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How Does Evolution Produce Consciousnes/Reason?
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Fist and Faith
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:


Anyway, so far, this seems an awful lot like saying we have no free-will, and our "decisions" are the end product of input into algorithms.


Well...I don't know about algorithmic, necessarily---but yea, that and all similar conceptions of consciousness mean free will is right out.
Algorithms, non-conscious systems; tomato, tomahto. Point is, no free will! Mr. Green
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
They are merely dismissing consciousness, not explaining it.


Yea, sure looks that way. This isn't really much different [and no different in effect] from the various things labeled "illusions" or [in the other direction] God/Magic made it. So, for now anyway, my response is the same as it's been elsewhere. Dodging or denying the question/issue, not addressing/answering it.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not reading it the same way you two are. I'm seeing it more as:
"We aren't going to try to explain what personal awareness is. We don't claim to know what it is. But here are the reasons we believe it does not involve any executive, causal, or controlling relationship with any of the familiar psychological processes conventionally attributed to it."
That's a perfectly acceptable goal. They saw some contradictions between what folk assumption tells us it is and the results of various experiments, dug deeper, and came to this conclusion. I don't assume that, now that they have satisfied themselves in this, they stopped studying consciousness. I wouldn't be surprised if they are at work now trying to explain what personal awareness is.

The problem I have (after reading only a tiny fraction), is in the thinking that the evolutionary advantage comes from consciousness' ability to share content, rather than from consciousness itself. I would think consciousness would have to have come about itself before it could be used to share content. If it came about itself, wouldn't it have needed to be an evolutionary advantage on its own?

I'm reminded of (googling, I guess it is) Kenneth R. Miller's refutation of Behe's "irreducibly complex" idea. Behe said the mousetrap is non-functional without every single part. It would not be a less effective mousetrap with any part missing; it would be completely useless. Someone said that's true, as far as the mousetrap goes. But these couple parts could be a door-knocker; these couple parts could be a tie clip; etc. So it's only irreducibly complex as a mousetrap. But I have a more difficult time seeing awareness as being the the sum of parts that didn't have anything to do with awareness. It's only my gut feeling, but, if correct, awareness would have to have come about as awareness. Rudimentary, at first, of course. And it would have had to have been an evolutionary advantage in order to thrive as it has.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Rudimentary, at first, of course. And it would have had to have been an evolutionary advantage in order to thrive as it has.

Yes, it would HAVE to have evolutionary advantage...especially because it isn't a random, one-time bizarro happenstance. It keeps happening over and over again...and not on just a particular branch/path of evolution...on pretty much ALL of them.
I suppose the claim could be made that all natural information processing systems, once they reach sufficient complexity, have a "side-effect" of awareness-production.

BTW--as far as I have seen, "irreducible complexity" has failed every test when applied to beings/organs/life. Pretty much ONLY "creation science" insists upon it.
The idea seems reasonable/rational. But it never works out checked against critters/evolution. Every "irreducible" body part/function they find does, in fact, have "reduced" antecedents discovered [so far].

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it did not come about over and over again any more than legs did. Maybe it's a common ancestor. Obviously, a much more ancient common ancestor than the one that all tetrapods evolved from. That rudimentary awareness could be nothing more than a response to a stimulus. Which could have evolved in different directions, and to different degrees.

If we think all living things have some form/degree of awareness, then the common ancestor would possibly have been the first living thing. And a degree of awareness would be a defining characteristic of life.

If we don't think all living things are aware, then awareness showed up one day, and was an amazing evolutionary advantage.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Maybe it did not come about over and over again any more than legs did.



If we don't think all living things are aware, then awareness showed up one day, and was an amazing evolutionary advantage.


On the first...legs DID evolve over and over, and so did eyes and most other things.
It's a true thing that in vastly different creatures identical genetic code does vastly different things.
It's a true thing that vastly different code produces the same thing [a wing for instance] in vastly different critters.
Do you see what I'm saying? A single problem can be solved by totally different structure/instruction sets. A single structure/instruction set can solve wildly different problems.
Humans and flies both have eyes, they do the same thing---see stuff. But they're far different. Hell, some [if not all] fly eyes work MECHANICALLY, not chemically, like ours...much like the difference between the needle on a vinyl turntable physically following contours and the laser reading code off a CD.

And yea, some rudimentary form did show up one day. It EMERGED from a context that didn't exist before.
Just like there was H and O around, but nothing with the properties of water until they hooked up in the right conditions.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I can't get you to believe that the brain is more the seat of sentience than the toe is, I don't know how I'll get this point across. But never say die! Very Happy

Reptiles, humans, birds, whales, and so many others are tetrapods. We all descended from the same ancestor. That's why we all have four legs. Or two legs and two arms; legs and wings; still have the gene for legs even though no longer have legs; whatever. All of these animals did not develop legs independently. We all got them from our common ancestor, and then all evolved in different ways.

Yes, there are other critters with legs that are not descended from the tetrapod ancestor, and whose legs developed independently.

My point is that not every species with legs is an example of independently evolved legs. Do all 30 million+ species of insects have a common ancestor that had legs? All insects' come from the legs of their common ancestor. All tetrapods' legs come from the legs of their common ancestor. That's two different beginnings of legs that account for a gigantic number of species with legs.

Perhaps awareness only popped up a few times, in a very rudimentary way, in the distant past; not as many times as there are species with awareness. Perhaps even fewer times than the independent beginnings of legs.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consciousness is "in" the entire nervous system, which includes the brain and your toe. We feel like we're "in" our head due to the perspective of all our sense organs being situated in our head. But that's an illusion. Our largest sense organ is located all over the body. Our body image encompasses all this. While our body image is not the same as our consciousness, I think it's a mistake to think of consciousness as disembodied. Our being is embodied consciousness. Our life is lived through this existential context. I think you're focusing on where the information is processed (brain) rather than where our life is lived.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And yet, when we want to study consciousness, we look at brain activity. Even for people born blind and deaf. We don't hook sensors up to our toe looking for a correspondence between thought and bioelectrical activity. And if my toe is chopped off right now, I will almost certainly not lose my capacity to think, do math, etc, etc. Heck, someone who loses his arms and legs in an accident can learn chemistry if he wants. Damage the brain, otoh...
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
And yet, when we want to study consciousness, we look at brain activity. Even for people born blind and deaf. We don't hook sensors up to our toe looking for a correspondence between thought and bioelectrical activity. And if my toe is chopped off right now, I will almost certainly not lose my capacity to think, do math, etc, etc. Damage the brain, otoh...


Heh...you're being intentionally obtuse, aren't you?

No one is saying that the brain isn't something like the CPU...just that when you say it is where the "I" REALLY "is" you're making a mistake. [[you're being reductive---into the brain...when you seem to really want things to NOT be reducible to physics...Wink ...at least the sentience/mind things...

[[BTW...which part of the brain are you? It's pretty easy to knock out the part that thinks things like "I" and still have a living thing...knock out the parts that DON't understand "I"----at least half of those will stop essential functions instantly...all sorts of localized damage and enhancements can be done that alter function/nature in minute or global ways and varying degrees... Lobotomies may or may not have helped with various mental illnesses---but they DEFINITELY altered personalities/identities...if you can remember being a serial killer, but you aren't now [or vice versa, god forbid], which is really you?...in which of these cases are "YOU" actually dead?

BTW just for fun continued---snakes do, in fact, still have the genes for "legs," as you said-ish. They use them to make penises. Because genes only mean things in given contexts with particular problems to solve.
In most bugs, the same gene sequence can produces wings, legs, or antenna---depending on which part of the body the cell happens to be in, and whether there is an error or not. Note that all those structures perform different functions.]]

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I held back from saying you guys are being intentionally obtuse. Laughing Which part of the toe are you? Which part of sentience/consciousness/mind is knocked out when you lose your toe? Does its removal DEFINITELY alter your personality/identity? Which essential functions will stop, instantly or otherwise, when you lose your toe? Do the sense organs wore down to our toes? Why are they situated in our heads?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most sense organs are situated in our heads because that's the least distance to travel to the brain, making reaction time faster.

Lots of significant experiments into perception, will, consciousness have been performed with fingers, arms, etc. Maybe not toes AFAIK, but the point is the same. Whether it's pushing buttons or using mirrors to produce illusory "phantom limbs," it's all part of studying consciousness. It's not just limited to the brain.

Sense our sense of self is so closely tied to our body image, which is in turn built up from all our sense organs, I can honestly say I'm not being intentionally obtuse. (Maybe unintentionally. Laughing )
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Which part of sentience/consciousness/mind is knocked out when you lose your toe?


I'm not part of my toe, my toe is part of I.
The part that is knocked out is the part that makes you walk right, stand right, know where/what the ground is like. [Not ALL of it...but a piece of it, and other parts will have to do more and different work to make up for it.]

On purpose or not, you keep emphasizing the toe because it is so easily [apparently] done away with.

What if you're born to be Van Gogh...but you have only one eye? Or NO eyes? Or you are color-blind?
Do you think a brain built from nothing, without the sensory extensions, fully integrated, would actually BE sentient? What would it be sentiencing ABOUT?
What would its "I" be comprised of, and in relation to what?
What would its awareness be?
What would be its content, semantic or otherwise?
What thoughts would form?
What would be the syntax of those and why and how?
What the contexts? How would those be organized/structured? For who? By who?
On what material would it work? What would it produce?
By what process could it think "I" "think" 'therefore" in any way whatsoever, let alone as a whole thought sequence "I think, therefore..."

Your sentience is dependent not only out TO your toe, but well through and far beyond it to/with/from things measured in billions+ on every conceivable yardstick.
Many of those have effects immeasurably small---but some alter your I beyond all recognition by "yourself" or anyone else.

But that isn't just a philosophical, meditational, or mystical "everything is one"-ness point/issue. It all is in the causal chain of the topic---HOW is consciousness/reason produced?

In a physical way, toe-ness is part of that chain. If you dismiss it, there will be gaps and holes in the process/understanding/explanation.
And order matters.
Touch and vision and hearing preceded feeling and seeing and listening.
Hardware evolved the software, the detection preceded the processing.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Consciousness is "in" the entire nervous system, which includes the brain and your toe. We feel like we're "in" our head due to the perspective of all our sense organs being situated in our head. But that's an illusion. Our largest sense organ is located all over the body. Our body image encompasses all this. While our body image is not the same as our consciousness, I think it's a mistake to think of consciousness as disembodied. Our being is embodied consciousness. Our life is lived through this existential context. I think you're focusing on where the information is processed (brain) rather than where our life is lived.


I don't understand this. Our largest "sense organ" is what? Our body image? Thats not a "sense organ" is it? Isn't it a perception?

Our largest physical organ is our skin isn't it? And it is sensory via the skin? No? Am I not on the same level of discussion here?

Our brain is the CPU - I get that - it gathers information received through all our senses, sight, noise, smell, taste, touch.

How we think that hinges on our emotional sensors - but what are they? - how is data received to process emotion?

Then thought - thats another level of perception - is that the CPU making sense of everything - of course its not as conveniently objective and technical as having a CPU process data.

Again the toe thing -- Im lost on that point.

Evolution is about adaptation and survival. Survival being the imperative, all animals possess consciousness, process data, to survive. They make choices, develop strategies to take down prey, to safeguard young, they interact with their pack, community.. how are humans different. We have evolved and adapt still to changing environments, stimuli, circumstance, consciousness is how we survive and navigate through life.

Is it really a mystery - that life forms develop consciousness, become sentient? Its vital to every species survival - isn't it?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But brute survival can be achieved perfectly well without the requirement of energy expensive conscious/cognitive processing can't it? After all, millions of species survive - apparently much better than we do in terms of duration [remember - we adapt to survive, but that adaption is in many respects due to failure to maintain our existing slots in the particular ecological niches that other species have moved into; the successful species are those who have stayed the same] - without it. I guess evolving consciousness was just our particular way of surviving in a highly competitive natural environment.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think animal survival (complex beings that is - not single celled organisms) is possible without consciousness.

Let me think what animal can survive without conscious and considered actions?

Cant think of an example ..
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yuval Noah Harare speaks of a 'cognitive revolution' that occured as a result of a 're-wiring' of the human brain about seventy thousand years ago. This [he says] elevated human communication from the simple basic type achieved by many animals [Look out! Lion!] to that of being able to convey much more information [Look out! There was a Lion by the bend in the river earlier but I think it's gone now]. With this development it is postulated, came the raising of 'consciousness' and self-awareness to the levels that we understand them to mean today, in so far as it is only once a complex language has evolved that the 'infrastructure' is in place upon which complex thinking can be built. Is a cat or a dog conscious in the way that we are not having that infrastructure..... mmmm....... I have my doubts [much as I love my cas and consider them much superior to me in most every way except this Wink ].
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The brain can process info without consciousness. It can react to perception without consciousness ( e.g. blindsight). I'm not sure about language, however.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skyweir wrote:


I don't understand this. Our largest "sense organ" is what? Our body image? Thats not a "sense organ" is it? Isn't it a perception?

Our largest physical organ is our skin isn't it? And it is sensory via the skin? No? Am I not on the same level of discussion here?

Our brain is the CPU - I get that - it gathers information received through all our senses, sight, noise, smell, taste, touch.

How we think that hinges on our emotional sensors - but what are they? - how is data received to process emotion?

Then thought - thats another level of perception - is that the CPU making sense of everything - of course its not as conveniently objective and technical as having a CPU process data.

Again the toe thing -- Im lost on that point.

Evolution is about adaptation and survival. Survival being the imperative, all animals possess consciousness, process data, to survive. They make choices, develop strategies to take down prey, to safeguard young, they interact with their pack, community.. how are humans different. We have evolved and adapt still to changing environments, stimuli, circumstance, consciousness is how we survive and navigate through life.

Is it really a mystery - that life forms develop consciousness, become sentient? Its vital to every species survival - isn't it?


commenting on a middle thing first...no, you're not on a different level...your other questions/statements show that. We're just arguing in multiple directions with multiple iterations.

So..your first..we [as a group] are questioning how that is/works.
My view [and I THINK Z mostly agrees] is that the peripherals are PART OF the sentience. Without them you would have a different sentience [with minor peripheral alterations] or NO sentience [with pure separation that Fisty seems to favor].

You can't [I won't rope Z into agreeing with this] separate a sense organ from a perception. Sense organs provide the data for perception, perception depends on sense organs. The JOB of sense organs, the reason they exist AT ALL is because they can become then pass through perception and cause reaction.

Skin is not a sensory organ. Skin is a sack. Nerves stick into/through the sack.

Our emotions aren't sensors. They are output. AFTER the perception, produced by the CPU. Thoughts are as well. They're different in sector and use/procedure [temporarily, at least]...but being "sad" is not an input...it is an out put of a chain like "that hurt, that fucker HURT me, I LOVED him/her/it...I'm sad [or mad or whatever]. That chain can diverge/branch in so many ways CONCURRENTLY, like the worlds most annoying fucking sentence diagram held up to a multi-dimensional mirror.

Skipping to another post...lots of things survive without consciousness. Lots of living things have NO CPU at all, even relatively complicated things.
But there are levels/breaks where everything changes. That's where several of us start talking about emergence.

So when peter says 'brute survival can be achieved perfectly well without consciousness," he's correct. As LONG as all you care about is "brute" and "survival." But the fact is that the shit that matters, and the reason energy is burned is that "brute" is meaningless and anti-survival in itself. The brute fails. It doesn't survive. He has adaptation and failure and maintenance and slots and sameness and niches all kerflubbled.

When Z says a brain can process without consciousness, he's not wrong.
BUT that doesn't mean consciousness isn't superior.

I mean, if there is a flash of light, a roar of sound, and a shaking of the earth, it is your consciousness that makes SURE you know, instantly, if your plane just got shot down, an earthquake [or volcano] just blew your power and took out your city, or Rush just started "Subdivisions."

Consciousness is how you know:
09)(*& LJM*7UM )oShocked;JNKo HOjO3879&*(& 09vNOOLJ#$&?OED
doesn't mean shit [usually---some fucker like Hashi might be encrypting something and didn't give you the goddamn key]
And:
"Sprawling on the fringes of the city in geometric order,
the sum of the squares of the sides of a right triangle equal the square of the hypotenuse,
In between the bright lights and the far unlit unknown."
Means nothing or several things or neither/both/fun.

And Z's uncertainty about language is because it is central evidence or quandary.
We cannot explain what language does---and its doings are everywhere, all the time---if consciousness isn't real in a causal sense. But we cannot. so far, explain how consciousness is causal.
AFAICT, and also by analogy with similar historical conundrums in knowledge, consciousness causal nature is being denied for the same reason many folk thought physics was almost done except for details---they were biased, ignorant, and unimaginative.
[[it's a myth that those folk thought there were very few unsolved physics problems. Only the incompetent ones did. What they thought was that the unsolved ones were "magical" in some sense. Either "Divine mysteries" or "illusions" or "beyond our perception." [the first and last are the same thing except one is on purpose, done by god, the other cuz we're inherently stupid, universally speaking]]]

_________________
the difference between evidence and sources: whether they come from the horse's mouth or a horse's ass.
-------------------------------------------------------
"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
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the hyperbole is a beauty...for we are then allowed to say a little more than the truth...and language is more efficient when it goes beyond reality than when it stops short of it.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I've been saying, Sky, is that sentience is in our brains. The toe came in at the beginning of this discussion, which actually began in the other thread. Anything will do, but the toe is just the example I used, so I've stuck with it. If I lost my toe right now, I would remain sentient. Because sentience is not in my toe; it's in my brain. The toe, as well as everything else about us, feeds input to the brain. The brain would not become sentient without that input. But once sentience is achieved, removing the input does not remove sentience. This is proven by the fact that many people have lost their toe, and remained sentient. Some people have lost entire limbs, even all their limbs, and remained sentient. Some people have have lost all movement and sensation from the neck down, and remained sentient. Some have lost their hearing, vision, whatever, and remained sentient. Because the brain, once sentient, unless it is itself damaged (and, often enough, even then, as my wife's clients with traumatic brain injuries can tell you), remains sentient.

Other people have been born without toes. Or vision; hearing; taste; sense of touch... Yet they are also sentient. Because not all of our senses and body parts are necessary to achieve sentience, even from the beginning. Their sentience/consciousness/personality will be different than it would have been if they had been born with all senses and body parts. And I imagine there are similarities in the ways such people's sentience is different than the greater part of the population that have all senses and body parts. But there is still sentience, because the brain is getting sufficient input to develop sentience. I don't know how much input it needs/how much can be absent from the beginning of life, and still develop sentience.
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