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How Does Evolution Produce Consciousnes/Reason?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
isn't this the point: that we have reached a point - or are fast reaching it - where our consciousness (useless by-product of otherwise) has shouldered our evolution out of the game! We are the first organisms in the history of Earth with the power to make ourselves as we choose to be, not to be forced to go where the blind rails of evolution takes us! And this is down to that very mind, that very consciousness that evolution may or may not have provided us with.


Incoherence! Contradiction! Paradox!
If consciousness is only effectless waste/pollution, it has no causal power. You/I/No one "chooses" anything. We are STILL blind, and would/can/will have gone the same way with or without consciousness.

BTW, noise from a jet engine does, in fact, affect the ability of the engine to move the plane forward. It DECREASES that capacity. A noiseless engine would be far more efficient at its job. Getting rid of the noise is BETTER. Getting rid of consciousness, therefore, is BETTER.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not say that consciousness is waste by-product V. (check above) - the point is irrelevant; the point is that however it has been produced (by evolution, as an 'emergent' serendipitous property - not evolved, as I observe above, waste by-product or otherwise) ...... it has risen to the top of the game! Evolution is for the birds - it's yesterday's man, and if you don't believe it check out the work announced with a big fanfare on the BBC news yesterday about work being performed on the DNA of pre divided zygotes by the crispr gene editing system. And if you swallow the scientist's oh so heart-felt assurances that " this work will never be used for the purpose of enhancing or designing embryos - that is not it's intention" .......... then, I don't know what! Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm slowly working my way back into this discussion ...


Vraith wrote:

A lot of words just to say that some forms of life/survival are possible without consciousness. But the further up the complexity chain you go, the more necessary it is...at some point in that chain, things survive and evolve to what they are BECAUSE they are conscious to some extent.
I think the last point is on the right track: consciousness affects evolution, perhaps even directs it. That makes evolution teleological, to some extent, which goes against the mainstream scientific orthodoxy that it's all random, accidental, purposeless. [Natural selection, of course, isn't random, so perhaps all we need here is an expanded meaning of that term. Perhaps it's best to think of this situation as us having been part of the natural selection process for a long time.]

However, your second point is the very point in contention. Why would consciousness become more necessary the farther up you go in complexity?

Consider this:

Quote:
Hoffman: Right. The classic argument is that those of our ancestors who saw more accurately had a competitive advantage over those who saw less accurately and thus were more likely to pass on their genes that coded for those more accurate perceptions, so after thousands of generations we can be quite confident that we're the offspring of those who saw accurately, and so we see accurately. That sounds very plausible. But I think it is utterly false. It misunderstands the fundamental fact about evolution, which is that it's about fitness functions-mathematical functions that describe how well a given strategy achieves the goals of survival and reproduction. The mathematical physicist Chetan Prakash proved a theorem that I devised that says: According to evolution by natural selection, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but is just tuned to fitness. Never.


This is from a discussion about whether consciousness shows us an accurate reality, but it applies to consciousness/intelligence in general. Being conscious/intelligent could never make an organism more fit than simply being "tuned to fitness" by natural selection--for instance, being given a set of instincts that govern behavior in a thoughtless, automatic, non-reasoning manner.

We assume that those ancestors who could reason better--i.e. more accurately and penetratingly--had a survival advantage, and therefore their less reasonable competitors were continuously culled from the gene pool. But the same brains that produce science now used to produce only superstition. "Reason" in the beginning was basically mythology that worked, a host of superstitious rituals that accidentally tapped into scientific patterns (like when to plant and harvest, all sorts of moral codes that just happen to reduce disease, etc.). Creating fictions was useful in reality. In fact, the few humans in history who came along and figured out more accurate views of reality (like Galileo) were often persecuted, not rewarded with reproductive success.

And, of course, most people are followers, doing what everyone else does not because they're conscious and intelligent, but because of habit and social pressure. AND YET! All humans have the capacity for rational thought, if they were only taught to use this (basically) worthless skill that they never use, that evolution just so happened to give them ... for some reason.

Consciousness/intelligence doesn't make you more fit. Hell, single-celled organisms have been around a lot longer and survive in more harsh environments than any human, and they achieve that degree of "fitness" without any consciousness whatsoever (presumably). What consciousness enables is complexity and a deepening relationship with reality ... not fitness. Consciousness didn't evolve to enable these particular bodies to come into being. It's almost as if these bodies evolved to enable this particular kind of consciousness to come into being.


Vraith wrote:

I'd say the Blindsight thing that you mentioned supports much of what I've said. The individuals can, to some extent, get by. But what the examples I've seen show is this: a person with the condition reacts only at a level greater than chance in some specific conditions. A person without the condition reacts with nearly 100% accuracy under those conditions and very wide variety of other conditions.
Accuracy isn't the issue. The possibility is what's important. In blindsight, something has gone wrong with the brain. Of course a functioning brain is going to work better. What's amazing is that the organism is reacting with any degree of accuracy, despite the existential difference between the two situations.* Given such an astounding possibility, one can imagine evolution honing it to work much better. One could even imagine "blindmind," for which every function is replaced by a non-conscious counterpart.

After all, isn't this precisely what we're building with computers? These are physical entities that react meaningfully to their environments--they even "see" and "hear" their environments--without any consciousness of that environment whatsoever. If we humans can encode those possibilities into reality, the mechanism that produced DNA and all life on earth could surely make use of similar possibilities. Consciousness simply isn't necessary for even the most complex interactions with the world.

... not unless we're missing something important (which, of course, I think we are).

*[Your point might be better made with inattentional blindness, in which we're basically blinded by our own inattention, not by something going wrong in the brain. Turning our attention to something allows us to see it--and more importantly--to see through illusions. This is how stage magic works. So the survival advantage of consciousness would be plausible in those cases--we wouldn't be so easily tricked into false conclusions.]
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Isn't consciousness as we experience it an emergent property resulting (most likely) from the 'cognitive revolution' - essentially a rewiring of the connections within the brain that occurred about 70,000 years ago, allowing for much greater communication of information via sophisticated language.
However it occurred, there must have been a genetic possibility prior to the cultural actuality. So this doesn't get rid of the questions of this thread: how did evolution shape us to be so smart? How did evolution produce consciousness in the first place?

I understand that once the ball gets rolling, language and culture evolve on their own. But the same brain that hunted and gathered in the plains of Africa has now made its way to the Moon. Surely we can't just sweep that mystery under the rug and pretend it's not surprising.

peter wrote:
Would not the intelligence needed to be able to survive in the brutally hard environment of the pre-civilised world be every bit as great as that needed to produce the calculus, rendering the argument of early humans having an excess of surplus intelligence simply wrong?
But every organism on earth (at the time) survived the "brutally hard environment of the pre-civilized world," including the 99.99% that didn't have human intelligence. If squirrels didn't need to be smart enough to do calculus, then why did humans?

Regarding the hypothesis that our decision process isn't actually conscious:

Vraith wrote:

From what I can tell---only having access to abstracts and blurbs about the research, not the works themselves---there is a whole lot of unjustified overreaching, overstating, and speculating going on.
Quick examples.
I agree. One of the first experiments of this nature I encountered involved pushing a button once you see a light. Measurements of the part of the brain responsible for moving the finger showed that it started working prior to the parts of the brain responsible for the conscious experience of deciding to move the finger. So we began to act before deciding, and then our conscious mind catches up after the fact.

But this example is misleading. First of all, we've already made the conscious decision to act at the beginning of the experiment, prior to any light coming on. Secondly, we have always known that our body can act by habit, instinct, or "autopilot." The question is not whether we act consciously in split second decisions (where one might suppose evolution favored those who didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it, making a decision), but whether we act consciously in general, especially for complex actions that are unique to humans, rather than simple motor functions that any animal might make.

Your examples are good, too. I agree that we operate differently in learning a skill and then after it is learned.

Orlion wrote:
I wonder if consciousness is more of a "gather info/make future decisions" sort of mechanism than a "make decisions now" kind!

So instead of making a choice "in the moment", your brain makes up its mind based upon what "came before", leaving consciousness to gather up intel to be used to make future decisions.
Excellent! I like it. As I was saying with the button/light experiment above, making decisions in the moment isn't what counts, for the purpose of this discussion. Mulling things over in order to produce things like calculus--or future plans--cannot be 'explained away' by calling decision-making an illusion.

Peter wrote:

If consciousness is an emergent property doesn't this imply that it wasn't actually the product of evolution at all? In this scenario it would be something else that evolved - say for example increased neuronal connectivity pertaining to some other area of brain function, I don't know, say sensory input data collation - from which the new property of consciousness 'emerged' fully formed by chance as it were.
This is a good answer. Evolution does in fact make use of existing features and "repurpose" them for something else. However, the idea that intelligence could have emerged fully formed seems extremely unlikely, to me. Given the amount of feedback loops in the brain, the complex interconnections necessary to accomplish the feat of intelligence, it would be like finding a computer accidentally "fully formed" in nature.

I realize that this employs logic used by Intelligent Design creationists--which I tend to dismiss--but as Thomas Nagel (an atheist) points out in MIND AND COSMOS, scientists have been too quick to dismiss the logic of ID creationists, due to an anti-religious bias. They assume that creationists' conclusions are wrong, and therefore so is the logic they use to arrive at those conclusions. But that's a fallacious way to reason.

Peter wrote:
I'd like to just post a quote from a book - Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harare - that I came across [by chance] last night that seems pertinent to this thread.

Quote:
Finally, some scientists conclude that consciousness is real and may actually have great moral and political value, but that it fulfils no biological function whatsoever. Consciousness is the biologically useless by-product of certain brain processes. Jet engines roar loudly, but the noise doesn't propel the airplane forward. Humans don't need carbon dioxide, but every breath fills the air with more of the stuff. Similarly, consciousness might be a kind of mental pollution produced by the firing of complex neural networks. It doesn't do anything - it's just there. If this is true, it implies that all the pain and pleasure experienced by billions of creatures for millions of years is just mental pollution. This is certainly a thought worth thinking even if it isn't true. but it is quite amazing that as of 2016 this is the best theory of consciousness that contemporary science has to offer us.
Very interesting. Also very problematic. In my opinion, it seems utterly inappropriate to compare the loud noise of a jet engine to the consciousness that produced the jet engine. Obviously, our consciousness isn't just noise. In a fundamental sense, it propels the airplane forward even more than the engines themselves, because those engines wouldn't exist if not for this "noise." Pollution is usually waste product, a consequence of entropy. Intelligence is just the opposite: a phenomenon that increases order in the universe.

Vraith wrote:
isn't this the point: that we have reached a point - or are fast reaching it - where our consciousness (useless by-product of otherwise) has shouldered our evolution out of the game! We are the first organisms in the history of Earth with the power to make ourselves as we choose to be, not to be forced to go where the blind rails of evolution takes us! And this is down to that very mind, that very consciousness that evolution may or may not have provided us with.


I agree that this is an extremely important point. Check my discussion with Fist and Faith in the Close, his thread about freewill. Closer to the end of that discussion, I argue that materialistic determinism makes it impossible for one to distinguish between natural evolution and mankind taking control of his own evolution. If it's all just a consequence of purposeless particles following the rules of chemistry/physics, then there is no difference ... and yet, this is plainly false, because genetic engineering is a purposeful enterprise entirely different from the blind process of natural selection.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the broad idea in physics is to figure out the basic functions for the graphs of basic particle activity or whatever, the ones that in principle add up to us, the reduction question is whether there are some functions that get graphed, that are not just composite functions for quantum graphs. For example, either an event might be mapped part by part as the universe "processes information," and the appearance of a total action summed over the parts would be reducible to the sum as such. However, what if an event were graphed--the particles of its movements ordered--according to a function ranging over more than a single instant of time? Like a song versus a note? Then when we got a certain appearance of a totality over the sum, this would appear to be telic in character, maybe. And conscious telos would be the long-sum graph emerging from the activity of given beings.

You might say: the capacity to make long-term plans expresses something like a fundamental physical force or constant or parameter or whatever, that significantly ranges over single-moment-in-time causation. Yet if the worldline were merely the aggregate of instants like so, how could it give rise to pre-total representations? So long-term information-processing functions and their associated graphs, might seem to exist in such a way that a preestablished harmony manifests, as it were, between the macroscopic determination of the universe by conscious objects, and the microscopic quantum graphspace.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow...just too much that should be talked about. For some reason this one draws attention most, given time constraints:

Zarathustra wrote:
peter wrote:


Would not the intelligence needed to be able to survive in the brutally hard environment of the pre-civilised world be every bit as great as that needed to produce the calculus, rendering the argument of early humans having an excess of surplus intelligence simply wrong?
But every organism on earth (at the time) survived the "brutally hard environment of the pre-civilized world," including the 99.99% that didn't have human intelligence. If squirrels didn't need to be smart enough to do calculus, then why did humans?

I'd say no, peter. And it's not about "need," Z [though I think your "'why" question, and most of the rest you've said indicates you already have thoughts in that direction. I'm fairly sure of that---but I've been known to misunderstand a thing or two you've said Smile].
It's about excess. The peoples DIDN't need all that brain power, they weren't using it for brute survival. That's why they party and play music and make jewelry. Also more practical and important things like fire and the wheel.
I'm not saying mutation and selection stopped happening.
But there was something like a phase change. The excess was not a necessity for survival...but the capacity was advantageous, and selection began operating on different parameters, a new level.
I mean, there are other species that survive in multiple environments. Cats, dogs/wolves, bears, dolphins, whales, bees, sharks, birds, snakes, etc, etc.
But the scale of physical/biological change/adaptation in order to do so is enormous compared to OUR physical/biological changes.
Our bodies didn't need to change much, just some tweaking, [and even that wasn't necessary, just minutely more advantageous] because of our ideas.

Also, peter, I know you didn't say consciousness isn't causal, but the sources you were sharing were making that claim in stronger and weaker forms.
Take the line that consciousness had no biological function, but still has moral and political value. Ummm...value to who, exactly, and by what means??
It seems to me, IF there is no biological effect, THEN:
Plato didn't ponder ideas and inscribe the Allegory of the Cave.
No, his non-conscious "instincts" simply caused him to obtain all the necessary tools for scribing, "made" him write things down---things with no "real" meaning, just an illusion of thought, or the psychic equivalent of piss, sweat, and shit. And no person[s] read, understood, copied, shared, or translated it. It only "seems" to mean something because our brains all produce similar wastelands in our heads [those who agree, disagree, comprehend, or fail to merely have slight variations in their mental miasma].
It can't have any value of any kind because it can't DO anything. All the actions/effects are non-conscious. Just the "reading instinct" somehow agreeing, disagreeing, comprehending, failing to, without anyone "knowing" anything.
Where, why, and how did all these instinctual, purely physical, stimuli/responses to the abstract, the symbolic, the analogical, the representational come about?

Z--I started reading that link, then realized I'd seen the it before at Quanta [a place I visit fairly frequently].
There are many, many criticisms to make of it...including that the supposed "proof" is no such thing...if/when I have more time, I might come back to it. It's a complex thing.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are many strange aspects to this subject we have not touched on yet: for example some workers have postulated the existence of an intrinsic property of the universe of which we have as yet no knowledge. Anaesthetist and neuroscientist Stuart Hameroff has worked with physicist Roger Penrose on ideas that consciousness may be somehow explained as "patterns in the fundamental quantum granularity of space-time geometry". Jung believed not only in a collective unconscious, but also in a single consciousness of which we all partake in small measure.

But one of the main problems of consciousness (collectively known in the trade as 'the hard problem' {irony intended}) is what defines it's edges; what decides of all the brains activities 'this will be conscious, but this not'. There are a hundred million neurones around the stomach - the enteric neural network - but we have no consciousness there. If we see the conscious self arising out of the purely physical activity of the brain then we reduce it to a mere bundle of thoughts, and then we must explain why some bundles of thoughts - of neuronal activity - are given precedence over others as 'conscious'. And where is that decision made - and who by? Is there another 'self' behind the self here, and are we getting into the land of infinite regression?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
peter wrote:
Would not the intelligence needed to be able to survive in the brutally hard environment of the pre-civilised world be every bit as great as that needed to produce the calculus, rendering the argument of early humans having an excess of surplus intelligence simply wrong?
But every organism on earth (at the time) survived the "brutally hard environment of the pre-civilized world," including the 99.99% that didn't have human intelligence. If squirrels didn't need to be smart enough to do calculus, then why did humans?
I think I've mentioned, at one point or another in the last almost-fifteen years, what a friend once said. I wondered why cars could go as fast as they can, since it's more dangerous and illegal to drive them that fast. Make them able to only go 65, and there would be fewer accidents and speeding tickets. He said that, if they could only go 65, it would take a long time to get to 65. Being able to go 150 means you can get to 65 in a more reasonable amount of time.

Maybe the same with intelligence. Maybe having the capacity to do calculus is what allowed us to start doing arithmetic when we did. If we only had the capacity to do arithmetic, maybe we would not have gotten even that far yet.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sound point Fist.

As a bit of an aside, I've been quite interested of late to be reading to what an extent 'Natural Selection' is being .....superseded[?]..... in the strict sense of the Darwinian Theory by the current thinking of many evolutionary biologists. In particular the 'gene' based adaptive evolution of Dawkins et al is increasingly being seen as inadequate to explain many behaviors/traits observed in nature [the peacock's tail being the most well known example] and selective pressures opperating at higher levels of organisation than simple genes are being considered. Might it not be that it is the very manner in which we have been to an extent 'hogtied' into 'evolution by natural selection' that has so impeded our advancing in respect of an understanding of the nature of Mind and the origins of consciousness?

[Nb. Stephen J Gould in particular was highly doubtful as to the ability of Dawkins gene-based approach to answer the many and varied questions of Evolution.]
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
Might it not be that it is the very manner in which we have been to an extent 'hogtied' into 'evolution by natural selection' that has so impeded our advancing in respect of an understanding of the nature of Mind and the origins of consciousness?
I don't know what the problem is. Countless people have been thinking about this for centuries. And plenty of them have been entirely willing to disregard 'evolution by natural selection', and every other theory that had been suggested by their time. And we've had a century of Einstein's lesson that you can accomplish extraordinary things by trying something that might seem absurd. And there are geniuses in every field of thought.

And yet, as far as I can tell (Z will please correct me if I'm wrong), they're isn't even much of a consensus on the answers to some of the basic questions regarding consciousness. What is the problem?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the POV of the universe, if you will, all objects are just patterns of geometrical motion, yet conscious beings do not have just one sense that indiscriminately represents all things, but a manifold of different senses. There seems to be some obscure distinction, then, between the quantification of the universe (the geometry and algebra of its objects) and the qualia of consciousness thereof.

EDIT: Also, from the universe's POV, the shapes of clusters of particles all result from the motions of specific particles. Yet conscious beings who can make plans, represent motion over far more than the Planck time of quantum particle flow. How does consciousness exist in more than one unit of quantum time at once? That is, if consciousness seems to encompass a present that is "wider" than the Planck length (so to speak), but if all things in the universe are no more than aggregates of effects of activity in this length of time, then where is consciousness's power coming from? Wouldn't we only ever be conscious after our mind had already processed all the information it ever would? Why is there this essential "gap" between consciousness and what it applies to?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
... if they could only go 65, it would take a long time to get to 65. Being able to go 150 means you can get to 65 in a more reasonable amount of time.

Maybe the same with intelligence. Maybe having the capacity to do calculus is what allowed us to start doing arithmetic when we did. If we only had the capacity to do arithmetic, maybe we would not have gotten even that far yet.
I'm not sure about the logic that you must be able to do harder tasks in order to do easier ones faster. It's possible that some people could do simple math faster than someone who can do more complex math slowly. IDK
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Fist and Faith wrote:
... if they could only go 65, it would take a long time to get to 65. Being able to go 150 means you can get to 65 in a more reasonable amount of time.

Maybe the same with intelligence. Maybe having the capacity to do calculus is what allowed us to start doing arithmetic when we did. If we only had the capacity to do arithmetic, maybe we would not have gotten even that far yet.
I'm not sure about the logic that you must be able to do harder tasks in order to do easier ones faster. It's possible that some people could do simple math faster than someone who can do more complex math slowly. IDK
IDK either. Just a thought. And, actually, I guess I'm inclined to assume that, as a species, the capacity to do calculus did not come with the capacity to do arithmetic. Not all one package. I imagine more complex math requires the capacity to think in different ways than is needed for simple arithmetic. And those different ways of thinking probably came along bit by bit, as the brain evolved.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mig raises the additional problem of our perception of the world as a continuum when in fact our brain is recreating it's model of reality on an instant by instant basis: a reflection of the Universe's trick of pulling being from instant to instant as future threads run through the eye of the present needle into the tapestry of past. As above so below? Smile
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:

Z--I started reading that link, then realized I'd seen the it before at Quanta [a place I visit fairly frequently].
There are many, many criticisms to make of it...including that the supposed "proof" is no such thing...if/when I have more time, I might come back to it. It's a complex thing.
Interesting. I have some criticism of it, too. I'd like to read others' thoughts on it, if you have a link, or we could discuss it here. I don't really buy his argument about being tuned to fitness is just as good as being tuned to reality. If that were true, then science would have no power to confer survival advantage, because science only works in as much as it achieves a deeper understanding of reality, which in turn allows us a greater control of the very factors that form the bounds of our survival context.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I read until kindle said I was 40% into the book. I'm now starting over, hoping some familiarity with what he said will help me comprehend a little more of what I didn't the first time.

I had started the Free Will thread before trying this book, because, if I didn't think there was anything that couldn't be reduced to particles, I didn't see reason to read how something other than particles came about. That problem solved (Free Will is still up in the air, afaic), I figured I'd give it a go.

There is still the problem that nobody knows what consciousness is. Not how it works/is achieved; and, apparently, there's debate over what qualities must be present to establish consciousness. Not knowing what it is would seem to be an impediment to learning how it evolved, so I'm not actually expecting an answer to that. Still, not having studied consciousness in any academic way, I expect there are many fascinating and worthwhile ideas I will be exposed to.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a quote from the Wikipedia page entitled "Computational Theory of Mind".
Quote:
Computer is not meant to mean a modern-day electronic computer. Rather, a computer is a symbol manipulator that follows step by step functions to compute input and form output. Alan Turing describes this kind of computing in his concept of a Turing machine.

Is this how the brain functions?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I've found while searching for that answer, there is no consensus. The free will page at Wikipedia discusses different aspects and sides of the debate. (Spinoza's quote is great: "Experience teaches us no less clearly than reason, that men believe themselves free, simply because they are conscious of their actions, and unconscious of the causes whereby those actions are determined."

Despite millennia of great thinkers and great scientists trying to figure out what mind/consciousness is, we're still largely ignorant.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The following is mostly off topic. And yet, it also isn't...some comments related to various points made by several of us in previous posts. It's a bit long...but has much fun to think about. Autotelic autotelicity.

Heh...I should say, I don't know a damn thing about the author. I'm not even sure exactly how I got to the piece, though I THINK it was linked from Tyler Cowen's Marginal Revolution site.


http://mailchi.mp/ribbonfarm/intelligence-reconsidered?e=80da034a3e
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Sig-man, Libtard, Stupid piece of shit. change your text color to brown. Mr. Reliable, bullshit-slinging liarFucker-user.

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"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."
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: Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, that's fairly (you know it's coming) interesting.
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