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Old 10-26-2017, 07:51 AM
 
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It happens often with Google. I suppose others get it also. I Googled "Can electrons cause consciousness" and got a page of "Do electrons have consciousness". Whole different animal? I shall try again. I am wondering if anyone has put this idea forward for thought. Reading about panpsychism, I started wondering if, instead of suggesting that electrons, quarks, and other particles have consciousness, is it possible that the actions of electrons actually cause consciousness in the brain? I would like to read about the idea if anyone has seen writings about it. Thank you.
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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There is an ongoing debate about how anesthesia works. From a mainstream scientific viewpoint, that is where you will find the most generally accepted studies. One of the leading theories is that there is a disruption of sub-atomic particles in tubules that "shuts off" consciousness.

Once you get into panpsychism and more exotic thought, you almost immediately have to accept some sort of duality, where the "physical" is informed or instructed by forces/thought/consciousness outside of the physical. I used to consider that as completely off-the-wall, but there are simply too many anomalies for me to continue to dismiss it.

For those who are skeptical that life is anything more than simple Newtonian expressions of chemicals and physics, chlorophyll apparently only works as well as it does because it involves a quantum jump where an (electron?) passes through an impenetrable barrier to JUST the right spot for maximum energy transfer.

Getting into anything deeper in the science forum would be considered off-topic.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:50 PM
 
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I am confused because that isn't exactly what I was referring to. Nothing to do with anesthesia. Our subconscious allegedly does a lot of our thinking for us - using memory of experiences, I presume. Our consciousness is the more aware part - where we are alert to what is happening around us. That was the consciousness to which I was referring. What this consciousness is has never been decided. But I've never heard any theory that electrons might be the cause of "awakening" the consciousness. I just got to wondering if anyone ever had thought such. Or, is it even possible? Isn't it a fact that electrons help the neurons in the brain pass along messages? If they can do that much, how much more can they do?

I hope I've made sense trying to explain. I should probably have not mentioned panpsychism. I only meant that reading about it started me thinking, not about electrons having - or not having - consciousness but what can electrons do to awaken he consciouness.

I think I'd better stop. :-)
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Old 10-26-2017, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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I'm not sure I understand what you are asking then. A parallel might be that water "awakens" the conscious, because just as a brain won't function without electrons, it won't function without water.

Also, the concept of the unconscious is not as clearly demarked from consciousness as some seem to think. When you drive a car, you have to be conscious. That doesn't mean the focus of your awareness is always on the act of driving. You also are not driving "unconsciously." I've heard it stated that the reality of "consciousness" is that we are constantly in varied hypnotic states, where PART of us is actively aware but a much larger part is only passively or partially aware. For some people, alcohol may reduce inhibition or encourage uninhibited activity. Are they conscious? It depends on your perception or definition. They themselves might not remember the experience, and yet at least parts of them functions in a conscious fashion in that state.

Hard science fails at understanding how consciousness functions. That is why the AI that has so far been developed is rudimentary, and even at those primitive levels the researchers have begun to get lost as to what is happening as sentience is approached.
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Old 10-26-2017, 03:55 PM
 
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All right. Let it go. I'm not explaining it rightly. Thanks anyway.
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Old 10-27-2017, 10:12 AM
 
18,138 posts, read 13,868,011 times
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Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post
It happens often with Google. I suppose others get it also. I Googled "Can electrons cause consciousness" and got a page of "Do electrons have consciousness". Whole different animal? I shall try again. I am wondering if anyone has put this idea forward for thought. Reading about panpsychism, I started wondering if, instead of suggesting that electrons, quarks, and other particles have consciousness, is it possible that the actions of electrons actually cause consciousness in the brain? I would like to read about the idea if anyone has seen writings about it. Thank you.
Hi Hazel. You might get better results by searching for ''What causes consciousness?'' This article in LiveScience might help you.
Minds Everywhere: 'Panpsychism' Takes Hold in Science

Are humans living in a simulation? Is consciousness nothing more than the firing of neurons in the brain? Or is consciousness a distinct entity that permeates every speck of matter in the universe?

Read more:https://www.livescience.com/53791-wh...ciousness.html
Though researchers don't know what causes consciousness, they do know that certain areas of the brain are switched on when a person is conscious and switched off when a person is not.
What causes our brain to develop consciousness?

This is a problem several branches of Science are actively working on, and the answer isn't completely clear, yet. However, in the last few years, we've made immense progress—much more than has penetrated into pop culture. For instance, we now know the specific brain regions that are "switched on" when people are conscious and "switched off" when people are zoned out, asleep, or anesthetized.

https://www.quora.com/What-causes-ou...onsciousness-1
The brain produces electrical impulses (the flow of electrons), and it follows that those impulses are involved in switching parts of the brain on and off. But how consciousness results from certain areas of the brain being switched on is not known.
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Old 10-27-2017, 11:44 AM
 
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Good morning and thank you, Mike. You have come very close to what I was trying to talk about with the firing of neutrons. And your suggestion about panpsychism was a real coincidence as I had just read Philip Goff's article about panpsychism. Prof. Goff and two others were covering a question in Philosophy Now (Aug/Sep 2017): "Can Science Explain Consciousness?" I shall follow through on your suggestions. Each covered a different theory of what consciousness is. A fourth theory - phisicalism - was also discussed.

As for panpsychism, long ago there was another theory very close to this but with one big difference. I never hear it mentioned any more other than once in an article about the Jainists. It simply said there is only one spirit (think "consciousness") in the world and we are all part of that spirit. From it we came; to it we go.

Back to the electrons. You said "The brain produces electrical impulses (the flow of electrons), and it follows that those impulses are involved in switching parts of the brain on and off. But how consciousness results from certain areas of the brain being switched on is not known."

This is what I was trying to explain at the beginning. Is it possible that the result of those firings creates what we are calling consciousness? Or is consciousness still something more? Only I did not see it as the brain producing the flow of electrons. What I was "seeing" is firing electrons (do they "fire"?) producing a spark of life (consciousness) in the brain?

I don't see how the brain itself can produce. Something within it has to "start" action. Would it sound stupid to say the brain is the sum of its parts and each part does a job for the whole (the brain). Think of the vacuum cleaner. It just sits there in the closet until you plug it into a power source and punch a button.

Well, all right. I've come full circle. I'd best stop. All very interesting and thought-provoking. Thank you again. I'll follow through on your suggestions.
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Old 11-05-2017, 06:53 AM
 
2,224 posts, read 2,408,928 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
Hi Hazel. You might get better results by searching for ''What causes consciousness?'' This article in LiveScience might help you.
Minds Everywhere: 'Panpsychism' Takes Hold in Science

Are humans living in a simulation? Is consciousness nothing more than the firing of neurons in the brain? Or is consciousness a distinct entity that permeates every speck of matter in the universe?

Read more:https://www.livescience.com/53791-wh...ciousness.html
Though researchers don't know what causes consciousness, they do know that certain areas of the brain are switched on when a person is conscious and switched off when a person is not.
What causes our brain to develop consciousness?

This is a problem several branches of Science are actively working on, and the answer isn't completely clear, yet. However, in the last few years, we've made immense progress—much more than has penetrated into pop culture. For instance, we now know the specific brain regions that are "switched on" when people are conscious and "switched off" when people are zoned out, asleep, or anesthetized.

https://www.quora.com/What-causes-ou...onsciousness-1
The brain produces electrical impulses (the flow of electrons), and it follows that those impulses are involved in switching parts of the brain on and off. But how consciousness results from certain areas of the brain being switched on is not known.
Mike, I came back to say a huge thank you for all of this. I think I see what I was aiming for here. It is only a theory and only what causes, not what is. That was my question. There is so much to think about. At any rate, I think Mr. Graziano has one suggestion that may answer. He mentions the idea put forward by Francis Crick and Christof Koch: "Consciousness might be caused by the electrical activity of many neurons oscillating together". Perhaps that equates to what I called "the firing of the neurons". It does to my mind anyway.

What Mr. Graziano points out strongly - this still doesn't say what consciousness is - don't we first need a cause? Or at least a clue that starts us down the road? I am beginning to accept his idea that we may never know exactly what consciousness is other than the adjectives we can ascribe to it. I must get his book.

So, thank you very much for all the leads. Now I can move forward.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:15 PM
 
18,138 posts, read 13,868,011 times
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Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post
Mike, I came back to say a huge thank you for all of this. I think I see what I was aiming for here. It is only a theory and only what causes, not what is. That was my question. There is so much to think about. At any rate, I think Mr. Graziano has one suggestion that may answer. He mentions the idea put forward by Francis Crick and Christof Koch: "Consciousness might be caused by the electrical activity of many neurons oscillating together". Perhaps that equates to what I called "the firing of the neurons". It does to my mind anyway.

What Mr. Graziano points out strongly - this still doesn't say what consciousness is - don't we first need a cause? Or at least a clue that starts us down the road? I am beginning to accept his idea that we may never know exactly what consciousness is other than the adjectives we can ascribe to it. I must get his book.

So, thank you very much for all the leads. Now I can move forward.
You're welcome Hazel. I'm glad you found it useful. In my personal opinion, consciousness (what it is and what causes it) cannot be explained by purely physical processes. Since this is the science forum we can't really get into metaphysical concepts though. I'll just say that I believe that we have an immaterial aspect to our being which connects to the physical material body and which animates the body and which is the source of our consciousness, with the brain providing the connection point between the immaterial aspect of our being and the material aspect of our being. I think I should leave it at that. At any rate, it's great that you have an interest in things scientific and a curiosity about the nature of things.
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:56 PM
 
2,224 posts, read 2,408,928 times
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Originally Posted by Mike555 View Post
You're welcome Hazel. I'm glad you found it useful. In my personal opinion, consciousness (what it is and what causes it) cannot be explained by purely physical processes. Since this is the science forum we can't really get into metaphysical concepts though. I'll just say that I believe that we have an immaterial aspect to our being which connects to the physical material body and which animates the body and which is the source of our consciousness, with the brain providing the connection point between the immaterial aspect of our being and the material aspect of our being. I think I should leave it at that. At any rate, it's great that you have an interest in things scientific and a curiosity about the nature of things.
Yes, best leave it at that but I do understand what you are saying.

I have one scientific question. It concerns "causes". You say the causes cannot be explained. Can you say why? Why would it be wrong to say that perhaps the electrical charge stimulates the neurons and that awakens our "consciousnes / awareness", whatever that might be? I know the article called the action of the neurons "oscillating" but I prefer "electrical stimulating" - which, of course, could cause the oscillating, I suppose. Not that I know anything. :-)

Fascinating study, isn't it?
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