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Author Topic:   Are thoughts transcendant?
sidelined
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Message 136 of 142 (441664)
12-18-2007 1:42 PM
Reply to: Message 134 by Kitsune
12-18-2007 1:03 PM


LindaLou

. Sounds good in principle but I think they will have to work on clarification and adding links.

Actually the whole site is hyper linked to others and you will discover things along the way as little clues that pop out occasionally.
However the main thrust of the site is not to offer answers so much as it is to get you to think and discover for yourself and to think on multiple levels. There is much to be discovered here. I have been going over it for 3 years now and am still learning stuff.
I assure you that it is worth more than a cursory glance would reveal.


"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

Albert Einstein


This message is a reply to:
 Message 134 by Kitsune, posted 12-18-2007 1:03 PM Kitsune has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3507
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 137 of 142 (441665)
12-18-2007 1:46 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by Kitsune
12-18-2007 1:17 PM


What are we talking about now?
LindaLou writes:

There are neurons everywhere in the body, not just in the brain. Presumably this is your idea about why some organ transplant recipients seem to receive memories, likes/dislikes etc from the donee?

I did mean brain-neurons. But again, I meant neurons as in "physical components of the brain". I'm sure there's lots of other chemicals and components that are used when bringing up memories and experiences.

LindaLou writes:

You didn't actually address the telepathy experiment itself. How could neurons have anything to do with thoughts or consciousness that seem capable of existing independently from the body?

Why do you say "seem capable of existing independently from the body"? I thought you said they felt the other memories and experiences after the organ was transplanted into them? That doesn't seem to be "independent from the body" in any way I can comprehend the sentence. What are you trying to say? Did they actually see the organ itself expressing thoughts and experiences before the transplant? Did they put the organ into a brain-dead body and witness the body expressing thoughts and experiences? As far as I could tell, the "thoughts and experiences" were still totally dependant on the physical brain functionality of the person. Is that incorrect?

I didn't address the telepathy experiment because it had nothing to do with showing that physical brain components were being used. Everything humans are capable of... hold on, let's think about that for a second... everything... every single thought, every experience, every function, every ability, every purposeful motion... everything humans are capable of comes from their physical brain components. Not a single thing works without the physical brain components. No physical brain, no abilities at all.

Therefore, even if telepathy happens, it happens from a physical brain activity. And therefore is described by "neurons firing".

If you want to say that neurons firing isn't a part of some human-ability. You need to show a human doing this ability while there is no brain-activity.

The easy answer for the skeptic would be to dismiss telepathy and all paranormal phenomena as delusions.

Do you want to talk about firing neurons and consciousness? Or if telepathy is a part of reality? I was simply saying that telepathy (if anyone is capable of it) would require the same kind of brain activity that any other ability requires. If you want to say differently. Show me someone doing telepathy while not using the physical components of their brain. Personally, I'd pick something simpler since I don't think telepathy has ever really been shown to work. But it's your choice on how to show your ideas.

I'm not so keen on easy answers myself

Me neither. Which is why I'd like to try and understand and explain how neurons firing and brain activity actually totally account for even our very simple actions that we know they control. Before we can answer this extremely difficult question, don't you think it's a bit premature to be adding in extraneous "non-physical" explanations that we may not even need? I mean, let's figure out how everything we actually do have works before we move onto explaining things we don't even know exist.

but he's done quite a bit with telepathy. As far as I'm aware, he hasn't been "debunked,"

I'm pretty sure there's plenty of world-fame reserved for the first person to prove the existance of telepathy. The fact that this fame is yet-unclaimed over hundreds (thousands?) of years of people proclaiming it's existance implies to me that it doesn't exist... or maybe anyone interested in telepathy just cannot fathom the possibilities for human advancement from it? That doesn't seem to make sense though.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Kitsune, posted 12-18-2007 1:17 PM Kitsune has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 138 by Kitsune, posted 12-19-2007 8:58 AM Stile has responded

    
Kitsune
Member (Idle past 2465 days)
Posts: 788
From: Leicester, UK
Joined: 09-16-2007


Message 138 of 142 (441900)
12-19-2007 8:58 AM
Reply to: Message 137 by Stile
12-18-2007 1:46 PM


Re: What are we talking about now?
I did mean brain-neurons. But again, I meant neurons as in "physical components of the brain". I'm sure there's lots of other chemicals and components that are used when bringing up memories and experiences.

I think the question that arises here, if you are willing to think about these transplant stories in an open-minded way (again, thank you for that), is how the consciousness from the donee still seems to exist to a degree. It wasn't their brain that was donated; in most cases it was their heart. How would some piece of their consciousness reside in their heart if it's all supposed to be due to neurons firing in the brain? This article mentions "cellular memory" in its title. I think this opens some intriguing possibilities.

Why do you say "seem capable of existing independently from the body"? I thought you said they felt the other memories and experiences after the organ was transplanted into them?

I was discussing telepathy at that point, not the organ donor stories. To refer back to that, though, you could say that the consciousness of the organ donor is now independent of its original body. You could also say that it is now functioning within someone else's body. Either approach would be interesting to take in more studies. It seems to me, though, that there is a question of how firing neurons or a brain shape a personality. And why would that personality change if the brain remains unaltered or undamaged, and the person has been given someone else's heart?

The cases of the people with "hardly any brain" seem to add weight to this idea that maybe consciousness has more to do with the body holistically, than it does with the brain alone. We cannot function without a brain, but maybe we give it more credit for certain things than we ought to.

Referring back to the topic of this thread, and looking at consciousness as something which can be transcendent, I think it's relevant to look at telepathy experiments, and I picked Sheldrake's because they seem to be good examples. Did you have a look at link I gave you to his telephone telepathy experiments?

How would neurons firing, cause people to be able to communicate in this way over any distance? Again, I'll agree that neurons appear to be part of mental processes. But the cause of them? That's a bit of a leap I think. And it leaves you a lot of explaining to do. If you're saying that you want to reduce the idea of consciousness down to physical functions within the body, then you need to be able to reconcile this with the sorts of stories that I presented here. There are many others, including out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, crisis apparitions, bilocation experiences (where a living person's "ghost" is seen in a different place from where the person is physically), and so on. It's perhaps not surprising why these tend to be collectively labelled as delusions, lies, or mistakes by so-called skeptics; to admit that they might contain the slightest bit of truth would mean having to admit there's a lot we still just don't know. Can any of them be studied empirically? Quite possibly. They might teach us a lot.

don't you think it's a bit premature to be adding in extraneous "non-physical" explanations that we may not even need? I mean, let's figure out how everything we actually do have works before we move onto explaining things we don't even know exist.

But what if extraneous non-physical explanations are integral parts of explaining thought and consciousness? Why can't these two approaches be considered and studied simultaneously? Surely science is about being open-minded and considering all possible answers to a puzzle. Maybe reductionism will lead to some brilliant insights, but following that path alone might cause us to miss some important information.

I'm pretty sure there's plenty of world-fame reserved for the first person to prove the existance of telepathy. The fact that this fame is yet-unclaimed over hundreds (thousands?) of years of people proclaiming it's existance implies to me that it doesn't exist... or maybe anyone interested in telepathy just cannot fathom the possibilities for human advancement from it? That doesn't seem to make sense though.

There have been positive studies on telepathy, including Sheldrake's. Many people accept it as a fact because it happens to them. Isn't it a possibility that before the Enlightenment, people also accepted telepathy as a fact, even quite a common one? And that after the Enlightenment, now that we are supposed to be such rational beings who can see beyond superstition and magic, many people have dismissed telepathy and other so-called paranormal phenomena out of hand as being irrational or impossible?

Paranormal phenomena can also be difficult to study in the usual ways because they are not always able to be replicated on demand. Having said that, Sheldrake's experiments have produced results significantly above chance. Plenty of people do actually proclaim the existence of telepathy; presumably you were asking why more scientists don't proclaim its existence. And again, some do. I suspect there are many others who want to be seen as hard-nosed skeptics and who will not admit even the possibility that such a thing could be.

I'm sure it does involve neurons in the process somewhere. But I think logically there has to be more to it than that. Again, it's like being asked to study a quantum stew and then being told those are the components of the table in front of me. You may know about A and Z, but there are 24 letters in between to find out about before you can understand how we can get from one to the other.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 137 by Stile, posted 12-18-2007 1:46 PM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 142 by Stile, posted 01-02-2008 9:23 AM Kitsune has not yet responded

    
nator
Member (Idle past 335 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 139 of 142 (441920)
12-19-2007 10:11 AM
Reply to: Message 128 by Kitsune
12-18-2007 9:29 AM


Re: What's wrong with neurons?
quote:
The question, however, is this: is the activity within these regions of the brain the cause, or the consequence, of the thought or experience?

If you change the brain's activity - by giving a psychoactive drug - you change a person's conscious experience. You stimulate parts of the brain electrically, you change a person's conscious experience. You damage the brain, you change a person's conscious experience.

These cases show that changes in the brain cause chages in conscious experience, and that consciousness is the consequence of brain activity, not vice versa.

quote:
According to this study of patients who have received transplanted organs, particularly hearts, it is not uncommon for memories, behaviours, preferences and habits associated with the donor to be transferred to the recipient.

That's not a study, LindaLou.

It is a list of stories.

The case studies aren't double blind, nor even single blind. None of the people were evaluated beforehand.

This is the absolute worst quality unscientific garbage that I've seen in a long time.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 128 by Kitsune, posted 12-18-2007 9:29 AM Kitsune has not yet responded

    
nator
Member (Idle past 335 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 140 of 142 (441926)
12-19-2007 10:30 AM
Reply to: Message 133 by Kitsune
12-18-2007 12:56 PM


Re: What's wrong with neurons?
quote:
The neurologist says the question "Is Your Brain Really Necessary?" is hyperbole -- of course it is necessary. What's interesting is how many of these people function as well as the rest of us, even though some of them have only 5% of what we would consider to be a normal brain. This in itself ought to be the catalyst for some major studies, but instead it seems to have been mostly swept under the carpet.

Of course, they must be "sweeping things under the carpet". Bunch of dishonest charlatans, those scientists!

...except if they study Evolution. Evolutionary Biologists are honest and you can trust what they conclude, but not those sneaky brain researchers!

Anyway, what makes you think that such findings haven't spawned a lot of research, or isn't widely discussed in the field?

The article by Lewin about the work of Lorbor appeared in Science, one of the two most prestigious and high-profile scientific journals in existence. Science devotes its pages to the very most cutting-edge, groundbreaking, and high-quality science being done today.

According to Google Scholar, the Lewin Article has been cited by 52 other papers, which strongly implies a lot of interest in the scientific community in it.

The fact that you can consider an article being published in one of the very most prestigious scientific journals in the world as it being "swept under the carpet" is simply more evidence of your general prejudice against any science that does not agree with your preconceived beliefs.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by Kitsune, posted 12-18-2007 12:56 PM Kitsune has not yet responded

    
Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 270 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 141 of 142 (441932)
12-19-2007 10:48 AM
Reply to: Message 133 by Kitsune
12-18-2007 12:56 PM


Re: What's wrong with neurons?
Yes I am. I'd expect a skeptic to dismiss anything from it without even bothering to read it first, never mind whether or not it might contain any truth. Maybe someone else here will be willing to have a look.

I did read it. I found nothing of interest in it. Given that it's from a known unreliable source I'm not inclined to look further.

Not every anecdotal account of everything is wrong, though it's dismissed as such because of the "inherent unreliability" of anecdotes.

Of course not every anecdotal account is wrong. They are however completely meaningless as proof, for the very simple reason that you can prove anything with anecdotal evidence from the efficacy of antibiotics, through alien abduction to homeopathy. When you want to make extraordinary claims you need extraordinary evidence; a bunch of stories just won't cut it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by Kitsune, posted 12-18-2007 12:56 PM Kitsune has not yet responded

  
Stile
Member
Posts: 3507
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 142 of 142 (445419)
01-02-2008 9:23 AM
Reply to: Message 138 by Kitsune
12-19-2007 8:58 AM


Logically? Are you sure?
Sorry, been out Christmas-vacationing :)

LindaLou writes:

It wasn't their brain that was donated; in most cases it was their heart. How would some piece of their consciousness reside in their heart if it's all supposed to be due to neurons firing in the brain? This article mentions "cellular memory" in its title. I think this opens some intriguing possibilities.

This is great. Still, I doubt any of these "cellular memories" can be recalled without neurons firing in the brain. That was my point. Even if we take this face-value as true, we have a physical heart being transplanted to create more physical memories. This only lends evidence to working of memory-recall being physical in nature. That's my point, that we can explain all these stories through the phsycial processes of the body. Do you have anything that even remotely suggests otherwise?

you could say that the consciousness of the organ donor is now independent of its original body.

I don't see how that would be very representative of what you've described. The organ has it's own consciousness? Did it take control over the person it was transplanted into? I'm pretty sure the person receiving the organ was still in control of their own body. Even if the stories of memory-from-the-donor are true, it only says that this memory is physically imprinted on the organ somehow... showing even more that memory recall is a physical process.

It seems to me, though, that there is a question of how firing neurons or a brain shape a personality. And why would that personality change if the brain remains unaltered or undamaged, and the person has been given someone else's heart?

This answer seems obvious... perhaps there's more physical components involved then simply those located in our heads. After all, neurons are connected to every point of our body, aren't they? Why wouldn't the rest of our body have some sort of affect? But it doesn't even matter, this still only shows that the process is physical, limited to the physical components of the physical body, nothing more.

How would neurons firing, cause people to be able to communicate in this way over any distance?

I don't know. However, you have yet to show me a person communicating by means of telepathy without firing any neurons. In fact, you have yet to show me any person doing any conceivable action at all without firing neurons. I think that would be an easier start.

Again, I'll agree that neurons appear to be part of mental processes. But the cause of them? That's a bit of a leap I think. And it leaves you a lot of explaining to do.

A lot of explaining for me? Okay, here it is: Whenever people do things (any thing at all) neurons always fire. If we remove or damage those neurons, people are no longer able to do those things (whatever they were, at all). Always. They can sometimes re-learn how to do those same things again, but, well, it's only different neurons in their brains that fire then.

If you're saying there's something extra, or that firing neurons isn't needed, I think it's you that has "a lot" of explaining to do.

There are many others, including out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, crisis apparitions, bilocation experiences (where a living person's "ghost" is seen in a different place from where the person is physically), and so on.

Why don't we try to stick with what we've started with here first? Since, well, there hasn't been any progress yet. Or, if you'd like, we can give up on the brain acting in some non-physical manner and start talking about another process you have more evidence for.

But what if extraneous non-physical explanations are integral parts of explaining thought and consciousness?

Certainly a possibility. We just need an actual reason to think so in the first place. That includes exhausting the possible reasons that are currently at our disposal. Without identifying all those first, how could we possibly know that they aren't fully responsible? It just wouldn't make any sense to jump forward without taking all the steps in between. You'd be left with nonsense answers that don't mean anything since you'd never be sure that the processes aren't previously explained.

I'm sure it (telepathy) does involve neurons in the process somewhere. But I think logically there has to be more to it than that.

Logically, why? Why is it impossible that firing neurons (a process we don't yet fully understand) fully explains the functionality of telepathy? Are you saying that you do fully understand how neurons firing result in our consciousness, and how something extra is explicitly needed?

Or are you saying that you also don't understand how neurons firing result in our consciousness... and you're then somehow jumping to the conclusion that something extra is therefore required? That doesn't sound very logical to me. That sounds rather illogical. I think the first step would be to understand what we know has an impact. That way we can know if we need to look for anything extra in the first place.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 138 by Kitsune, posted 12-19-2007 8:58 AM Kitsune has not yet responded

    
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