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The World Question Center and You
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ericj
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 10:28 pm    Post subject: The World Question Center and You Reply with quote

I'm on an intellectual kick today for some reason--I have no idea why. So I'll toss some raw meat in the ring and see who comes by. Smile

(From the World Question Center--a thought proposed by Arnold Trehub, Psychologist, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Author, The Cognitive Brain)

Quote:

Modern science is a product of biology

The entire conceptual edifice of modern science is a product of biology. Even the most basic and profound ideas of science — think relativity, quantum theory, the theory of evolution — are generated and necessarily limited by the particular capacities of our human biology. This implies that the content and scope of scientific knowledge is not open-ended.


True? Untrue? Your thoughts, collective conscious of the discussion board? Wink
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C.G. Alt
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if I agree with the "generated by biology" part (I don't know precisely what is meant), but I agree with this:

"This implies that the content and scope of scientific knowledge is not open-ended."

Humans have a number of traits that pose an obstacle: Limited working memory, intellectual capacity and being constrained by language.
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KNL
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

True, as long as there are things we do not understand.

(Read: true, forever.)
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RadicalDreamer
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess true. I don't believe we will ever see strings or pass through the brane or enter a blackhole and live to tell the tale.

If we had the technology then we could understand many things but not everything (not meaning we couldn't understand it but limited due to technology).
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clockworksmile
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gotta say, ericj, I love your threads. They're always meaty topics, controversial and provocative.

Ok, it makes sense that the human mind is largely limited by its design. There's only so much surface area, so many neural pathways, so many combinations. There are still many conceptual theories and ideas that are largely out of the general populace's ability to comprehend. So, in the way that genetics begets a superior athlete or a physical weakling, so do they contribute to intellectual giants and human vegetables. With that inevitability in mind, one could make that argument that ideas are only a comprehensible as our biology allows.

However, there's also plenty of research to show the power of our thinking to affect our biology. (i.e. psychosomaticism) The principle behind that relationship begs the question, "Is our thinking affecting the biology of our brains?" I've read research (none that I can quote or cite right now) that hypothesizes it might be the case. I'll see if I can find it again and post here.

I'm inclined to believe that (and forget my sounding like a proponent of Intelligent Design), evolution is principally a plan to engineer a perfect species; a species that is physiologically capable to comprehending the indellible truths of our universe. ....I suppose at this point I might want to hop on that "Is There Absolute Truth" thread....
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Another
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eric -Here's additional info for this thread... a dialogue between Bernie Baars
and Arnold Trehub.
Cg - hope this clarifies for your"generated by biology" query also. E- this subject has
always interested me - specifically
in relation to pattern cognition in the formation of theory and
semantic processing


"Dear Arnold,
A few comments.

1. The regions around the intraparietal sulcus are known to have neurons
specifically involved in multimodal egocentric maps, and to relate those
representations to allocentric (object-centered) retinotopic maps of the
ventral visual stream. In my view, those parietal maps are "contextual" with
respect to the conscious visual object world. That is to say, they involve
unconscious constraints on conscious object-like events. The best example,
of course, is parietal hemineglect, which is quite different from damage to
the ventral stream. In parietal hemineglect, the conscious half of the
contralateral visual field disappears, even though there may be spared
unconscious knowledge. Yet parietal cortex has few if any object-related
neurons.

By contrast, in the case of damage to object features in the ventral visual
regions like V1 to IT, people can "point" to the missing information. That
is not possible for parietal neglect, because the framework (the unconscious
context) is missing-- there is no knowledge about the missing information,
which is inherently unconscious.

2. I agree that artificial neural nets have their limits, but as Arnold
points out, we are compelled to adopt simplifications with tradeoffs. Even
with very powerful computers, simplification is required, and it is always
necessary to state what we sacrifice in order to focus on other aspects. I
believe in letting many styles of theory bloom, all the way from qualitative
psychological theory to crude neuronal abstractions to very detailed
neuronal models. As Christof Koch has argued, even single neurons can be
viewed as complex information processors able to compute arithmetic
operations all by themselves. On the other end of that polarity, Walter
Freeman does gorgeous work based on intracranial or scalp EEG with real
mathematical rigor. Let a hundred flowers bloom.
Best,

Bernie Baars

:
In response from Arnold Trehub

Here's my response to some recent comments by Eric Thomson
about CB. I think they touch on some important issues.

As you mentioned in our email exchange, the existence of the
self-location marker (retinoid) that tags the perspective of the
observer in space could explain some of our phenomenological
features of consciousness: in particular that we are normally
>> conscious from some perspective, some point of view from which
>> we have a privileged access to the world: could this be a
>> by-product of the fact that consciousness depends on an
>> egocentric spatial represenation (the self-location retinoid)? I
>> find this idea fascinating and mind-boggling.
>
> Yes, I *do* believe that consciousness depends on an egocentric spatial
> representation. Over the years, I have tried to determine my own minimal
> conscious experience in the transition from deep sleep to my first
> phenomenal experience when there are no intrusive stimuli. For me, the
> first minimal conscious experience is a primitive sense of a spatial
> surround followed by a sense of a temporally enduring spatial surround.
> I have asked others on PSYCHE-D what they thought the minimal conscious
> experience might be but, so far, I've received no suggestions. Would you
> care to weigh in? [Would any readers of PSYCH-B care to offer their
> own observations?]""
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Pressured Kid
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Biology is a field of science Wink
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Kyle
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are hundreds of levels of science that people haven't even begun to call "science" yet.
I think it gets divided along the line of "testable" and "non-testable".
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ericj
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks clock! Intelligent conversation is a rare thing these days. I'm glad for the participants of this board to keep that hope alive.

So yeah, I think clock is onto something. It's true that the brain is finite in its capabilities, but considering psychosomatic occurrences as well as several other psychophysiological phenomena leads me to believe there are some very significant feedback loops going on in the conscious mind.

But I'm not sure we'd ever get to the point where we as humanity have discovered *everything*, regardless if the biological limitation exists or not. There is simply too much interaction on all levels of existence. Yeah, this topic does seem to divert over to the absolute truth topic pretty quicly doesn't it?

Another, that's an interesting tidbit of info you offered! I specifically found intriguing the portion of the letter that describes the spatial and temporal aspects of consciousness. I try to think back to when I first awake from sleeping and I honestly can't recall what experience I first have. Usually it's some combination of curse words and slamming the alarm clock snooze button. Smile Was that bottom response something you wrote Another?
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Another
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ericj wrote:
I specifically found intriguing the portion of the letter that describes the spatial and temporal aspects of consciousness. I try to think back to when I first awake from sleeping and I honestly can't recall what experience I first have. Usually it's some combination of curse words and slamming the alarm clock snooze button. Smile Was that bottom response something you wrote Another?


Eric,
Yes, the spatial. What really interested me here is that he's talking about visual cognition
as relative to the unconscious. Look what he's saying its exciting - the unconscious is actively
supplying the missing sections, the lacking framework, of the egocentric map
(egocentric map -a persons visual-spacial relativity to their immediate environment.
Starts in water - then undergoes huge readjustments
immediately following birth - their individual understanding
of their environment in relation to their 'position'/place in it -according to him the first cognative
lesson and the one that holds as the essential*/
) within the act of seeing.
And he's also saying that the unconscious is always actively 'reading' peripheral in the act of seeing -
peripheral that is essential to the egocentric map, and that later provides framework to
complete incomplete patterns .

So given that the restriction of the mind is pattern seeking and the brain is locked into the seek and find
pattern mode with even the humanly devised concept of 'random' existing in reaction as a directly
opposed idea, it seems to me that what he's saying is that perhaps the unconscious was
developed exactly for this purpose. So the personal unconscious exists always as the missing piece
of the pattern - inventive.


'Let a hundred flowers bloom.' I love this. I wanted to say something about
this and biological function development in semantic feedback. Maybe I will later.

Quote:
I try to think back to when I first awake from sleeping and I honestly can't recall what experience I first
have. Usually it's some combination of curse words and slamming the alarm clock snooze button. Smile

Ha! Do you? I can imagine you grumpy. Laughing When I try and remember back - I enjoy
the sense of artificial or imaginative space. I like the dream drift.

-A
*therefore - translating this on ...perhaps providing a concept of self
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ericj
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, yep Another, that's some deep deep stuff. I had to reread your post a couple of times.

So if I am understanding it correctly, the suggestion is being made that perhaps the essential facet of "self" lies within the part of the unconscious that handles spatial orientation of oneself, through the sense of sight? Quite a thought-provoking idea!

For one thing, if the idea of spatial orientation is indeed the crux of identity in relation to others, and thus the idea of "self", then I wonder if there are other physiological aspects of our bodies that assist in the sense of self. The semi-circular canals in our ears come to mind. If I recall correctly, they help us with balance and to sense acceleration and direction without sight cues. Might that add to our spatial input?

If spatial is the first aspect of self, and temporal is the second, then what happens if temporal stimuli is somehow muted? I read recently in The Economist that some studies have shown that human's natural circadian clock is around 25 hours, not 24; but sunlight hitting the retinal nerves daily as well as daily temperature changes resynchronizes the internal body clock. This 25 hour internal clock vs. 24 hour terrestrial clock has led researchers to the concept that it's much more difficult to travel across timezones going east than it is going west--going west pushes the body more toward the 25 hour and more natural clock, going east pushes it more toward the 23 and less.

So then I wonder, if we were somehow able to eliminate the sense of spatial orientation in a test subject (remove sight, somehow numb or mute the semi-circular canals), and remove temperature variation, would the test subject begin to lose the concept of "self"? What about people who have been blind from birth? How does the person get a sense of self?

Another wrote:

Ha! Do you? I can imagine you grumpy. When I try and remember back - I enjoy
the sense of artificial or imaginative space. I like the dream drift.


Ha! Yep, I'm not a morning person at. all. Interestingly, I only remember my dreams from the prior sleep if I wake up very slowly and naturally (like on a weekend). If I wake up to an alarm clock, the dreams slip cleanly away into the unconscious without a trace. A shame really. I've always envied those who can recall vivid dreams. It's like watching a direct or indirect personal cinematic film of oneself every night. Perhaps a bit megalomaniacal, but for the self-discovery process it's very intriguing. Smile

I'm going to start paying more attention to those few moments from sleep to wake states, to see what I observe first. Likewise, I'm going to pay attention to the wake to sleep state transition too, to see if it happens in reverse order.
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YofterMofter
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can recall my dreams, too. Whenever monsters appear in my dreams, I kill them all. Always. I remember when I was about 10 yrs old, I killed some in the school's gym. It felt good. I'm such a hero in my dreams. I always dream in vivid colors.

Modern science is an idea, just like biology. In fact, modern science, Simran and biology are the same thing.
I wouldn't use Simran to build and amp though.
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ericj
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So following along in Another's talk regarding paying attention to the moment between sleep and awake, I've tried to analyze what happens in what order.

I honestly can't yet say that I recognize spatial awareness before temporal awareness when waking up in the morning. I do find, however, that in trying harder to analyze what is going on as I wake up--and I actually remember that I should be analyzing while the brain-computer is still booting up, I think that whatever I was dreaming about becomes more intense before fading away from cognition of the awake state.

Not sure if that made sense. I'll try describing it another way. Last night for instance, I dreamt about a concept of a circular device that, while I didn't know what its purpose was, I knew that it was somehow important and had a particular function. Yet as I was waking up and my conscious mind was beginning to self-reference--beginning to realize the concept of self in a conscious state, this strange amiguous dream of the circular device became more and more vivid, and my dreamed attempts at determining the purpose of the device began to speed up in fervor. It's as if I had a speed control on film footage. As I began to wake up, it was like I was increasing the frames per second of the dreamed device.

Not sure if this was totally random or if this had something to do with my conscious effort in trying to self-reference at such an early stage in the waking process. I do know that when I read "Gödel, Escher and Bach" before bed, I have much more intricate and logically challenging dreams when I'm able to remember them. Not to mention GEB is an entire book about self-reference and recursion, and is quite likely the most challenging read I've ever attempted (save perhaps "Hyperspace" by Kaku). So maybe my reading about self-reference and dreaming about self-reference while trying to self-reference while waking up is causing some strange feedback or something. Smile

K, sorry for the weird post. Self-analysis is often mysterious even to the observer. Smile

Anyone else notice changes in sleep/dream patterns when mentally stimulating one's mind right before sleep?
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Another
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ericj wrote:
So following along in Another's talk regarding paying attention to the moment between sleep and awake, I've tried to analyze what happens in what order.

I honestly can't yet say that I recognize spatial awareness before temporal awareness when waking up in the morning. I do find, however, that in trying harder to analyze what is going on as I wake up--and I actually remember that I should be analyzing while the brain-computer is still booting up, I think that whatever I was dreaming about becomes more intense before fading away from cognition of the awake state.


Eric,

My focus was actually the origination of the subconcious
and I meant to follow up on it's biological 'subversion'.
(I've been packing.) However both tangents are appealing - I hope to address both when I'm clear of the chaos. Smile

-A
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ericj
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another wrote:

Eric,

My focus was actually the origination of the subconcious
and I meant to follow up on it's biological 'subversion'.
(I've been packing.) However both tangents are appealing - I hope to address both when I'm clear of the chaos. Smile

-A


Eagerly await the reply! Good luck with the packing. Smile
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