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speaking of ron paul does anybody know where his economic ideas has worked or are now working in the world?

I have not been able to get an answer from his supporters on that one.

I know on one interview when asked who would take care of the sick and needy if not the government he responded that it would be up to charity.

scary thought.

I love his ideas on the concept of blowback. from my point of view I think one might be able to call blowback karma.

75 seconds is a pretty short commute. Wouldn’t be easier to walk? Besides, the radio caller was airborne for over three minutes and self-fueled to boot. I’m sure Ron Paul could find uses for handcuffs, duct tape and rope in relation to that supporter.

Did Slick Willie get a lesson related to ‘wisdom from the mouths of babes’?

In all sincerity though, I hope the Brits are on to something with the Alzheimer’s research. Elimination of that disease would alleviate tremendous suffering, for both victims and their families.

a helmet Michael for reversing alzheimers but wouldn't this give support to the production theory of the mind and brain or the transmission theory

I usually don't go to James Randi's site but i found this very interesting http://www.randi.org/joom/content/view/152/2/

"Sadly true: The new James Bond film will be titled Quantum of Solace. Really, guys? Really? They should have stuck with the working title, oo7."

More evidence that they need to retire the Bond series. The Bourne movies have set the standard for this era and the Bond premise is too dated to offer any semblance of competition.

"a helmet Michael for reversing alzheimers but wouldn't this give support to the production theory of the mind and brain or the transmission theory"

It tells you nothing about either theory, IMHO.

If a radio receiver is damaged, it won't play the signal, but the signal's still there.

By the way, an indication of how much my ego still controls things is the degree I’d love to be tooling around in Bond’s original Aston Martin. The armaments could significantly reduce travel time.

I wonder if I could manifest that with ‘The Secret’?

Hello everybody,

Think you guys will be interested in this:
Uri Geller is doing a show on tv in the Netherlands, during the show he tries to do telekinetic experiments with objects that are located in people their homes.
The television program was so smart to ask people to film it. Here are some effects that happened to people at home during the show:
http://www.myvideo.nl/news.php?rubrik=uoijv&searchWord=uri+geller&searchChannel=&searchOrder=

Sometimes the quality is bad, home movies, but there are some very nice ones, people really amazed and stuff, always fun to see. The commentaries are in dutch, if somebody wants a translation of one, ask me...
I didn't participate in the test cause I live in Belgium and we can't see the show here.

I know Uri Geller is a controversial figure, but I think he has some real developped telekinetic and telepathy skills.
The show is every saturday on www.sbs6.nl there is no live stream and this one was the first one, it will continue for 10 weeks...

Greets,
Filip

My father suffered from Alzheimer's and we would have done anything to make him better.
007 would be much better than what they're proposing. What does it mean?

Rocket pack is hillarious.

Ah yes the show started on 20 pm Belgian time today so the video's are fresh as a daisy.
The post thing cut the url, this one works:
http://www.myvideo.nl/news.php?rubrik=uoijv&searchWord=uri+geller
The effects are spoons or candles falling from a tv or clocks which were broken start working again etc... Very cool the program makers made it possible for people to send in their home videos. I have no doubts that the CSICOP in holland, skepsis.nl will have a completely irrational explanation for it, from self delusion to fraud to vibrating sounds...

greets,
Filip

If a radio receiver is damaged, it won't play the signal, but the signal's still there.

I think a better analogy would be: the radio gets damaged, and suddenly there are mistakes in the music, rather than a straightforward loss or distortion of the signal. Wrong notes are being played, some of the musicians aren't playing in time, the singer is mixing up the words. In this case – structural changes in the radio lead to structural changes in what is being received, rather than just "losing the signal" – you'd surely suspect that the "radio" is playing an important role (but not necessarily the only one) in the production of what is being heard and is more than just the receiver of a signal.

To me, it's strong evidence that certain aspects of mind – cognition and memory in particular – are tightly related to the structure of the brain. It says nothing about consciousness, but it speaks against some of the more extreme theories in which the brain is nothing more than an interface between the physical body and a "big" non-brain mind (consciousness, memory, cognition etc.)

Now for a non-radio analogy which might fit a little better: an orchestra (brain) and its conductor (consciousness). If I drug the orchestra, they will start making the kind of structural mistakes I've mentioned above. This doesn't imply that the orchestra was entirely responsible for the music; the conductor is still there, probably feeling a little overwhelmed at this point... if the musicians finally collapse, who's to say he's not capable of picking up one of the violins and giving us a tune while the ambulances are on their way? (corresponding to limited direct conscious interaction with the physical world, e.g. seeing things during an NDE)

John Searle gives an intriguing real-world example in one of his books on mind: people with a condition that makes them lose consciousness, but without the shutting-down of large parts of the brain that would usually happen. In some instances, they have lost consciousness while driving yet still managed to turn up at their destination (assuming the route is well-known). The kicker: they'd be driving through red lights and having near-misses along the way – basically, anything that would require conscious awareness and decision-making. The conductor is asleep, the orchestra is playing on, but the reviews are going to be awful...

For pmprescott


Ian Fleming wrote about the end of a relationship when the spark has gone,the fire has gone out and there is no "quantum of solace."
ie -when there is not even the smallest particle of consolation.
Apparently in the last film Bond lost the love of his life and that's what it refers to.

Perhaps this is the place to inject a little humor. I'm reading a review copy of "The Eager Dead" by Archie Roy (to be released next week). The main character in the book is Winifred Coombes-Tennant, aka "Mrs. Willet," the medium. The book has a number of letters from Winifred to Jean Balfour, her sister-in-law. In one of the letters, Winifred complains how dreadfully difficult things are with six servants to manage. She was much happier when she had only three servants. Life was indeed tough for the upper crust in the Edwardian era.

"Ian Fleming wrote about the end of a relationship when the spark has gone,the fire has gone out and there is no "quantum of solace."
ie -when there is not even the smallest particle of consolation.
Apparently in the last film Bond lost the love of his life and that's what it refers to."

No shit. We were bashing the title because it's fucking lame.

Ix-nay on the ursing-cay, please. This blog is G-rated, or at worst, PG-13.

Anyway, I thought Pearl's comment was helpful. I'd forgotten that Bond lost his lady love in the last film. Still don't like the title, though.

>The kicker: they'd be driving through red lights and having near-misses along the way

From what I've seen on the roads lately, a lot of drivers must suffer from this condition!

Sorry Michael

"RAARRAAGGHHAHHHARRRR...except for Ron Paul!" That was so hilarious.

Michael what do you about on the lastest buzz by the doomsayers that an asteroid will cause cause fires, earthquakes etc on the night of january 29th,2008

here's an article showing how far away it will be from earth http://space.newscientist.com/channel/solar-system/comets-asteroids/dn13225-largest-asteroid-to-come-near-earth-in-22-years.html

Now I usually don't go to James Randi website but i found a article related to the asteroid http://www.badastronomy.com/

Debunking does good with doomsayers who believe the world is going to end in the present

Debunking does good, but remember, it has to be bunk to BE debunked!

"Truly strange: A Ron Paul supporter goes absolutely ballistic on a radio call-in show ..."

Truly bizarre. I get passionate about politics, but there's a point where you just have to let go of the outcome or it really will, apparently, make you insane. I loved the comment from "Abraham Lincoln".

I read somewhere just today about the Alzheimer's helmet. I hope to God it works, and if so that it gets out on the market FAST. What a horrible disease.

Yo, marcos ferreira, you're right that "certain aspects of mind – cognition and memory in particular – are tightly related to the structure of the brain," but that still doesn't prove that the brain "is more than just the receiver of a signal." Hey, if rats can get their memories back by being treated for Alzheimer's without re-learning the memories, doesn't that prove that the memories were always there, but that when the physical brain had Alzheimer's they were merely blocked, not totally destroyed. Nothing you said necessarily makes it any less likely than it otherwise would be that "the brain is nothing more than an interface between the physical body and a 'big' non-brain mind."

I wasn't attacking any ideas that place consciousness outside the physical brain – just the ones that go a step further and shift things like memory to that "external" mind.

Alzheimer's sufferers are still conscious and capable of action and decision-making – at least in the early stages. If memory is not located in the brain, but in a conscious, non-brain mind, then why would damage to the brain affect the mind's ability to make conscious decisions based on memory? The "conscious" bit of that mind is still capable of relaying its intentions to the brain, so why wouldn't those intentions be based on the "memory" bits of the same mind?

The only way I can see around the problem would be to wall off consciousness and memory from one another in that mind, and set things up so that the memories have to be routed through the physical brain before reaching consciousness – sort of like using a telephone to communicate with someone who's sitting right next to you. So it's not logically impossible, just too convoluted and ad hoc to be very plausible.

Oh, and about the memories returning after treatment: it isn't a problem for a memory-in-brain model because Alzheimer's presumably doesn't destroy neuron cells outright, it just inhibits their proper operation (from what I can gather, by plaque deposits around the neurons). When the source of that inhibition is removed via treatment, those cells can function as they did before. If you spill coffee into your keyboard, it probably won't work for a while; once the liquid dries out, it's fine because the connections inside haven't altered in the meantime.

Regarding memory, Pim van Lommel had this to say in one of his papers (I can't recall which paper - it might have been his response to Shermer):

"Simon Berkovitch, a professor in Computer Science of the George Washington University, has calculated that the brain has an absolutely inadequate capacity to produce and store all the informational processes of all our memories with associative thoughts. We would need 10>24 operations per second, which is absolutely impossible for our neurons.37 (Source: Berkovich SY. On the information processing capabilities of the brain: shifting the paradigm. Nanobiology 1993;2:99-107"

Steven Braude has an interesting piece on memory available at AntiMatters as well.

Gee marcos, you said, "I wasn't attacking any ideas that place consciousness outside the physical brain – just the ones that go a step further and shift things like memory to that 'external' mind." That's exactly my problem, I don't think that you should be attacking the shifting of memory to the "external" mind. I'll repeat that nothing that you said necessarily makes it any more or less likely that the brain itself houses memory and cognitive ability. You also said, "If memory is not located in the brain, but in a conscious, non-brain mind, then why would damage to the brain affect the mind's ability to make conscious decisions based on memory?" Maybe it doesn't. Maybe it just damages the mind's ability to relay those decisions to the physical brain. In the next sentence you said, "The 'conscious' bit of that mind is still capable of relaying its intentions to the brain, so why wouldn't those intentions be based on the 'memory' bits of the same mind?" Maybe it does not work that way. Maybe the conscious mind can only relay intentions that the physical brain is capable of receiving. Maybe the fact that the physical brain is damaged means that it cannot receive transmissions of memory or memory-related intentions, or maybe any transmissions that are memory-related. Okay, so maybe the example I used of rats and Alzheimer's was lame, but I'm still right. I'll say once again that nothing you said makes it any more or less likely that memory is housed in the brain.

Well, memory IS housed in the brain if the material world is basically an illusion with crappy filters and physical representations of things. But, I'm getting way too esoteric to make this post any longer than this...

Maybe the conscious mind can only relay intentions that the physical brain is capable of receiving

But that's where the rat example is a good one: the memory in that case is how to find its way around a maze.

The rat with damaged memory can relay to its brain the intention "take this turning in the maze", so that kind of intention is one that the physical brain is capable of "receiving".

If consciousness and memory are in the same non-physical mind, then what's stopping the conscious bit from accessing the memory and deciding which turning to take based on that memory?

The same kind of intention would be sent: "take this turning in the maze", so it's not a "different kind of intention" that might be blocked by the damage. It's the same kind of intention as before, only it would be choosing the right turning, because it would have made the decision based on memory: all of which happens before the intention is ever sent, so the brain has no way of discerning whether or not memory was involved.

To me, there aren't any plausible ways around this observation, so I'm inclined towards thinking the memory-in-brain model is a far better explanation of the data.

I think that the point of difference between us is the idea of the kind of intention, marcos. You said, "The same kind of intention would be sent: 'take this turning in the maze', so it's not a 'different kind of intention' that might be blocked by the damage." I do not agree with this statement. It seems definitely possible to me that intention is not so simple as you seem to be talking about it. An intention that requires memory may have a different "wavelength" (ok, maybe an oversimplified metaphor, but good enough for these purposes). It's entirely possible that the wavelength cannot come through when certain parts of the brain are damaged, even when other wavelengths that correspond to other types of intention are able to come through. Look you may be right that all intentions are communicated in the same manner through the mind. However, I don't think that you have good reason to say that this is the only realistic possibility, or even necessarily the most likely one.

Not that I necessarily disagree, Marcos, but how can you explain communication with the deceased who have specific memories, or reincarnation memories?

John,

Two purely speculative ideas as to how that might work:

1. The memories are transferred at the point of death to whatever new form is inhabited by consciousness thereafter. Perhaps that's what the "life review" mentioned in NDE reports is?

2. Post-death consciousness is capable of accessing the information from the pre-death brain. Psi researchers claim that space and time are no hindrances to such access, so there would be no need for any memory transfer: they're still "there", even if the brain is long gone. A similar idea for reincarnation: the mind is "entangled" across time with a previous brain and capable of calling up memories from it.

Mark,

"Different kinds of intention" might explain why a "correct" intention doesn't get through, but it gets bogged down when you consider what someone does instead of the memory-guided action.

Take the example of someone with Alzheimer's meeting an old friend. They look confused and ask, "Who is this person?" If you tell them who it is, they might say, "I've never met this person before."

It doesn't seem plausible to me that this person actually remembers who the friend is and intends to warmly greet them, but because that intention is based on memory, it's somehow getting scrambled in the brain and converted into confused looks and spoken phrases that indicate no recognition of the friend.

It also goes against the testimony of people in the early stages of such conditions, when memory loss is intermittent; they will talk of days when they just can't remember important details. They don't explain that they could remember and were intending to act accordingly, but that their intentions just didn't seem to be getting through.

>They don't explain that they could remember and were intending to act accordingly, but that their intentions just didn't seem to be getting through.

Of course they don't remember. Their brain is malfunctioning, and the memory-signal cannot be picked up. The situation is comparable to a TV set with a broken antenna, which can't receive the signal.

A damaged brain is not the same as a quiet brain. Meditation or sleep is quite different from brain damage or a brain-destroying disease.

I guess I just don't see the problem here.

> Of course they don't remember. Their brain is malfunctioning,

By "remember" I (confusingly) meant that the consciousness-part of their mind would be directly aware of memory contents, both being part of the same non-brain mind.

It would then be aware of trying to intend things based on this awareness-of-memory, but of having these intentions thwarted further down the chain.

(I'm not sure how this would happen, because a simple intention would presumably look the same whether or not it was based on memory access, but I'm assuming some sort of faulty "brain-memory link" for the sake of this problem)

Then, it would be able to store this "thwarted intention" experience in memory, even though the brain-memory link is down, thanks to its direct access to memory.

Later, on a "good day", when the brain-memory link is more or less up again, the person would be able to "remember" that experience in the fuller sense of being able to communicate it to other people. And so you'd expect to hear of this weird predicted phenomenon from people in the early, intermittent stages of the condition.

And just to clarify the unrecognized-friend example in terms of the above: what I meant was that the complex behaviour of looking confused and explaining that you don't know the person is presumably intended by the consciousness-part of the non-brain mind; at the same time, it's directly aware of memories of the other person being a friend. Why would it send down such intentions, at the same time as being aware of those memories?

The only workaround I can see for this in the model we've used here is a walling-off of consciousness and memory within the mind, and insisting that access has to be mediated through the brain, hence allowing brain malfunction to disrupt their connection. By which point the model is indistinguishable from one locating memory in the brain in the first place.

Well, Marcos, I think that we've got to the core of what you and I disagree with. This statement:

"It doesn't seem plausible to me that this person actually remembers who the friend is and intends to warmly greet them, but because that intention is based on memory, it's somehow getting scrambled in the brain and converted into confused looks and spoken phrases that indicate no recognition of the friend."

I don't know what else to say other than that I just don't agree with this statement. It seems at least reasonably plausible to me that this is exactly what is going on. Perhaps intentions aren't totally thwarted. Perhaps they just get received in a worse state than they normally would be. And even if the intentions are totally thwarted, the mind's memory would not necessarily record this, as memory is recorded (if I'm right) when the brain experiences and transmits the signals back - not necessarily when a mind signal fails to get through or only gets through in bad shape. And - correct me if I am wrong - but I don't think we discussed the flip side of this coin yet, in this entire post. That flip side being, what if the physical brain also transmits signals back to the mind, when the brain is damaged, that affect its ability to access its own memory? This could feed into the Stimulating Thoughts post further up on the main blog which states that sometimes inhibiting brain function actually helps people remember better than stimulating the brain (maybe we should continue our discussion up there, as we are getting pretty far down on the main blog - I'll look up there for your next response, if wish to continue). As much as I might hate to admit it, if I was focusing purely logically on only what you are saying without taking any outside information into account like medium or EVP communications, I would probably be inclined to at least say that your belief is the most likely to be true, though I wouldn't be quite as confident in it as you seem to be. And that is my main point, I just don't think that you are justified in being as confident as you are when I believe that I have proposed at least a few somewhat reasonable alternative possibilities.

I don't know what else to say other than that I just don't agree with this statement. It seems at least reasonably plausible to me that this is exactly what is going on.

I'll explain what I find so implausible about this example.

Consider someone recovering from a stroke, whose speech faculties are impaired. Often they will intend to say something, but the sounds come out wrong; the person is aware of this, and will stop. They'll try again, and if all else fails, they'll revert to another means of getting their message across: gestures, writing...

Or someone with damage to their motor faculties. They'll intend to move their limbs in a certain way, but the result is nothing like they expected; they'll be aware of this, will try it again slower and more carefully, and if all else fails, ask someone else for help.

The two common properties here:
1. When intentions get messed up by brain damage, the results are disorganized and markedly different from "normal" behaviour.
2. The person whose intentions are being messed up is immediately aware, and thus capable of modifying their intentions in an attempt to get the desired result.

The person in the "old friend" example, if we assume the explanation in question, is:

1. Intending to do something consistent with the memories of which he is aware.
2. The intention is being scrambled into an elaborate set of actions, including facial expressions and verbal responses which are completely consistent with the actions of someone who was not aware of said memories, and was intending to communicate that lack of awareness. In other words, rather than an easily recognizable "disorganized" response, the scrambled behaviour is more akin to that of a highly trained actor.
3. The person doesn't stop and try to modify their intentions to get around the scrambling. So, the person is either (a) not aware of their intentions turning out wrong (despite demonstrating such awareness in other areas of behaviour, and despite it being the norm for the other types of damage mentioned above), or (b) is aware but chooses not to stop doing the "wrong" actions.

I find (2) implausible enough, that an intention to do one thing can get translated into a complex and consistent set of behaviours, over a sustained period, expressing the exact opposite of the original intention. If I let that slip, the two options in (3) both seem too bizarre to continue with.

I'm not sure I'm following this discussion correctly, but my view is that while we are incarnated in earthly form, our consciousness is ordinarily limited to what can be processed by our brains. In some extraordinary circumstances (deep meditation, trance, etc.) we may be able to transcend the limitations of the brain for a period of time, usually very briefly; but these events are rare. At least 99% of the time, our consciousness is nothing more than what our brains have processed for us. We do have a higher consciousness, but we cannot access it directly, although intimations of it can come through the subconscious, through dreams, or perhaps through synchronicities.

Thus, if a person is brain-damaged, he really cannot remember certain facts. It's not that he remembers them but can't communicate about it. He doesn't remember them at all (in ordinary consciousness). His higher self does remember, but his higher self is largely inaccessible to ordinary consciousness.

Upon death, the limitations of the brain are thrown off, and direct access to the higher self is achieved. This is why people who have "died" often report seeing everything much more clearly than before, remembering every detail of their lives, having remarkable pewers of perception, experiencing cosmic insights, etc. Their awareness has opened up like a blossoming flower because it is no longer restricted by the narrow funnel of the brain.

In no way do I think that we have direct access to higher consciousness here and now, except very occasionally. We are cut off from it for the time being.

So, if we're cut off, then why should anyone think there is any higher consciousness at all? The answer is: because we do have some experiences that point to its existence. Transcendent insights, premonitions, mind-reading, bursts of inspiration, NDEs, OBEs, etc., etc. all suggest that this higher consciousness does exist; but the rarity and unpredictability of these events suggest that the higher self is difficult for most of us to access, most of the time.

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

I agree with Michael. It also ties in to reincarnation very neatly - in that the higher consciousness can embody a new physical brain to help guide.

If there is no higher consciousness, then the brain is so extraordinary that it's very hard to believe that such a thing evolved on its own.

My next post is going to be on the Stimulating Thoughts responses. I don't want this to drop off of the blog.

Strange but true: You can't board an airplane with a tube of toothpaste that's more than three ounces, but carrying on handcuffs, duct tape, and rope is perfectly okay.

Ridiculous isnt it, I was pulled aside at the airport just recently for eyebrow tweezers in my cosmetic bag in my handbag, like what the??!!

I agree with Michael on the higher consciousness and our limited access to it. Having had an NDE, OBE's and prophetic episodes through out my life, I cant provoke these experiences willingly, they happen as they do, I don't understand what triggers it but it's certainly changed my outlook on life or more accurately "eternal life".

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