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Robin Datta
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Quite importantly, brain size has shrunk with domestication in animals - including human animals. Over the past 20,000 years the human animal has lost a volume of brain equivalent to a tennis ball in the average adult male.
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2014 on News Release at Question Everything
Actually there is a large cavity in the human brain with inter-communicating sections. They are the two lateral ventricles, and the midline third ventricle and fourth ventricle.
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2014 on News Release at Question Everything
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2014 on News Release at Question Everything
find out about consciousness by observing how it seems to come out of complex brains That's the point of confusion. Consciousness is the observer, NEVER the observed. What is observed is thoughts & emotions - concepts - about consciousness. Not one of these is consciousness. How many other persons' consciousness has one ever experienced in one's own consciousness? Others' consciousness cannot be observed: only a concept of "others' consciousness" can be observed. The others, all 7+ billion of them, can be meat robots, automatons (albeit with very fancy hardware & software) for all one knows. Sure, they behave in a manner that makes it plausible that they are conscious. But to attribute consciousness to them is faith, perhaps reasonable, but backed by no proof whatsoever. Without accommodating this possibility that all others are meat robots, any conjectures on consciousness remain wishful thinking.
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2014 on Exploring Consciousness at Question Everything
the rest of you may be zombies for all I really know! Indeed. Only one consciousness is experienced, not "my" consciousness, but "me" consciousness. The "mind" is a concept that "I" experience ("my mind"), and anything experienced is not the self. Even the "I" is experienced: awareness of the existence of a conscious human being. None of these are the basis of awareness. All flowers on their own are black, as on a pitch-dark night. Sunshine gives them all their many colours. Yet sunlight is not itself seen unless directly incident in the eye. So too, consciousness itself cannot be experienced as an object: it is only known as the subject. The mind is likewise insentient, and it is perfectly possible that all are meat-robots except for myself: and that's because I have am awareness, but do not share it with anyone else. “the real problem is subjective experience” The actual problem that is completely overlooked: "real problem" is a concept, and likewise "subjective experience" is a concept. As concepts, they are both objects. There is a Sanskrit term that includes qualia Consciousness does not think; it illumines (inert) thoughts; it does not have feelings; it illuminates (inert) emotions. It does not act; it illuminates the mirage called "I" on which the sense of agency (doer-ship) is projected; it does not experience anything; it illuminates the same mirage called "i" on which the sense of experiencer-ship is projected. The flower is not a part of the content of sunlight. The mind-body "problem" is not a problem: the mind is an aspect of the functionality of a part of the body, the brain. The body-mind complex is a meat-robot: one does not have to invoke awareness to explain its functioning. This is where materialists also screw up, by invoking awareness in others. Rather than ponder what consciousness must be from an armchair, Damasio has been examining the brain, its functions, and their correspondence with reported subjective experiences as well as behaviors. He has screwed up from the outset. "Brains", "functions", "correspondence" and "reported subjective experiences" are all concepts, and therefore objects. They do not offer handles to consciousness. Real, natural intelligence will never be simulated by a program. Unless, of course it has the complexity made possible by biological evolution.
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2014 on Exploring Consciousness at Question Everything
Actually there is no wizard anywhere: “they have ceased to cherish any arbitrary notions of their own selfhood, other selves, living beings, or a universal self. Why? Because if they continue to hold onto arbitrary conceptions as to their own selfhood, they will be holding onto something that is non-existent. It is the same with all arbitrary conceptions of other selves, living beings, or a universal self. These are all expressions of non-existent things.” - Diamond Sutra - A New Translation by Alex Johnson: Chapter 14
It will play out as they will be the last people standing Standing - let's hope so.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2013 on Knowers/Thinkers at Question Everything
Homo callidus paucisapiens headed for a bottleneck? What if the bottle is capped? Besides, democracy can work fine on limited sapience, as in two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.
Evidence that Oil Limits are Leading to Declining Economic Growth: July 13, 2012
Now yer cookin'! Some possibly pertinent links: Gail Tverberg (Gail the Actuary)'s Blog "Our Finite World": World Energy Consumption Since 1820 in Charts March 12, 2012 Per capita energy consumption various countries world per capita energy consumption was increasing until the late 70s, hitting a peak in 1977. There was a fairly long period until about 2000 where per-capita energy consumption was on a plateau. Evidence that Oil Limits are Leading to Declining Economic Growth: July 13, 2012 World Oil Supply Growth vs Growth in World GDP
Cooperation is mandatory for group success. For collective fitness of the group, the ability to identify and shake off freeloaders and shirkers may also be adaptive, just like apoptosis in Metazoans. What is difficult in a societal (hierarchical) context is achieving a balance between the two. The responsibility for cooperation is foisted off on the "group" while entitlement is retained: horizontal interactions of community are minimised. Community and society do not mix.
Toggle Commented Jul 30, 2013 on Extinction at Question Everything
Speculations about "what might have happened" are exercises that serve a variety of purposes from constructing theories to punishing wrongdoers. But in the end they are all speculations.
The life forms affected by the environmental degradation and ecosystem disruption do not vote, make campaign contributions, sit on boards of directors and in legislative bodies, or have other such levers of political power within their reach. A very few have found themselves useful to humans. If success is measured in numbers, feedlot cattle, monoculture corn wheat and soy, factory-farmed chickens and the like might be counted among the successful, but only as long as humans can subsidise them.
Toggle Commented Nov 29, 2012 on Dissolving Sea Snails! at Decline of the Empire
The folks at the conference may not have to worry too much for too long: Charting Mankind’s Arctic Methane Emission Exponential Expressway to Total Extinction in the Next 50 Years.
Does it even matter whether or not there is an election?
Dr. Mobus, are you preaching to the choir, crying in the wilderness, or hoping to convert some passerby? Or perhaps all three? Nevertheless, thank you for speaking out.
The problem, of course, is the packaging. Where I learnt algebra, I never heard of "quadratic" equations, but I know now that some of what I learned goes by that name here. The cut-and-dried way it is presented here takes all the life out of mathematics. The Arabs called algebra Hisaab al Jabr, meaning the powerful computation, but it is endowed with its power only by the motivation of the person using it.
Even the "unification theory" exists within conscious awareness.
Thank you, Dr. Mobus, for so assiduously turning over the humanure. But a wise person had once advised me that it is sometimes better to leave the bucket undisturbed: the more you stir it, the more it stinks. The paradigm shift out of "growth" will not come easy. As Francis Bacon said about greatness, some will be born into it, some will attain it through their achievements, and upon some - the rest, the multitude - it will be thrust. Sink or swim.
Since Plasmodia had a dinoflagellate ancestor, would it be appropriate to consider making the desired antigens in a dinoflagellate? Maybe even consider combining the two genomes if it simplifies further steps?
Perception (of the world) is subordinate to awareness; awareness is an object within consciousness; consciousness is subjective ("I"). What is beyond is not in the realm of the "I".
Toggle Commented Jun 26, 2012 on What is the Universe Up To? at Question Everything
Life emerged and evolved to produce consciousness. The non-theistic religions, Buddhism, Jainism and non-dual Vedantic Hinduism assign primacy to consciousness: for each individual being, it is where awareness of perceptions begins and where all concepts are conceived. It is the sine qua non for everything else.
Toggle Commented Jun 24, 2012 on What is the Universe Up To? at Question Everything
Education of a Scientist
Toggle Commented Mar 29, 2012 on Update and a Good Link at Question Everything
When the economists say "economy" they are referring to the process of conversion of (natural) resources into (usable) products, a process that is predicated (mostly unbeknownst to them) on energy flows. When they speak of economic "growth" (again, mostly unbeknownst to them) this translates into an acceleration of the process of conversion of resources into products. And when they say “The economy that we had before the recession is gone,” what they are referring to with the term "economy" (yet again, mostly unbeknownst to them) translates into that acceleration. The economy is not gone - not by a long shot. Both the primary economy, the natural resources, and the secondary economy, the usable products still exist. However the cumulative effects of the depredations wrought upon the primary economy since the adoption of agriculture, and magnified untold orders of magnitude since the adoption of fossil fuels (which happens to be another natural resource!) are now having increasingly severe consequences. It is also to be remembered that the process is linear from resource to product to wastes & trash. Biological ecosystems are sustained by cycles: the wastes at one point are the resources for the next point forming closed loops. With human activities, even renewable resources are depleted faster than their replenishment rates; even the so-called "renewable" energy sources require capture devices made from, and maintained with, non-renewable resources. The depleting fossil fuels and the shrinking of the energy streams contingent upon them, exacerbated by the depletion of most other natural resources, mandates not just a loss of the acceleration of the conversion process of resource to product, but an inevitable deceleration of the same. To economists, all this is represented by symbols: pieces of green paper bearing pictures of dead presidents, magnetized particles on hard drives, etc. This is the tertiary economy, where those limits do not apply in the creation of more symbols.
One may recognize the disconnect between the "politician" and the "state". The "state" is an oversized organizational chart personified. There is no such thing as Country X, but its organizational chart specifies and defines the location and status of everyone in the hierarchy. When the politician makes a promise, much of the responsibility devolves on the personified chart. This is particularly true for promises that are to come to fruition after the politician's term(s) in office. This adds to the surreality of the circumstances where diving into deNile with ignorance of or blindness towards the approaching crocodile of reality.
Toggle Commented Jan 26, 2012 on Am I Living in a Nightmare? at Question Everything