Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

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Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Dimebag » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:31 pm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170727141804.htm
Study in human participants lends insight into one of neuroscience's greatest puzzles: How the brain transforms unconscious information into conscious thought

FULL STORY

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Michael Shadlen, MD, PhD (above) and his team have made new progress in our understanding of the biology of conscious thought.

Credit: John Abbott

Columbia scientists have identified the brain's 'aha!' moment -- that flash in time when you suddenly become aware of information, such as knowing the answer to a difficult question. Today's findings in humans, combined with previous research, provide compelling evidence that this moment -- this feeling of having decided -- pierces consciousness when information being collected by the brain reaches a critical level. The results of this study further suggest that this piercing of consciousness shares the same underlying brain mechanisms known to be involved in making far simpler decisions. Importantly, this study offers new hope that the biological foundations of consciousness may well be within our grasp.

This research was reported in Current Biology.

"The vast majority of thoughts circling in our brains happen below the radar of conscious awareness, meaning that even though our brain is processing them, we are not aware," said Michael Shadlen, MD, PhD, a Principal Investigator at Columbia's Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and the paper's senior author. "How some of that information bubbles to the level of consciousness, however, remains an unsolved mystery. But now, we've found a way to observe that moment in real time, and then apply those findings to our understanding of consciousness itself."

For Dr. Shadlen, the most complex thoughts that the human brain can experience -- such as love, grief, guilt or morality -- can be ultimately be boiled down to a series of decisions, made by the brain, to engage with the outside world. He has spent his career working to understand how signals sent by the brain's billions of cells result in such decisions. In so doing, he hopes to unravel the mechanisms that underlie the brain's most complex abilities.

In 2008, Dr. Shadlen and colleagues found that when asked to make a challenging decision, the brain does not use all the available information before deciding. This is not because the brain is unable to do so, but rather because at a certain point, the brain thinks it has all the information it needs. There is a mechanism in the brain that says "enough is enough."

"For us, this then begged a question," recalled Dr. Shadlen, who is also a professor of neuroscience at Columbia University Medical Center and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Could the moment when the brain believes it has accumulated enough evidence be tied to the person's awareness of having decided -- that important 'aha!' moment?"

To find out, the researchers asked five human participants to watch dots on a computer screen that moved like grains of sand blowing in the wind. The participants were then asked whether the dots seemed to be blowing to the right or to the left.

Placed in the center of the screen was a clock. Once the dots' motion ended and after a brief delay, participants chose which direction the dots had traveled. Using a controversial technique known as mental chronometry, the participants were asked to move the clock handle backwards to the time they felt they had become aware that they knew the answer. The participants repeated this action over many trials and levels of difficulty.

"The moment in time indicated by the participants -- this mental chronometry -- was entirely subjective; it relied solely on their own estimation of how long it took them to make that decision," said Dr. Shadlen. "And because it was purely subjective, in principle it ought to be unverifiable."

But by incorporating this new data with decades of previous research on the brain mechanisms of decision making, the team devised a clever way to verify whether the time reported by the participants was an accurate reflection of having actually decided.

"If the time reported to us by the participants was valid, we reasoned that it might be possible to predict the accuracy of the decision," Dr. Shadlen explained. "We incorporated a kind of mathematical trick, based on earlier studies, which showed that the speed and accuracy of decisions was tied together by the same brain function."

Previous research by Dr. Shadlen and others had uncovered how the process of making a decision plays out at the level of individual cells in the brain. By combining this knowledge with the mathematical trick, the team could scientifically validate that the participants' subjective reporting -- their feeling of having decided -- was indeed an accurate reflection of the brain's decision-making process.

"Essentially, the act of becoming consciously aware of a decision conforms to the same process that the brain goes through to complete a decision, even a simple one -- such as whether to turn left or right," said Dr. Shadlen.

While preliminary, this study raises the possibility that a deep understanding the human brain's most complex thoughts and feelings, once solely under the purview of philosophy, may soon be understood in terms of biology as well.

"Some people think that the nitty gritty of neuroscience is far from the highfalutin stuff that a philosopher would consider," said Dr. Shadlen. "But rest assured, explaining these concepts -- whether it's ethics, consciousness anything else -- in terms of neuroscience isn't explaining them away. Instead, I would argue that it is helping to bring the biological study of the brain closer to the philosophical study of the mind."

Journal Reference:

Yul H.R. Kang, Frederike H. Petzschner, Daniel M. Wolpert, Michael N. Shadlen. Piercing of Consciousness as a Threshold-Crossing Operation. Current Biology, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.047
what interests me about this article is the idea of information reaching a certain critical level, or point. As I have discussed previously, critical points also tend to coincide with phase transitions, which might be a reason why information in the brain undergoes such a transformation into a conscious form. Obviously not the only thing to take from this article, but that is one area of focus I have been curious about lately.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:26 pm

"For Dr. Shadlen, the most complex thoughts that the human brain can experience -- such as love, grief, guilt or morality -- can be ultimately be boiled down to a series of decisions, made by the brain, to engage with the outside world. "-----------wth??? the brain makes the decisions??? ........the brain decides to be in love or moral??? what is this crap??? ...shows how stupid scientists can be....people make decisions, not the brain!!
Science Fundamentalism...is exactly what happens when there’s a significant, perceived ideological threat to one’s traditions and identity.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:33 pm

Instead, I would argue that it is helping to bring the biological study of the brain closer to the philosophical study of the mind."
----------------------------at least he states the brain is not the mind....still believing brains make decisions is the belief of a one dimensional being...
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:37 pm

Babies aren't conscious?
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:38 pm

Republicans certainly aren't conscious.
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:38 pm

Ozymandias wasn't conscious of irony.
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:35 pm

gorgeous wrote:"For Dr. Shadlen, the most complex thoughts that the human brain can experience -- such as love, grief, guilt or morality -- can be ultimately be boiled down to a series of decisions, made by the brain, to engage with the outside world. "-----------wth??? the brain makes the decisions??? ........the brain decides to be in love or moral??? what is this crap??? ...shows how stupid scientists can be....people make decisions, not the brain!!
Go to a hospital. Find a patient in a permanent vegetative state...brain dead. Ask him or her to make a decision.

The brain makes decisions. Without a brain, a person cannot make decisions. :roll:
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:37 pm

gorgeous wrote:Instead, I would argue that it is helping to bring the biological study of the brain closer to the philosophical study of the mind."
----------------------------at least he states the brain is not the mind
That's not what he said at all. He was merely naming the two areas of study as being separate, not agreeing that the brain and the mind are two separate things. Reading comprehension, sweetheart.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:59 pm

brain doesn't make decisions.,you said a person can't make decisions...organs don't make decisions.... physical decisions...in nde's people out of body do make decisions...not dependent on the brain or body.......and you said he said the brain and mind are separate, then denied he said it...junior....
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby xouper » Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:53 pm

Nikki Nyx wrote:
gorgeous wrote:"For Dr. Shadlen, the most complex thoughts that the human brain can experience -- such as love, grief, guilt or morality -- can be ultimately be boiled down to a series of decisions, made by the brain, to engage with the outside world. "-----------wth??? the brain makes the decisions??? ........the brain decides to be in love or moral??? what is this crap??? ...shows how stupid scientists can be....people make decisions, not the brain!!


Go to a hospital. Find a patient in a permanent vegetative state...brain dead. Ask him or her to make a decision.

The brain makes decisions. Without a brain, a person cannot make decisions. :roll:


I am reluctant to step into this, but I will anyway, for the sake of perhaps preventing an escalation of bad feelings.

As a newbie here, perhaps you have not had enough history to know where gorgeous is coming from in her remarks. That is to say, her remarks make sense only within the context of her belief system, but that might not be obvious until one gets a more complete idea of what her metaphysical philosophy and epistemology is.

I am not endorsing what gorgeous believes (nor do I agree with it), but at least I think I understand it, having studied such authors as Jane Roberts, Robert Monroe, etc. And with that (self-alleged) understanding comes the realization that unless you can persuade her to give up the foundational axioms of her belief system, it will be pointless to try persuading her that any of the corollary or derivative beliefs or opinions are wrong. That is to say, her remarks are (for the most part) logically consistent with her core axioms and thus her remarks are not likely to be refutable without first addressing those core axioms.

Long story short: You can disagree with her remarks, but it's not likely you will persuade her to change any of her beliefs. I say this primarily in case you might be interested to avoid frustration or to avoid wasting time and energy. And also I say this in case you might be wondering whether anyone here is persuaded by her remarks.

In my opinion, Gorgeous is a well-intentioned and sincere person who is sometimes mistaken for a troll. She is merely coming from a significantly different world-view than you or I, a world-view that is probably better understood on New Age forums, for example. There is no need to worry that her remarks will hurt anyone here. Knowing that makes it easier for me avoid taking offense and instead interpret her remarks as coming from someone who is entitled to express an opposing viewpoint, even if no one else here agrees with her.

I may be out of line speaking up, in which case, never mind. :D

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:31 pm

ty xouper...yes....we are more than mere physical beings and organs don't make decisions....do you believe organs make decisions?
Science Fundamentalism...is exactly what happens when there’s a significant, perceived ideological threat to one’s traditions and identity.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby scrmbldggs » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:37 pm

Maybe xouper needs to read some more of georgies output. Like the antisemitic, misogynistic and, IIRC, racist parts?


Oh wait, nvrmd. Those s/he attacks are all crisis actors... :roll:
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:42 pm

I'm not anti-Semitic...don't know what IIRC is.....not racist...not misogynistic...though you seem to be...
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:49 pm

Yeah, so...........let's agree decisions and intentionality are made by something other than the brain?....... So what???? Name any consequence at all from that notion. You can't. And when you can't, there is "no difference."

Let that sink in.
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby scrmbldggs » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:56 pm

gorgeous wrote:I'm not anti-Semitic...don't know what IIRC is.....not racist...not misogynistic...

You're right. Individual labels are irrelevant. You'll besmirch anything you set your demented eyes on.
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:58 pm

I've never smirched in my life....show me......and bobo what it means is we are more than a body and a brain...we are non-physical also....hence those that travel out of body...
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Matthew Ellard » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:00 am

gorgeous wrote:I'm not anti-Semitic..
You copy and paste from the Rense Organisation anti-Semitic website and use the euphemism "The Illuminati" for when you are attacking Jews.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby xouper » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:01 am

scrmbldggs wrote:Maybe xouper needs to read some more of georgies output. Like the antisemitic, misogynistic and, IIRC, racist parts?


Oh wait, nvrmd. Those s/he attacks are all crisis actors... :roll:


I've seen them.

Some of her "interpretations" of events seem like wacky conspiracy theories to me (and I assume to others) and I do not endorse or defend them, but I sincerely do not believe she is racist or bigoted or whatever.

Her manner of expression is sometimes less than ideal (or perhaps sometimes overly dramatic), but I have learned to look past that to get a sense of what she is trying to say.

Look, I guess what I'm trying to say here is that there's really no point in squandering your mental energy being upset with what she posts on this forum.

Nonetheless, I don't want to be seen here as telling y'all what to do. I am just expressing my own opinions. Y'all are still free to get yer undies in a wad at the things she says, if that's really what you prefer to do with your time. :D

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Matthew Ellard » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:04 am

gorgeous wrote: organs don't make decisions....do you believe organs make decisions?


How the Autonomous Nervous System Works
The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal.[2] This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight-or-flight response.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomic_nervous_system

Now Gorgeous, if you were born in 1955, then perhaps they didn't teach this to you in primary school.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby scrmbldggs » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:04 am

And, of course, you're free to do with yours as you wish at what others say, xouper. :-P
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:06 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
gorgeous wrote:I'm not anti-Semitic..
You copy and paste from the Rense Organisation anti-Semitic website and use the euphemism "The Illuminati" for when you are attacking Jews.

------don't copy from there....illum are many types...
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:07 am

xou....do organs make decisions?
Science Fundamentalism...is exactly what happens when there’s a significant, perceived ideological threat to one’s traditions and identity.


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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:11 am

nope...not there
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:21 am

that silence from xou and nikki means I'm right...just so you know...
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby scrmbldggs » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:23 am

gorgeous wrote:nope...not there

Had an MRI, eh?
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby Matthew Ellard » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:32 am

gorgeous wrote:that silence from xou and nikki means I'm right...just so you know...
They may have gone to bed. Are you avoiding the obvious?

You just got caught directly lying again. You directly copy and past your crap from the Anti-Semitic Rense Organisation.
:lol:

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby xouper » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:44 am

scrmbldggs wrote:And, of course, you're free to do with yours as you wish at what others say, xouper. :-P


Of course.

Which is why I also understand how difficult it can be sometimes to shrug off things other people say, especially when they take cheap shots directly at you.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby xouper » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:49 am

gorgeous wrote:xou....do organs make decisions?


It is my understanding that the human decision-making process is entirely a function of the brain. I do not believe the mind (or consciousness) exists independent from the brain. I do not believe in out-of-body (or astral) travel, or remote viewing, etc.

Is that what you were asking?

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:53 am

yes...does the brain make the decisions in the person's life...or does the person make the decisions?...the doc in the article said the brain decides when to be moral, when to love someone...does the brain decide what job to take, who to marry , what to have for breakfast???
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby scrmbldggs » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:55 am

xouper wrote:
scrmbldggs wrote:And, of course, you're free to do with yours as you wish at what others say, xouper. :-P


Of course.

Which is why I also understand how difficult it can be sometimes to shrug off things other people say, especially when they take cheap shots directly at you.

True. (That just made me recall your bouts with Norma... :shock: )

For me it's more difficult to tolerate "cheap shots" taken at others, but especially in the manner user "gorgeous" does. Ghoulishly feeding on the misery of others and selfish attention seeking is just too disgusting for me to ignore at all times.
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:57 am

I hit back when 5 or 6 of them are hitting me...you will learn the truth about conspiracies one day...
Last edited by gorgeous on Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby xouper » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:58 am



Matthew, copying from a website does not necessary mean someone endorses or advocates all the beliefs of that website. Example: if I post something copied from a KKK website, does that automatically mean I'm a racist?

Do you have any direct evidence I can look at that gorgeous has posted something anti-semite? I would go try to find it myself, but I don't know what I should be looking for.

Also, I did not know rense is an anti-semite website. I never heard that before. Where should I be looking for evidence of that?

I am not trying to say you are necessarily wrong, I am merely saying I'd like to evaluate the evidence and confirm for myself.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby scrmbldggs » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:59 am

Umm, well on the way of another thread derail... Corking that with an apology to the OP! :blush:
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:02 am

not my fault if rense has same info as other sites...don't be so gullible to believe ellard... xou...does the brain on it's own make decisions??
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby scrmbldggs » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:03 am

Offtopic

One last one, Dimebag, then I'll stop. I promise.


gorgeous wrote:I hit back when 5 or 6 of them are hitting me...you will learn the truth about conspiracies one day...a

No use implementing your sorry use of grammar, it's obvious what that "a" stands for. You've proven that you are by no means above vulgar behavior.
Last edited by scrmbldggs on Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby xouper » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:03 am

scrmbldggs wrote:
xouper wrote:
scrmbldggs wrote:And, of course, you're free to do with yours as you wish at what others say, xouper. :-P


Of course.

Which is why I also understand how difficult it can be sometimes to shrug off things other people say, especially when they take cheap shots directly at you.

True. (That just made me recall your bouts with Norma... :shock: )

For me it's more difficult to tolerate "cheap shots" taken at others, but especially in the manner user "gorgeous" does. Ghoulishly feeding on the misery of others and selfish attention seeking is just too disgusting for me to ignore at all times.


I have in the past reacted badly to what other people have posted, especially when I feel I am being treated unfairly. I'm not proud of that. I am still learning. I should also learn to avoid the forum when I'm not in a good mood.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:06 am

didn't know the a was there ...so sorry it frightened you...
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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby xouper » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:13 am

gorgeous wrote:yes...does the brain make the decisions in the person's life...or does the person make the decisions?...the doc in the article said the brain decides when to be moral, when to love someone...does the brain decide what job to take, who to marry , what to have for breakfast???


To me, what you are calling "the person" is merely an emergent property of the the brain. In other words, the "person" is not something that exists independently from the brain. Thus, it does not matter to me if a scientist says it is the brain that makes the decisions. I am not confused about what he meant to say.

Or to put it another way, whether it is the "person" or the "brain", I am not interested in that quibble in the context of this particular discussion.

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Re: Information becomes conscious by reaching a critical level

Postby gorgeous » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:16 am

so ...we emerged from the brain...interesting..........and a person is not a brain...entirely different...I think you guys have watched "The man with two brains" movie with Steve Martin too many times....he too thought we are a brain...same with cryogenics people...just freeze the brain , put in body....done.....
Science Fundamentalism...is exactly what happens when there’s a significant, perceived ideological threat to one’s traditions and identity.


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