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The greatest proof of free will…
Posted: 25 August 2012 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2341 ]
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George - 25 August 2012 05:24 AM

Just like is the colour red of our blood. Blood is an adaptation, the colour of blood is a byproduct. Similarly, reasoning is an adaptation and consciousness is, IMO, its byproduct. It is the reasoning part of the brain that can create models of the future and anticipate which one of those models may be the most optimal to help us survive, but the fact that we actually become aware (conscious) of that process and the final decision (which as per the fMRI studies happens a split of a second later) is, IMO, merely a coincidence.

Your example of red blood does not apply. It is not essential that the colour of our oxygen transporting substance is red. If evolution would have found another substance about as good as haemoglobin, and it would be green, then we could have had green blood (are your reading, Mr Spock?). But to have reasoning without consciousness is far from that. If consciousness is a necessary byproduct then we cannot call it a byproduct. But I see no reason why ‘being red’ is necessary for ‘being able to transport oxygen’.

As for your fMRI example, I am just digesting Dennett’s chapter about ‘Libet-like’ experiments in ‘Freedom evolves’. In my eyes it is a devastating critique on standard interpretations of such experiments. Dennett’s main point: they all have still the idea of the Cartesian Theatre, the idea that there is a place and a point in time where and when consciousness is happening.

I see a parallel with free will: people call it an illusion why they presuppose libertarian free will. A realistic (compatibilist…) view on free will shows it is not an illusion at all. Same with consciousness if it is seen as what it is, a process smeared out over the brain in time, and not a point like event in our brain, most of the problems about consciousness just disappear.

[ Edited: 25 August 2012 05:47 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 25 August 2012 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2342 ]
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You evidently don’t understand the concept of an evolutionary byproduct, GdB. Kinda difficult to argue with you on this point.

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Posted: 25 August 2012 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2343 ]
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George - 25 August 2012 06:28 AM

You evidently don’t understand the concept of an evolutionary byproduct, GdB. Kinda difficult to argue with you on this point.

Great. You evidently don’t understand the concept of consciousness, George. Kinda difficult to argue with you on this point. cool grin

Another option is that you just explain why my argument is wrong.

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Posted: 25 August 2012 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2344 ]
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Okay, what do you mean by a byproduct being “necessary”?

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Posted: 25 August 2012 08:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2345 ]
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George - 25 August 2012 07:40 AM

Okay, what do you mean by a byproduct being “necessary”?

It is not a necessary byproduct of transporting oxygen that the colour of the is red.

It is a necessary byproduct of reasoning that there is consciousness involved.

But a necessary byproduct is contradiction in terms.

But you did not answer my question: what is the point about evolution I do not understand in my posting above? And what is the relevance of it for consciousness arising out of a evolutionary process?

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Posted: 25 August 2012 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2346 ]
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Sorry, GdB, but I have absolutely idea what you’re talking about. What does the following even mean?

“It is a necessary byproduct of reasoning that there is consciousness involved.”

I think we better let it be.

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Posted: 25 August 2012 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2347 ]
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George - 25 August 2012 10:27 AM

Sorry, GdB, but I have absolutely idea what you’re talking about. What does the following even mean?

“It is a necessary byproduct of reasoning that there is consciousness involved.”

I think we better let it be.

George - 25 August 2012 05:24 AM

reasoning is an adaptation and consciousness is, IMO, its byproduct.

You do not understand your own standpoint, when I put in the word ‘necessary’?

So I’ll reformulate for you what I mean:

Reasoning is an adaptation and consciousness is its necessary byproduct.
Said otherwise: you cannot have reasoning without consciousness.

And then I said that reasoning and consciousness are obviously an evolutionary advantage. And then you say I do not understand the concept of an evolutionary byproduct. Then explain it George, and explain how consciousness can be a byproduct of reasoning. Or is the ‘IMO’ meant to say ‘I don’t really know if the concept of an evolutionary byproduct applies to consciousness, and I have no arguments for it?

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Posted: 25 August 2012 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2348 ]
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No, I really don’t think you understand it, GdB. Adaptation has an evolutionary advantage, but not its byproduct; that’s why it’s called a “byproduct.”

Now, the reason I said that consciousness may be (IMO!) a byproduct of the process of reasoning is precisely because of Libet’s study, since it showed that our awareness doesn’t seem to play a role in our decision making, and would therefore be blind to natural selection—again, just like the colour red of our blood plays no role in providing nutrients to our body.

But this is all obviously just a speculation, since none of us (including Dennett) really knows what consciousness actually is or does.

[ Edited: 25 August 2012 11:36 AM by George ]
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Posted: 25 August 2012 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2349 ]
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GdB - 25 August 2012 04:39 AM

I meant of course that last weekend everything in the universe was OK for me to go to Paris, except my wanting to go there.

Which, of course, is rubbish because everything in the universe being as it was prevented you from wanting to.

Stephen

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Posted: 25 August 2012 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2350 ]
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Everything in the universe is okay for me to drop a bowling ball from the Pisa Tower and expect it to fly towards the clouds except for gravity.  grin

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Posted: 25 August 2012 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2351 ]
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GdB,
Your example of red blood does not apply. It is not essential that the colour of our oxygen transporting substance is red. If evolution would have found another substance about as good as haemoglobin, and it would be green, then we could have had green blood (are your reading, Mr Spock?). But to have reasoning without consciousness is far from that. If consciousness is a necessary byproduct then we cannot call it a byproduct. But I see no reason why ‘being red’ is necessary for ‘being able to transport oxygen’.

Hummm, after a little research, it appears that blood of necessity has to be red (appear red to us), i.e. it is a property of blood, not a byproduct. The red is not a random color, it is caused by oxidized iron in our blood. Red is not a byproduct of blood, it is a byproduct of ferrous oxide in our blood and therfore a necessary color.

Blood is red due to hemoglobin (the molecule that carries oxygen around) which is held in the red blood cells. In the hemoglobin are four atoms of iron which can be in an oxidized state, i.e with an atom of oxygen attached to it, making it red, or in a non-oxidized state, when it is dark red-blue (maroon).

When arterial blood leaves the lungs to circulate through the body, it has just a little bit more oxygen in it than does venous blood. The reason it appears bright red is that the combination of iron, oxygen, and hemoglobin absorbs higher energy wavelength light (blue and green) which leaves the red wavelengths available for our eyes to sense.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_is_blood_red#ixzz24b01ZHbS

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Posted: 25 August 2012 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2352 ]
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Write4U - 25 August 2012 02:51 PM

Hummm, after a little research, it appears that blood of necessity has to be red (appear red to us), i.e. it is a property of blood, not a byproduct. The red is not a random color, it is caused by oxidized iron in our blood. Red is not a byproduct of blood, it is a byproduct of ferrous oxide in our blood and therfore a necessary color.

And what if another compound, e.g. based on magnesium or copper could also transport oxygen? And evolution would have found this ‘trick’ before the one with Fe++? Then we all might have had green blood (and pointed ears?). Or cobalt? We all would have blue blood!

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Posted: 25 August 2012 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2353 ]
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StephenLawrence - 25 August 2012 01:29 PM

Which, of course, is rubbish because everything in the universe being as it was prevented you from wanting to.

*Sigh*. You still don’t understand….

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Posted: 25 August 2012 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2354 ]
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George - 25 August 2012 01:33 PM

Everything in the universe is okay for me to drop a bowling ball from the Pisa Tower and expect it to fly towards the clouds except for gravity.  grin

What a bear nonsense, George. Nowhere I am ‘putting the laws of physics out of order’. It is funny how you seem to be so sure that you understand evolution, but you have no idea about the underlying thinking in causes and effects. How do you think one can find out that something really is the cause for an event?

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Posted: 25 August 2012 04:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2355 ]
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George, like everyone else here, including myself is struggling to define these processes and use words to describe them.
I know exactly what George means by “by-product”.
Consciousness is the room where all external stimuli(horomones(yes external!), light, touch, smell, pain, scents) intersect with memory.
We couldn’t have consciousness without memory.(yes even Alzheimers and senile folks have memories)
What’s that internal dialouge in our heads?  “Hmnn…what shall I wear today?”  “Hmnn…last time I walked down this street
that black dog chased me.”(memory)  “Hmmmnn…I feel horny today!”(hormonal) “Hmmnn…I’m getting hungry!”
This is consciousness.
Memories and external stimuli intersect in the “room” we call Consciousness.
I say horomones for example are external because they are in relation to the brain. They effect the brain.
The brain processes all external stimuli.  And puts it all in memory. Then new stimuli come in and the brain makes us move about and act based on this correlation between the new stimuli and memory. Then that gets stored away in memory…ad infinitum.
Yeah, dreams. Just another by-product of this.

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