to deal with in its unfiltered existence. Hence the mind to make sense of the data overload."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Human Mind Trumps everything

Belief Corner: Religious and Political Debate - Educated out of God?: "Yep. and the human mind trumps everything.

When the human brain finally matures it potentially, note, potentially not necessarily, is able to override both genetic and environmental programming to take control of its destiny. It may not have complete freedom of action, Steven Hawking cannot control the disease in control of his body, and John Nash had to overcome his probably genetic schizophrenia, but their minds were able to control their mental destiny. Extreme cases to be sure, but functioning adult downs syndrome people, who are making the best of their limited mental capabilities are common enough to be seen frequently in public.

Most people with disabilities either genetic or environmental, need help and support both medical and emotional to assume control, and it certainly is not automatic, but it is possible and happens frequently enough that I will stand by my statement that the human mind trumps all. It is of course a choice to play the trump, and some chose not to. A tightly controlled religious upbringing is the most common environmental programming that is accepted without question by the mind and the trump to override is never played. But enough are, even in tight fundamentalist societies, that the mind even trumps God."

This was in response to one of those tedious nature vs nurture debates with respect to God beliefs. The preceeding imo renders the whole subject moot.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What makes a social animal.

Brain Cells for Socializing | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine:

"Allman likes to show a clip from a documentary about a group of African elephants that adopted an orphaned calf. When the baby elephant falls into a water hole, the matriarch quickly marches in, followed by the others. Together she and a second female use their tusks, trunks and legs to free the calf from the muck. Another animal paws at the steep bank with its foot, building a ramp the youngster uses to climb to safety. 'It's really remarkable,' says Allman of how the elephants rapidly sized up the crisis and worked together to save the baby. 'It's a very high sort of functioning that very few animals are able to do. And,' he adds with a chuckle, 'humans can do it only on good days.'"

An amazing article on a particular high speed nerve cell in the brain that seems to facilitate the recognition of social signals in a few highly social intelligent species like higher primates, elephants, whales, dolphins, and orcas.