Evidence for Emergence vs Filtration

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Hello all,

I'm just curious as to people's opinion on MY opinion regarding evidence that is given to show that the brain creates awareness/consciousness/the mind.

I believe that all evidence (at least all I have so far seen) to suggest emergence (brain creates the mind) can equally be used to suggest filtration (the brain receives and filters some as yet unknown non-local consciousness). Indeed, I would argue that given currently inexplicable anomalous experience through the means and methods of material science, the latter is the more parsimonious hypothesis. Let's take a look at some examples of said evidence:

1) Hit yourself in the head and you can remove or greatly alter consciousness and the mind = the brain creates the mind.

This is reasonable certainly, but the conclusion is not the only one. What happens when you throw a working radio against a wall, or hit the hell out of it with a hammer (perhaps you have a personal vendetta against said radio)? You would expect that A) the broadcast stops entirely, or B) the quality of the sound is greatly diminished or distorted. That being said, the translation or interpretation of the core data being received by the receiver on the motherboard is effected. The core data however remains unaffected, ie the information within the radio wave transmission. Taking this process as an analogy, I see no reason why this factor cannot equally occur should the brain act as a wet, squishy radio receiver. This would be an a-priori assumption which is ultimately unfalsifiable, however given the aforementioned phenomena that cannot be accounted for currently via materialistic means, but is parsimonious with a receiver/filter theory, I think we can posit it here.

2) Alzheimer's and other brain degenerative diseases lead to lack of lucidity and impairments/changes of the mind = the brain creates the mind.

Again, looking at a radio. If you severe the motherboard connections, you will ultimately expect that the sound of the broadcast will inevitably be impaired. If you cut the right wires, or at least damage the connection (say grind down a particular wire so that the electrical transmission is limited, why the hell you would do this is beyond me but there you are), you can make the voice of the speaker low pitched, crackly, robotic etc. Like the brain, cutting certain connections will not effect the sound (mind), but will cause other issues. Maybe the LED that lights up to show the radio is on will no longer work, and maybe if you cut a certain neuronal connection your legs will no longer work properly but the mind remains unaffected. Only particular connections on the motherboard will cause changes in the receiving and processing capabilities of the radio waves. Combatting this, we have phenomena such as terminal/paradoxical lucidity which in physical terms would suggest a sudden regeneration of severed connections which is able to return full lucidity despite the days, months, weeks or years of degenerative disease. This often occurs days or hours (sometimes minutes) prior to death, so to me seems a stretch to say that sudden regeneration could occur. Especially given that we have no mechanism as to how this could possibly happen. A disconnection of pure consciousness (radio waves) from the physical brain, removing the impairments and allowing for total experience of the core data seems reasonable, again when taken in accordance with other phenomena such as NDEs, OBEs, apparent PSI phenomena etc. Of course, it's not a perfect analogy because the brain is perhaps the most advanced machine in the natural universe of which we have only scratched the surface of understanding.

3) General Anesthesia takes consciousness away. If consciousness is separate, we would not ever be unconscious.

I'm not sure about this one, it's a very good point, and one I have pondered over before. However, there is now evidence according to the discussion I had with Dr Bernardo Kastrup that suggest that we are in fact still consciousness whilst under general anesthesia and also while in deep sleep. This is the link he sent me pointing to the evidence: https://content.sciendo.com/view/journal...Fg9T1DNK6k

My thoughts are this: if we suppose that the brain IS indeed a filter/receiver of consciousness, we can expect that experience is limited to the brain's ability to process and translate physical sensory information into our core experience of consciousness. We know that the brain is responsible for generating effectively an illusion of reality based on the sensory information it receives, and can reasonably assume in the creation of memories (which I would then argue are stored in the core consciousness ... "field" if you like). So when we interfere with it's ability to receive and translate these sensory stimuli, and it's ability to create and 'send' memories into awareness, of course we can expect to be seen as unconscious. There is no way of knowing if we were conscious, but due to the effects of the anesthetics, were unable to store the experience in consciousness. There is no way to tell one way or the other. Similar to those who have been near death and have NOT reported an NDE (according to Pim Van Lommel, this accounts for approximately 80% of his sample), we cannot know if they did not have an experience, or DID have an experience which was not saved in memory. Why this is the case with some and not others, we don't know, but it is certainly not evidence against the phenomenon. I'm not certain on my opinions in this instance in the case of general anesthesia, these are just my uneducated thoughts on the matter.

4) We can see consistent activity in the parts of the brain and the chemicals it produces that creates certain emotions and sensations = brain creates these emotions and sensations.

Not really much to say about this, anyone who brings this point up are showing correlation, not causation. When I play my piano, a light shows telling me which key I pressed and which note the sound suggests (eg, I press the C key, I hear a note, and the light shows up as 'C') This happens every time, but does not suggest that the light that tells me what note I pressed produces the 'C' sound itself. An example of correlation.

5) Anyone who believes that the brain does not create consciousness are peddling woo and pseudoscience.

Good one, now go back to your "atheist-skeptic-rationalthinker.com" forum

6) We know that the brain produces consciousness.

The majority of the population take this without question. After all, given all the evidence above does it not make sense? Well yes it does, but so does my hypothesis... and mine can account for the anomalous experiences that the 'brain creates consciousness' hypothesis can not at this moment in time. Could it be that there are material processes that could account for them that we haven't discovered yet? Absolutely! However given the ongoing hard problem of consciousness, and the presence of anomalous experience. Should we not consider the possibility that maybe the assumed scientific method that has worked so well thus far is perhaps beginning to find limitations, and may in fact not be the be all and end all to the pursuit of knowledge? Now that we have identified phenomena that cannot be explained, instead of stating a promissory note that material science WILL explain it eventually, we should at least try branching out and developing new means and methods outside of 'shut up and calculate'. We should begin taking 'anecdotes' of millions (estimated up to 1 billion) people, many of which have been third party verified to include veridical perception, seriously and not dismiss them as impossible off the bat. Science is NOT 'shut up and calculate', science is NOT one method that must be adhered to. Science is the very process of discovery which must be plastic; able to be developed and changed when new evidence and new phenomena challenge the dominant methodologies. The current scientific method, like all before it, is assumed. It has worked tremendously during the past several hundred years, however there are now phenomena which are suggesting it's time to adjust and advance.

To say 'We know that the brain produces consciousness" is false. We do not. We have no mechanism as to how unconscious matter can give rise to 'qualia' or experience. The whole foundation of the hard problem is based on this fact. True, we also have no mechanism as to how physical matter could act as a receiver to an unknown 'field' or 'essence' of consciousness, and indeed no mechanism as to how that field would even operate. However, we now have observed and verified phenomena that suggest that the latter process may be worth considering, as it is certainly (in my opinion) much more parsimonious a theory for all the data we observe than that of physical matter alone giving rise to experience.
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I’d broadly agree with all that. I’d just make the observation that all of the points ignore the evidence of survival of consciousness from other sources. Even if it were possible for all those points to prove brain-makes-mind, the other phenomena would need to be accounted for.
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On (3) - anesthesia, my take is that this is easily accounted for in the filter or transceiver theory of consciousness. Simply, when the spirit is occupying and intricately interpenetrating the body/brain in order to experience the Earth physical environment, it's consciousness is obviously subject to the physical state or condition of the brain's neuronal structure. If the operation of the brain's neural structure is disabled by an anesthetic agent, due to this intricate interpenetration with the brain, consciousness is therefore damped out. The artificial anesthetic's mechanism of operation does not trigger whatever specialized neural mechanism exists to enable exit of the spirit from the brain at the time of physical death or it's impending approach. If the patient physically dies, he regains consciousness as a disembodied spirit. Otherwise, when the anesthesia wears off he regains consciousness as an embodied spirit.
(This post was last modified: 2021-01-18, 08:11 PM by nbtruthman.)
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Good post, Darren. My take on this is that instead of "consciousness" being some kind of universal material like gravity for instance (as Van Lommel and Alexander have stated) which is continuing as in NDE's, I tend to think there is literally a man in the machine. A dualistic stance. Highly amusing to many, of course but that's what the data seems to indicate. 

In other words, I don't think some measure of "consciousness" from some kind of universal conglomerate of consciousness, somehow flows into our brains (the receiver) to animate us. I think I existed as an entity before my current physical body was conceived and I think I will leave it at some time in the future. 

Of course, such notions invite raucous laughter with hands slapping legs. Just my thoughts. We shall have to wait and see if Parnia can shed some light on this.
(This post was last modified: 2021-01-19, 01:38 PM by tim.)
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Just to illustrate my post above, I think this is a particularly good example of the man in the machine, somehow stepping out of it, with a lot of help from a bolt of lightning, of course.  Sceptics would merely say it's just an anecdote. I don't find that excuse terribly satisfying, though. 

 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6179462/
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(2021-01-19, 01:36 PM)tim Wrote: Good post, Darren. My take on this is that instead of "consciousness" being some kind of universal material like gravity for instance (as Van Lommel and Alexander have stated) which is continuing as in NDE's, I tend to think there is literally a man in the machine. A dualistic stance. Highly amusing to many, of course but that's what the data seems to indicate. 

In other words, I don't think some measure of "consciousness" from some kind of universal conglomerate of consciousness, somehow flows into our brains (the receiver) to animate us. I think I existed as an entity before my current physical body was conceived and I think I will leave it at some time in the future. 

Of course, such notions invite raucous laughter with hands slapping legs. Just my thoughts. We shall have to wait and see if Parnia can shed some light on this.

Some form of interactive dualism is quite evidently the correct theory of consciousness, based on numerous large bodies of empirical evidence accumulated especially for reincarnation, NDEs, and mediumistic communications. Of course academic scientistic materialists and even the new wave of half-respectable panpsychists deride the theory since they are certain these paranormal phenomena just do not exist, and they dismiss dualism using the old and invalid argument that with two fundamental substances there would be no means for spirit to interact with matter.  Deliberate ignorance, arrogance and deep ideological/theological commitment to the religion of scientism is what is exhibited by the "raucous laughter with hands slapping legs". An old saying - pride goeth before the fall.

It's interesting that despite this toxic atmosphere prevailing in academia some philosophers and others still espouse forms of dualism. An example is Marcus Arvan, inventor of the P2P virtual reality simulation theory, probably the leading world simulation theory. The various world simulation theories and especially Arvan's seem to come closest to plausibly explaining the weirdnesses and inexplicable aspects of quantum mechanics. On human consciousness, he views human consciousnesses as that of entities that exist apart from the simulation, the participators or users.
(This post was last modified: 2021-01-19, 05:38 PM by nbtruthman.)
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(2021-01-19, 04:46 PM)tim Wrote: Sceptics would merely say it's just an anecdote.


I maintain that anecdotes are seriously underrated. Or maybe that should be ‘scientific papers’ are seriously overrated?   Horror
Oh my God, I hate all this.   Surprise
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(2021-01-19, 01:36 PM)tim Wrote: My take on this is that instead of "consciousness" being some kind of universal material like gravity for instance (as Van Lommel and Alexander have stated) which is continuing as in NDE's, I tend to think there is literally a man in the machine. A dualistic stance. Highly amusing to many, of course but that's what the data seems to indicate.

In other words, I don't think some measure of "consciousness" from some kind of universal conglomerate of consciousness, somehow flows into our brains (the receiver) to animate us. I think I existed as an entity before my current physical body was conceived and I think I will leave it at some time in the future.

I'm glad you posted this, tim, because I think it highlights the way we, perhaps problematically or at least unknowingly, use words differently here. The potential problem that I perceive is that "consciousness" can be used to mean two slightly different things: firstly, as that structured mental energy which enables thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and, in general, experience, as well as, secondly, that first-person experienc[e/ing] which is the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and in general, experience, of the subject of experience.

I think that in the above you are perhaps referring to the second meaning: the "person" of the "first-person experiencing" which is consciousness (or, rather, which is "being conscious"); that is, the definition of consciousness in which the subject ("man in the machine") of consciousness is primary, and who experiences. Perhaps (I do not know enough about them to be sure) Van Lommel and Alexander are focussed more on the first meaning, in which, for a subject of experience to experience in the first place, there needs to be some sort of structured mental energy in which that subject's experiences consist (looking from, as Bernardo Kastrup might say, the "outside" of those experiences). Perhaps this is the sense in which consciousness is a "universal material" as you suggest Van Lommel and Alexander state: as the (universal) objective mental energy which facilitates the subjectivity of experience; two sides of the same coin - one objective, looking from the outside in, and one subjective, looking from the inside out.

My own view is probably most aligned with the mystics of old who have declared us to be multi-layered beings, with potential layers being physical, astral, etheric, mental, spiritual, etc. I am not knowledgeable about the particular layers, but my suggestion is that there is in a sense "one energy" which is more or less conducive to "mentality" (consciousness) as well as "reflectivity" (consciousness of being conscious). The less conducive to these attributes this energy is, the more "physical", "material", or "dense" it is. The more conducive, the more it accords with the sort of idealist perspective in which mental energy and conscious experience are, indeed, two sides of the same coin.

Darren, thank you for your opening post. I think it lays out the case against the positive arguments for brain=mind very well. I think a complementary post would put forward the positive case for brain!=mind, but I understand that that was not the objective of your actual post, which achieved its aim very well. I would perhaps only suggest a different analogy to "filtration" or "reception". For me, as I tried to make clear above, it is more like "layering". The core layer of the self is that which the idealist would have it as, in which inner experience is mirrored in external form; in which there is only consciousness: the outer appearance being wholly reflective of the inner experience. This might be seen as the soul itself; as the very basis and fundament of the self.

This self/soul then layers itself in a "denser" layer of energy, and then a yet denser layer, and a yet denser layer, etc, until we arrive at the densest layer of "the physical body", which is similarly as dense as the "external world", apart from those other souls embodied in that external world - and these layers, presumably by design but potentially also by evolution, "fit" with one another, like a series of sheathed gloves, in which that which happens in each layer affects all of the other layers.

That's how I'd explain why the denser layers (such as the "physical" brain) have an effect upon the "lighter" layers of consciousness itself: the layers are - while the soul is embodied in this reality - intertwined and interdependent; each layer affects, and is affected by, all of the others. In any case, the arguments given a "layering" model are very similar to the arguments you (Darren) make with respect to the "filtration" and "reception" models, so there's no need for a radical revision.

This layering model has the advantage of avoiding the objection - not that I think that it's a sound objection anyway - of "But how do two radically different ontological substances, the physical and the mental, interact?" To this we can respond, "There is only one substance with a range of 'densities'; thus there is no 'interaction' problem because there is only one substance with different properties".
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(2021-01-19, 06:16 PM)Laird Wrote: I'm glad you posted this, tim, because I think it highlights the way we, perhaps problematically or at least unknowingly, use words differently here. The potential problem that I perceive is that "consciousness" can be used to mean two slightly different things: firstly, as that structured mental energy which enables thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and, in general, experience, as well as, secondly, that first-person experienc[e/ing] which is the thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and in general, experience, of the subject of experience.

I think that in the above you are perhaps referring to the second meaning: the "person" of the "first-person experiencing" which is consciousness (or, rather, which is "being conscious"); that is, the definition of consciousness in which the subject ("man in the machine") of consciousness is primary, and who experiences. Perhaps (I do not know enough about them to be sure) Van Lommel and Alexander are focussed more on the first meaning, in which, for a subject of experience to experience in the first place, there needs to be some sort of structured mental energy in which that subject's experiences consist (looking from, as Bernardo Kastrup might say, the "outside" of those experiences). Perhaps this is the sense in which consciousness is a "universal material" as you suggest Van Lommel and Alexander state: as the (universal) objective mental energy which facilitates the subjectivity of experience; two sides of the same coin - one objective, looking from the outside in, and one subjective, looking from the inside out.

My own view is probably most aligned with the mystics of old who have declared us to be multi-layered beings, with potential layers being physical, astral, etheric, mental, spiritual, etc. I am not knowledgeable about the particular layers, but my suggestion is that there is in a sense "one energy" which is more or less conducive to "mentality" (consciousness) as well as "reflectivity" (consciousness of being conscious). The less conducive to these attributes this energy is, the more "physical", "material", or "dense" it is. The more conducive, the more it accords with the sort of idealist perspective in which mental energy and conscious experience are, indeed, two sides of the same coin.

Darren, thank you for your opening post. I think it lays out the case against the positive arguments for brain=mind very well. I think a complementary post would put forward the positive case for brain!=mind, but I understand that that was not the objective of your actual post, which achieved its aim very well. I would perhaps only suggest a different analogy to "filtration" or "reception". For me, as I tried to make clear above, it is more like "layering". The core layer of the self is that which the idealist would have it as, in which inner experience is mirrored in external form; in which there is only consciousness: the outer appearance being wholly reflective of the inner experience. This might be seen as the soul itself; as the very basis and fundament of the self.

This self/soul then layers itself in a "denser" layer of energy, and then a yet denser layer, and a yet denser layer, etc, until we arrive at the densest layer of "the physical body", which is similarly as dense as the "external world", apart from those other souls embodied in that external world - and these layers, presumably by design but potentially also by evolution, "fit" with one another, like a series of sheathed gloves, in which that which happens in each layer affects all of the other layers.

That's how I'd explain why the denser layers (such as the "physical" brain) have an effect upon the "lighter" layers of consciousness itself: the layers are - while the soul is embodied in this reality - intertwined and interdependent; each layer affects, and is affected by, all of the others. In any case, the arguments given a "layering" model are very similar to the arguments you (Darren) make with respect to the "filtration" and "reception" models, so there's no need for a radical revision.

This layering model has the advantage of avoiding the objection - not that I think that it's a sound objection anyway - of "But how do two radically different ontological substances, the physical and the mental, interact?" To this we can respond, "There is only one substance with a range of 'densities'; thus there is no 'interaction' problem because there is only one substance with different properties".

Thanks, Laird ! I tend to come at it via the literal reports of NDErs. Theories, not so much. That may be a mistake, of course, maybe we ought not to take what they are saying at face value. (I don't particularly see any really good reason why we can't though)

As I understand it, dualism is simply regarded as an unacceptable solution to any notion of survival. Van Lommel's endless, all purveying consciousness, like a mobile phone signal, is obviously more appealing, in that it seems to be almost reasonable (in theory). 

When he talks about the brain being a receiver and/or a reducing valve, it sounds less like he needs 'certifying' in the eyes of mainstream science. Suggesting that an autonomous entity actually resides in the brain (and maybe in the body too), and can make an exit, is a non starter and will not even be considered.  I suspect that's why Van Lommel has steered away from that, even when his patients have told him exactly that.
(This post was last modified: 2021-01-19, 07:01 PM by tim.)
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