What is the biological basis of human consciousness

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Thefinalhack, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Thefinalhack Jedi Master

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    Mar 11, 2013
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    Is our mind, our personality defined by the collaborative charges of various neurones in the brain. What is it up there in out heads that makes us who we are or is there even a complete biological basis could it be a partial one or is our personality defined by something else?


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  2. LostOnHoth Chosen One

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    Feb 15, 2000
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    The brain. What else is there?
    Last edited by LostOnHoth, Aug 23, 2013
  3. Thefinalhack Jedi Master

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    Mar 11, 2013
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    The question been posed is what exactly is it in the brain, although we can be confident the brain is the root of it all scientists are yet to pinpoint the actual part which defines who we are


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  4. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

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    Oct 25, 1999
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    There is no singular area; the concept of "me" arises as an emergent property from the collective electrochemical impulses across a wide range of neurons.

    A good analogy would be how wetness emerges from dryness.

    Peace,

    V-03
  5. Thefinalhack Jedi Master

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    Mar 11, 2013
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    So say if you were to be analysed to a subatomic level and reconstructed years after your death and the state of the brain of the reconstruction was EXACTLY as it is now do you believe your personality and memory's etc would also be recreated?


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  6. LostOnHoth Chosen One

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    Feb 15, 2000
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    This isn't another Christianity thread is it?
  7. Thefinalhack Jedi Master

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    Mar 11, 2013
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    Not religion merely science with a bit of philosophy


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  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    No. Your personality and memories aren't genetically determined.
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
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    I wonder if there is a very clear dividing line between human consciousness and the consciousness of other mammals. It seems clear from research that some primates at least have a very clear sense of self and other and an ability to empathize by projecting themselves mentally into another primate's situation. In my view, the biological basis for human consciousness is the consciousness of a common ancestor we share with certain primates, which has its evolutionary basis in the interactions of social animals.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Aug 23, 2013
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  10. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

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    Oct 25, 1999
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    Not sure, actually.

    This was always one of the lingering questions from Star Trek: since the transporter pulled you apart and put you back together again, did that prove there was no 'soul'? (not to bring religion into it, but it seems to get at the heart of your question).

    I can't answer it, myself. It's similar to the question: if we could make a perfect digital copy of a person's brain and transfer it to a computer, would it still be the same person? The answer comes down to whether or not the brain is the source of consciousness, not the source of consciousness but the source of mind, both, or neither. There are many theories on the subject spanning all levels of opinion.

    My personal take: consciousness is quantum, a fundamental part of the universe, and exists as a spectrum. Central nervous systems interface with this consciousness and imprint experiences and memories within it, enriching its knowledge (but not its awareness). The more sophisticated the network, the more sophisticated the personality (the reason why human minds > animals > insects). My ego and personality is the result of my brain; my baseline awareness is not.

    If the brain is a set of wires, quantum consciousness is the battery. Hope that makes some sense.

    Peace,

    V-03
  11. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Years after death? No, natural decay and the severe brain chemistry alterations that occur as a result of death would render such a reconstruction fundamentally impossible, the systems involved would be chaotic in a very literal, mathematical sense, thus rendering point of origin determination impossible.

    Now, if one were to hypothetically create a quantum clone of a living subject (I consider such technology perhaps beyond the whole scope of feasible human scientific achievements, but not, y'know, fundamentally moot the way the preceding scenario was), it would be completely, absolutely identical to the original subject from pretty much every conceivable standpoint, but whether or not it's the genuine article is the subject of a surprising amount of philosophical debate, as Vaderize mentioned.

    Incidentally, while we're on the subject, @Vaderize03 you may want to familiarize yourself with Max Tegmark's paper "Importance of quantum decoherence in brain processes" from Physical Review E v. 61 i. 4, it throws some serious wrenches in the Penrose theory of consciousness.
  12. Thefinalhack Jedi Master

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    Mar 11, 2013
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    So let us say the a quantum clone was a possibility and one was constructed would it or would it not retain the memories and personality of the person who was duplicated?


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  13. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    It would have the memories and personality of the person duplicated, yes, those are all stored in the brain. The question becomes whether or not it's the same as the original, or if the original is dead and we just have a flawless copy walking around, and it's... a good question. :p
    Last edited by Ramza, Aug 23, 2013
  14. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

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    Oh, I'm not actually a subscriber to Penrose's theory, I just think it's an interesting read.

    The brain is probably too warm for quantum effects to occur on a macro scale that proceed through microtubules; what I am talking about in my post is an as-of-yet undiscovered mechanism. I don't think anything we have yet could accurately describe consciousness on a quantum level, assuming it exists.

    Difficult to prove, either way.

    Peace,

    V-03