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The transmitter and reciever theory of the brain fits in with my theory that the education of the soul is too important to leave it up to chance. My God is smarter than that. Like Emmanuel Swedenborg said way back in the 18th Century:

""We are constituted by the intersection of two flows—one direct, from the divine, and one indirect, from the divine via our environment. We can view ourselves as interference patterns, because the inflow is a wave phenomenon, and we are where the waves meet."

http://www.soultravel.se/2004/040907-swedenborg/index.shtml

"Like Emmanuel Swedenborg said way back in the 18th Century ..."

That quote is not from Swedenborg. It's attributed to a contemporary researcher, Dr. George F. Dole, described as "a professor of theology at the Swedenborg School of Religion in Newton, Massachusetts."

The presentation of the quote on the site you linked to is a bit confusing. It could be read as a separate quote from Swedenborg, but it's actually a continuation of a quote from Dole: "If we put these images together, the resemblance to the hologram is striking ..."

Dole is interpreting Swedenborg's ideas in light of modern thinking about wave patterns, etc. Swedenborg's own phrasing was very different and much less modern.

Analogies are useful to illustrate or explain a point but, by themselves, they haven't much evidential value.

Unfortunately, some people think the analogies used to illustrate the transmission theory are equivalent to the theory in itself, or are "exemples", or "proof" of the theory.

For instance, if you use a TV analogy, some people will think that you're saying that the brain is exactly like a TV!.

This basic misunderstanding regarding the use and functions of analogies have, in my opinion, confused many of the debates about the analogies used to illustrate or explain the transmission theory.

I've thought about new and more useful analogies to explain the transmission theory, and I'll post about it in the future.

But I doubt these analogies will work if some people keep thinking that analogies are examples of the theory, instead of being simply means to make the point clearer.

I recently blogged about the transmission theory. I tried to show that it has greater empirical support than the production model. The blog post has a link to my web site where a very clear description of the transmission theory is explained. I don't use the TV analogy I use the filter analogy.


http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2009/06/scientific-theories-of-psychic_04.html

Frederic Myers compared consciousness to light, likening the conscious mind to the visible spectrum and the unconscious mind to parts of the spectrum that are not visible. The brain may filter faculties from any part of the spectrum conscious or unconscious and those faculties that are passed through the filter are those faculties that are available while we are in the body.

When the mind is released from the filter you get expaneded consciousness like in an NDE. If the filter is damaged as in a stroke, you might get poorer transmission and get reduced mental functioning.

The Mars rover analogy is excellent and well stated. Thank-you for an excellent piece!

I wonder what the Transmission theory has to say about people who DEVELOP certain artistic and other amazing abilities after or during an accident or disease. I have copied 2 links below; one concerning a young woman who finds new found artistic ability during a brain tumour, and another about a man who likewise, discovers an amazing ability to paint following a stroke. What do these show? Could it be, that as some parts of the brain are lost this liberates latent abilities to the fore?
M.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/06022009/news/regionalnews/tumor_turns_everyday_painter_into_an_art_172129.htm


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1190002/Masterstroke-Man-draw-stickmen-wakes-life-saving-brain-surgery--artist.html


This is the tumour story. Doesn't seem to have posted too well first time!


http://www.nypost.com/seven/06022009/news/re

gionalnews/tumor_turns_everyday_painter_into

_an_art_172129.htm

I wonder what the Transmission theory has to say about people who DEVELOP certain artistic and other amazing abilities after or during an accident or disease.

I'd suggest that, in those cases, the "filter" (brain), due to its alteration, begin to transmit an information or ability preexisting as a potentiality in consciousness, but impaired or limited to the normal functioning of the brain.

As an example, several years ago, I was playing videogames, and accidently I struck the nintendo and the game changed in a way that I could finish it because the main characther of the game became immortal.

The accidental strike changed the game is a way that enhanced the abilities of the game.

It was only an accident, actually I tried to do it again (strinking again the nintendo), and I never happend again.

I stopped to do that, because I almost destroyed the nintendo with so many strikes.

LOL.

So, I think Duggan's suggestion "that as some parts of the brain are lost this liberates latent abilities to the fore" is correct.

I agree with ZC, and would add that some people born with brain-related medical conditions, like autism, can show prodigious talent in a limited area - such as performing mathematical calculations. (This is the so-called "idiot savant" phenomenon, dramatized in the movie "Rain Man.")

Could the malformation of the brain in such cases somehow "open the filter" to a particular talent, even while shutting off access to other aspects of consciousness?

I'm not saying this is true - just throwing it out there.

"I wonder what the Transmission theory has to say about people who DEVELOP certain artistic and other amazing abilities after or during an accident or disease."

http://www.geocities.com/chs4o8pt/skeptical_fallacies.html#skeptical_fallacies_brain

This is strong evidence that the brain does not produce consciousness but restricts it. It is extremely unlikely that a brain injury could cause the same changes in the brain that learning a skill would produce. If an injury to the brain can give a person a new talent, that suggests that the talent originally existed in the non-physical consciousness but the brain was restricting that talent from expressing itself in the physical organism. The stroke may have damaged the part of the brain that restricted the talent from emerging. This might then allow the patient to become more fully conscious of his innate abilities.

The transmssion theory explains the following phenomena which the production theory does not:

Near death experiences.

Increased psychic abilities after a head injury.

Cosmic consciousness during deep meditation.

Survival of consciousness after death.

Talents arising after brain injury.

There is more empirical support for the transmission theory than the production theory

The Mars Rover analogy is very good. The thing that most interests me about it is the nature of the guidance from planet Earth. Presumably this is the equivalent of the 'higher self' rather than a universal consciousness.

The rover analogy would be improved if there was a person operating it from earth through a virtual reality interface.

However it doesn't explain how talents can arise as a result of brain damage and it doesn't explain why nde's and obe's start near the body: because the consciousness is co-located with the body.

Also, materialists know the brain filters consciousness. Much more information is percieved through the senses than we are conscious of. The brain does filter sensory input and processes it into a format that is useful to consciousness.

Also, materialists know the brain filters consciousness

But not in the sense understood in the transmission theory. In this theory, the brain is a filter of consciousness, but for materialists the brain (using your words) "does filter sensory input and processes it into a format that is useful to consciousness"

So for materialists, what is being filtered and processed is the external information and sensory input, not consciousness itself. Consciousness is a passive receptor the process of filtering.

In the transmission theory, consciousness itself is the object of the filtering process and this explain why changes in the filter (brain) can, sometimes, enable the expression and manifestation of potentialities, skills or talents previously unknown or unmanifested in the person.

"The rover analogy would be improved if there was a person operating it from earth through a virtual reality interface."

This, in a nutshell, is the virtual reality theory. Works just as well as the transmission theory with the added benefit of expalining quantum mechanics. We are in a virtual reality created by a partitioned super conciousness.

"This, in a nutshell, is the virtual reality theory. Works just as well as the transmission theory with the added benefit of expalining quantum mechanics."

I don't see how QM gets into this. What's the link Greg?

I hope I'm not opening up a can of worms by posting here (I'm *not* seeking an endless debate just for pining in), but I thought I'd point out that the rover/tv set analogy doesn't work.

I used the example of a Predator drone, which makes the same point as using the Mars rover analogy.

Some other analogy is needed, IMO. I think C. D. Broad's compound theory is the closest thing to a viable theory, but I don't think that it works, either. Broad's theory fails namely because when the brain dies, the compound is destroyed, leaving just Broad's "psi factor" behind, and that is much less on its own then when it was integrated with a brain that gave it all sorts of information processing abilities that it would evidently lack on its own.

(Note that I'm not looking for a fight. If you think I'm wrong, fine; I'm willing to entertain why, specifically, my analysis of the analogy fails. But I'm not posting this comment here seeking to answer a thousand questions about issues that have nothing to do with the production/transmission issue specifically. I just want to make a point, like anyone else would, and move on.)

See http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2005/06/attention-dualists-physicalist.html

Namely, this:

KA: Perhaps an analogy is appropriate here. Let's say we have two separate, interacting things: A Predator drone and the remote pilot controlling it from a distance. The drone is captured and its captors start fiddling with its transmitter/receiver. What's the worst the captors can do to the remote pilot, miles away? They can destroy the drone's camera, making it blind. The person controlling the drone will no longer be able to see the environment around the drone. They can destroy the microphone, making it deaf, and again, the radio controller will no longer be able to hear what is going on. Ditto if the wires connecting the camera and microphone to the transmitter are severed. Information from the senses has been cut off. Next, suppose that the wires connecting the receiver to the drone's engines are severed. Now the pilot cannot even blindly control the drone. It seems inescapable to me that any form of substance dualism is committed to predicting that the mind (the controller) is largely independent from the brain (the drone's transmitter/receiver). The worst you can do to the controller by manipulating the drone's transmitter/receiver is make the controller deaf or blind regarding the drone's environment, or unable to move the drone. You cannot affect the the controller's ability to do math, to understand language, or recognize undistorted faces. You cannot get the controller to go into a psychotic rage by manipulating the drone's radio. But you can make someone psychotic by spiking his drink with PCP, or prevent him from being able to do simple addition by lesioning certain areas of his brain. In short, basic neuroscientific facts are simply inexplicable on any variety of substance dualism.

It's been my experience that all metaphors break down if you try and take them too far. For instance, I'm heavily wedded to the "holographic universe" theory but I doubt that there are gods splitting and crossing laser beams to produce interference patterns that are our Universe. Perhaps "similar to" might be a better way of explaining it.

"The worst you can do to the controller by manipulating the drone's transmitter/receiver is make the controller deaf or blind regarding the drone's environment, or unable to move the drone. You cannot affect the the controller's ability to do math, to understand language, or recognize undistorted faces. You cannot get the controller to go into a psychotic rage by manipulating the drone's radio. But you can make someone psychotic by spiking his drink with PCP, or prevent him from being able to do simple addition by lesioning certain areas of his brain."

I'm afraid I don't quite understand this objection. The point of the analogy, as I use it, is that brain damage, chemical abuse, etc. will affect the way the "signal" of consciousness is received and decoded by the brain. Brain damage etc. does not affect the signal itself.

In terms of the Predator/controller analogy, damage to the Predator adversely affects the Predator, but doesn't affect the controller at all.

(Oh, the controller may be frustrated that the Predator is no longer responding, but the controller himself is not harmed. This is the main reason for using Predators - to keep human pilots out of harm's way.)

The analogy, as I use it, assumes that while we are physically alive, we are the Predator. The controller might be analogized to the "higher self," which we cannot access directly (except perhaps in temporary transcendent experiences).

Brain damage, chemical abuse and so forth can certainly affect the brain and cause changes in personality, behavior, cognition, memory, etc. As you say, "... you can make someone psychotic by spiking his drink with PCP, or prevent him from being able to do simple addition by lesioning certain areas of his brain."

But in the analogy as I intend it, all such effects are limited to the Predator/Rover. The controller/NASA scientist/higher self is not affected; the signal is still being sent, but is no longer being received and decoded correctly. The Predator (i.e., us) is the one who goes into a psychotic rage or loses the ability to add and subtract. The higher self is not compromised and would guide us if it could, but the connection has been impaired and the signal can't get through (or cannot be received clearly).

When the brain fails altogether in death, then and only then do we stop depending on it as a transceiver. At that point we seem to regain our direct connection with our higher self. Exactly how this happens, I have no idea, and I suppose the analogy breaks down at this point. But as Art says, all analogies will break down if pushed too far.

Is metaphor the wrong word to use? I guess I don't know the difference between analogy and metaphor? My bachelors degree was in Agriculture/Animal Science and it took me two times to make it through Freshman English!

"Is metaphor the wrong word to use?"

No, it works either way.

Thinking a little more about Keith Augustine's objection, I believe I now understand it better. If I am interpreting him correctly, he is taking the analogy a bit more literally than I would like. The Rover or Predator is not, of course, conscious; it is a robot; its actions are controlled by a remote human operator. If we take the analogy literally, then we are saying that humans are basically robots controlled by an external consciousness, but not conscious ourselves.

This is not what I intend, though I admit that the analogy can be problematic on this point. For the analogy to really work, I suppose we would have to imagine that we are able to beam a signal into a robot in such a way that it would actually become conscious; if its reception of the signal were disrupted, its consciousness would be affected.

In other words, from my point of view, there are two loci of consciousness - the brain, which is where consciousness is received and decoded; and some external, extracerebral source. After death, and in some mystical experiences, the brain-centered locus of consciousness drops away, and direct access to the higher, extracerebral consciousness is obtained. But for the most part, we experience the brain-centered locus as our only consciousness while we are alive.

I would find support for this idea in various places: some near-death experiencers report dual consciousness, being simultaneously aware of hovering over their body while still "in the body"; purported after-death communicators often seem to have resolved the mental problems and issues that plagued them in life, and to be viewing their lives from a new, wiser perspective; people sometimes obtain inspiration (in art, science, etc.) from what they describe as a higher source; people who've had NDEs, OBEs, and mystical experiences often say that they suddenly saw the purpose and meaning of everything, but are unable to translate this epiphany into words once they have resumed their normal (limited) consciousness; etc.

Basically, the whole literature of mystical and transcendent experiences suggests (to me) that the consciousness we ordinarily know is limited and incomplete, and that a higher consciousness exists, which is connected to us, but from which we are partly cut off.

I agree, however, that the Rover/TV set analogy does not capture this idea, and is defective in that respect.

Thanks, Keith, for an interesting and thought-provoking observation.

“Basically, the whole literature of mystical and transcendent experiences suggests (to me) that the consciousness we ordinarily know is limited and incomplete, and that a higher consciousness exists, which is connected to us, but from which we are partly cut off.”

My discovery had been that if our consciousness was not limited and incomplete and we were not “partly cut off” we would not exist as perceived separate identities. We are not robots but neither do we have the freedom not to express ourselves. Maybe that is why many call consciousness the hard problem.

We do have choices but those choices have boundaries such as a limited and incomplete intelligence and “we are partly cut off” from this infinite awareness. The concept of free will at least the way most religions teach it is probably the greatest fallacy ever perpetuated on human kind. To believe in free will is to lack knowledge about the origin of our unawareness.

Consciousness is a great mystery but even a greater mystery is awareness. My research indicates that consciousness is an expression of infinite awareness, which of course is perfect awareness. Many call this infinite awareness emptiness or nothingness but the reality is that emptiness or nothingness is everything. I.e. all and all, that that is, Isness, The first cause, the absolute, well you get the picture.

From my point of view infinite awareness is a timeless reality that is a stillness that would indeed appear as emptiness or nothingness. Taken literally emptiness and nothingness would be oblivion, a void, nonexistence, or nonbeing. Look around do you see any nonbeings. Form cannot come from nothingness but from a vitality and an intelligence that is beyond our comprehension at this time.

Can we be aware and not have conscious thoughts roaming through our minds? It appears that we can indeed be aware of reality without the movement of conscious thoughts and a few erroneously call that lack of movement of conscious thoughts emptiness or nothingness.

If we take the analogy literally, then we are saying that humans are basically robots controlled by an external consciousness, but not conscious ourselves. ---- MP

This why, in my first comment, I said "For instance, if you use a TV analogy, some people will think that you're saying that the brain is exactly like a TV!"

We can't take analogies so literally.

But an actual problem with analogies is that the similarity has to be relevant to the point we try to do. Fail to do that will make the analogy weak or irrelevant.

In Keith's analogy, I think the terms of it (a Predator drone and the person with a remote pilot controlling it from a distance) are disanalogous in relevant aspects in regard with the connection between brain and consciousness.

Correctly, Keith's analogy is valid regaridng two points: 1)There are two different substances (or things or "stuffs"); and 2)There is an interaction between them. Something similar applies to the transmission theory (TT). This is out of discussion. But from here, relevant differences begin:

Regarding point 2 (interaction), the TT implies more relevant things than those contained in Keith's analogy:

In TT, consciousness and the brain has a very strong bidirectional influence (they influence each other in strong ways) in a way that a the person controlling the Predator can't be influenced by the Predator.

On example of this is that, in the TT, we can think individual consciousness or part of it is emboided (or located "in" the brain or body, or attached to it). This is the part of consciousness being "decoded" or "trasmitted".

But in Keith's analogy (as used by Keith), the person controlling the predator is not "inside" the latter (or closely attached to it); it explains that a damage or destruction of the predator or part of it doesn't affect the person's ability to " affect the the controller's ability to do math, to understand language, or recognize undistorted faces" since that such abilities are not causally influenced by the predator's functioning or malfunctioning.

But if consciousness is ---temporally--- emboided, we'd expect that its functioning (not its existence) is wholly or greatly influenced by the function of brain, especially if consciouness is "inside" the body/brain (or closely attached to it during its emboided physical existence).

If consciousness needs of a physical brain to function and express itself properly in the physical world, then the functiong of the "physical decoder-- brain" of consciousness will be determinant to the proper functioning of the latter in the physical world.

I think Michael's remark is relevant here:

The analogy, as I use it, assumes that while we are physically alive, we are the Predator. (emphasis in black added)

If I don't misunderstand Michael, the "we're the predator" indicates that, somehow, we're in (or closelly attached to) the predator and, hence, strongly influenced by its functioning.

Or more exactly, part of consciousness being "decoded" for its expression in the physical world is, somehow, "in" or "attached" to the decoder. Therefore, the functioning of the decoder is essential for the functioning of the that part of consciousness being decoded.

Another Michael's point:

The point of the analogy, as I use it, is that brain damage, chemical abuse, etc. will affect the way the "signal" of consciousness is received and decoded by the brain. Brain damage etc. does not affect the signal itself

If I understand Michael's point fairly, he's arguing that the affectation ocurrs in the process of decodification of the signal --- and it would explain Keith's point about getting "someone psychotic by spiking his drink with PCP..."----, but the signal in itself, as far it is not dependent of the "decoder" for its existence, is not neccesarily affected.

The mistake would be to identify the errors in decoding with the errors in the signal in itself.

And in this point is where our metaphysical assumptions play a role: if we assume materialism, we'll "see" the errors of consciousness (e.g. someone psychotic by spiking his drink with PCP) as evidence of mind-brain identity or ontological dependence (= damage to the brain, damage to consciousness), not as evidence of a decoding error ocurring in the "decoder".

But if we consider, at least as a alternative interpretation of the same facts, the TT, we won't jump to the materialistic conclusion so easily.

We'd realize that the same evidence can be accounted for in terms of a decoding error occuring in the "decoder", not in the signal. Only the decoding of the signal has been affected or impaired.

As I mentioned, analogies shoould be used to make our point clearer and be interpreted like this; not as evidence that our hypotheses, speculations or opinions are correct.

I think Michael's Mars Rover analogy works fine if we give it artificial intelligence. I thought this was assumed in the original post (avoiding chasms etc).

We must remember that so far as life on earth (or Mars) is concerned, much of what we do is robotic or instinctive (certainly so for animals). As humans, when we are very young, our self-awareness is minimal. It grows as our senses take in experience - in other words, what we think of as self-awareness on earth is sensory-built self-awareness. That is (this blog confirms!) well short of the higher self's self-awareness.

“That is (this blog confirms!) well short of the higher self's self-awareness.”

That is the journey of the soul to grow in self-awareness of their true reality. How else could Infinite express itself without an involution process and then an evolution of consciousness journey for souls to grow in awareness?

Of course it appears for Infinite to express its potential then souls must exist that have limited awareness of their oneness for growth of awareness to occur in individual souls.

Could nature be the very incubator for consciousness to evolve into greater levels of self-awareness? Souls come from somewhere why not nature?

"Could nature be the very incubator for consciousness to evolve into greater levels of self-awareness? Souls come from somewhere why not nature?"

-............you really have been around too much hindu/buddhist philosophy. Try something else already. Everyone has been reincarnated from plants, insects, and animals.......yes, that's it! I mean, really...why not? An even better question would be.....WHY?

"An even better question would be.....WHY?"

"Why" is the big question. Do you have any ideas on Why you're here? (I do, but I won't risk your displeasure by recounting them).

"I don't see how QM gets into this. What's the link Greg?"

Barbara,

In a virtual reality our experience is presented to consciousness as a flow of date interpreted by individualized consciousness, there is no outside universe, no space. Hence quantum entanglement explained, also, by the way the holographic universe theory. In addition as the virtual scene unfolds, all possible "happenings" are created by our choice, presented to us as a broad spectrum of "probable" outcomes, thusly explaining the probable distribution of quantum physics.

In addition, this theory can go on to explain the why of our existance. We are here to further develope our consciousness via the virtual reality experience, and in turn further develope the bigger consciousness of which we are a part.

Greg

In the New Testament Jesus tells several stories (Parables) where he says "and the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto...." He uses stories to make analogies to what Heaven is "sort of" like. There is probably no way to explain exactly to earth bound physical beings what the Kingdom of Heaven is exactly like. I'm thinking that the physics of the Spiritual Universe is so different in kind from the Physical Universe that we may not even be able to wrap our minds around it. "It's sort of like....." "grin!

“"Why" is the big question. Do you have any ideas on Why you're here? (I do, but I won't risk your displeasure by recounting them).”

In that displeasure is doubt not certainty. As far as Hindu and Buddhist teachings I did study the so-called enlightened ones in the nineties. But it appears they did not have the impact on my thoughts as much as when I came to have knowledge of our evolution of consciousness.

But I must give credit where credit is due the Hindu and Buddhist teachings do teach that that origin of most of our suffering is ignorance which lead me to ask what is the origin of our ignorance. But the origin of our suffering did not sink in until I studied Dr Hora’s teachings from his book beyond the dream.

I find that most of the world even *many Buddhist monks do not have knowledge of the origin of suffering. It appears that the concept of free will gets in the way of our connecting the dots between unawareness and suffering.

As far as the question why: I studied Dr Hora’s teachings for over two years and he taught that a better question than why is to ask what is the meaning of what appears to be.

I would have to add something a little different and that would be what is the underlying reality of what appears to be. Jesus statement judge not by appearances was a profound teaching.

“Could nature be the very incubator for consciousness to evolve into greater levels of self-awareness? Souls come from somewhere why not nature?”
Those were two questions not two statements of facts or even beliefs.

“Try something else already.” Ask yourself must this person keep trying until he is able to align his thoughts with my beliefs?

*My research on the Internet appears to show that many of these Buddhist monks confuse symptoms with origins. I.e. attachment, cravings, grasping are symptoms of unawareness not origins.

I find that most of the world even *many Buddhist monks do not have knowledge of the origin of suffering. - william

We are here to experience duality and separation, time and space, and imprint memories of life in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe.

Duality and separation imprint on the soul what it means and how it feels to be separate, something that can't be learned in the Spiritual Universe because of those overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness as reported in a plethora of near death experiences.

Why time and space? Because the only thing that exists in Heaven is that which has been conjured up by the soul. Heaven is a place where nothing exists and everything exists; but before it can exist it must first be thought of.

We come here to become unassimilated and resistance is futile.

“We are here to experience duality”

Duality is only appearance. What the world does give us is a variation of phenomena. Because of that variation there is the appearance of duality. Hot and cold, good and bad, up and down, rich and poor, fast and slow, etc.

All phenomena have variation, no variation no phenomena and indeed no us. The extremes of variation have the appearance of duality. Understanding of variation helps one to see the variation that exists in consciousness. I.e. there appears to be all levels of soul development on this planet not just dualistic old souls/new souls but all levels or phases of soul development.

The average person living on $2.00/day doesn't have time to sit around contemplating their navel. They are too busy trying to survive. Only wealthy people, who are in a minority, have the luxury of sitting around trying to figure out "why we are here."

My theory is that the education of the soul is too important to leave it up to chance. I believe the soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and the soul learns what it's supposed to learn whether we want it to or not. And yes, I believe the Creator of the Universe is that smart. You can be a sheepherder in Siberia, or a jungle boy in the Amazon rain forest, or a woman selling fish in Malaysia and you will experience duality and separation, time and space, and make memories of what it was like to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time Universe whether you want to or not. From the moment we are born and we separate from our mothers and the umbilical cord is cut till the day we die and our deaths become a lesson in separation to the loved ones we leave behind life is a never ending series of lessons in separation. In a hologram separation isn't just about people. It's about everything, rocks, trees, boats, cars, sex, gender, sexual orientation, bees, dogs, cats, birds, money, etc. Religion, politics, race, culture, language, I.Q., education, dialects, ad nauseum. The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates.

I don't think presuppositions play a role here at all. If a certain analogy holds, then certain things follow from that analogy, regardless of what you might believe about other things.

As for the issue of taking things too literally--you have to take an analogy at least somewhat literally, or else there is no reason to think that analogy applies to the issue at hand (i.e, is a "weak analogy"). If you are going to qualify an analogy in some way, you have to say in advance how aspects of the analogy don't apply to the issue at hand, and how they do. If you qualify it too much, at some point it's going to look like the analogy do not apply at all. If there are far more relevant dissimilaries than relevant similarities between the two things, the issue and the analogy, than the analogy is a bad one.

I think that the main problem for any sort of filter model of consciousness is that the brain is said to be a restricting/inhibiting device of some sort. So the better the brain, the more filtered one's consciousness is going to be. The natural converse of this is that the more debilitated the brain, the less effective it is going to be at filtering. So the natural extrapolation of "transmission" would be that consciousness would be "freer" or "enhanced" or whatever the more of the brain is destroyed. But we find the exact opposite. The more debilitated one's brain, the more debilitated one's mind.

If you look at Broad's compound theory, you can think of the brain + psi factor model with analogy to a computer. A hard drive + a CPU is much more "enhanced" than the CPU all by itself, or the hard drive all by itself. The combination can do much more together than either could do on its own. This is why I don't think "transmission" models of consciousness work, because they essentially have to maintain that our "embodied minds" now can do what they do because of the union of a "psi factor" with a brain; but once the brain is destroyed, the natural extrapolation is that the psi factor by itself is going to be able to do much less (not much more) than it could with the brain's assistance. It wouldn't be able to process visual input without an occipital lobe, for instance. There are all sorts of things that a brain is necessary for. And brains are incredibly resource intensive: they require a lot of glucose to function correctly, diverting energy that could be used by one's muscles to run away from a threat. So if we could really think clearly without them, it doesn't make a lot of sense that they exist in the first place.

In essence, I think that the empirical facts of neuropsychology pose a dilemma for dualistic survivalists: Either assert the radical independence of mind and brain, in highly implausible contradiction to such facts, or grant intimate dependencies, but at the expense of jettisoning personal survival.

The more dependent ours minds are upon our brains, however you cash out that dependence, the less likely it is that what you take to be distinctive of yourself could be preserved without a brain. So Broad's "psi factor" could, perhaps, survive death, but it would not have your memories, or personality traits, or other characteristics that are distinctive of you. Douglas Stokes realized this when he maintained that some bare tabula rasa of consciousness might still survive--Hornell Hart's "I thinker"--as if erasing all of your mental traits, until only those that you had as an infant remained, would count as the survival of you. The preservation of such a naked "I thinker" is not personal survival by any stretch of the imagination.

Imagine a conscious robot with a lifetime of memories. Erasing those memories would not obliterate the ability of that robot to be aware, so it's self-awareness might survive in some abstract sense, but its personality would not--and the latter is what counts in personal survival.

When most people think of an afterlife, they think of waking up somewhere else as they basically are now, mentally, not absent the contents of the minds they had while alive. But their embodied minds could only do certain mental tasks because their brain's information processing capacities enabled those tasks. So a disembodied mind shouldn't be able to read letters in a sentence, because a certain area of the brain needs to be functioning properly in order for our minds to be able to recognize letters as more than random inkblots. When that area of the brain is damaged or nonfunctional, aphasia results. And, of course, there are other ways certain areas of the brain are needed to do other tasks. The problem is how consciousness could be able to read, or do math, or form sentences to communicate, or see a pallet of colors and shapes as objects, not just a hodgepodge of random visual patterns, without a brain to do the information processing necessary for that.

Keith you ask good questions. Here are some points to consider-

A person can lose the ‘speech center’ of the brain and still learn to talk using other parts of the brain. If a part of the brain were responsible for the ability, this would not happen.

We know from plasticity experiments that seemingly any ability lost to brain damage can be regained with work. (See the work of Edward Taub for example). This invalidates the main evidence that you present. It does fit the transmission model.

Keith, I fear you also overlook this possible objection (a reductio ad absurdum)--I have seen people go into rages because the car wouldn’t start. So we could say that disconnecting the battery could cause this. Therefore the source of the person’s emotional stability is the wires that connect the car battery to the starter. But you don’t really want to say that, do you?

I think that your basic premise (parts of the brain are responsible for abilities) has been shown false by observation and experiment.

"Do you have any ideas on Why you're here? (I do, but I won't risk your displeasure by recounting them)."

-That's good, Barbara, thank you for not recounting them because after all, you don't know, you only think you do.

"In that displeasure is doubt not certainty."

-Is this absolutely true? Are you absolutely sure of this? Is it an absolute? If you can't answer these questions with absolute certainty (because there are no absolutes) I'll thank you to refrain from passing judgement...something you write about a lot but seem to fall short on practising.

Keith, I think your argument begs the question. You're assuming the brain is necessary to think, perceive, etc; without the brain there can be no thought, memory, or perception. But that's the whole question at issue: Does consciousness depend on the brain in the first place? Or does consciousness depend on the brain only as a means of operating a physical body in a physical world?

It's true that brains are "resource intensive" and therefore must serve an evolutionary purpose. And clearly they do. No one is saying we don't need the brain to live a physical, bodily life. The circuitry of a TV set or a Mars Rover or a Predator drone is resource intensive too.

"So the natural extrapolation of 'transmission' would be that consciousness would be 'freer' or 'enhanced' or whatever the more of the brain is destroyed. But we find the exact opposite."

Well, not always. Jill Bolte Taylor wrote a book called "My Stroke of Insight," about how having a major stroke (which left her incapacitated in some respects) also opened up her consciousness in new and exciting ways. And there is the idiot savant phenomenon, not to mention NDEs. But I agree that most of the time, brain damage leads to diminished capacity. Again, no one is arguing that the brain isn't necessary to live a physical, embodied life.

But I know you don't want to get into a debate (and I don't blame you - online debates can go on forever). And I can appreciate how my position must seem like special pleading to you. If one doubts the reality of things like NDEs, OBEs, remote viewing, and after-death communication, then naturally the production theory of consciousness will appear far more likely than any other. It's only because I think the above phenomena and others like them are genuine that I have to look for some alternative model.

I do appreciate your sharing your views, which are thought-provoking and challenging as always.

I think this phenomena destroys Augustine arguments about brains being completely necessary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrocephalus#Symptoms

http://worldofanomaly.blogspot.com/2007/09/is-brain-really-necessary.html

In some cases the people virtually had no brains. Other cases they had greatly diminished brains. However the point remains we had people with normal IQs who had virtually no brains and we had functional people with virtually no brains. What truly controls the body and what creates consciousness. Cannot be the brain for these people.

Sonic & Michael: very well said, indeed.

Kris: this seems valid, and I believe you're right. However, I have heard the argument that the brain tissue may still be present in the case of hydrocephalus, albeit in compressed form!

Hey Ben

Possible but just how much can you compress something.

And how can you compress a cell anyways? If you squash a cell it dies.

So if you cannot compress cells and keep them alive, then how can you compress the rest?

Their is another argument for dualism which i have come across from this site

http://www.afterlifedebate.com/for.html

The argument from geometry, this is based on two premises

1. Additional dimensions besides our own
2. A Additional dimension of space and an additional dimension of time would affect our experience, and this conception seems to correlate with dream experience


More about the argument from geometry can
be found here

http://www.afterlifedebate.com/bookshop.html


Keith it depends on what you view mind and consciousness

Mind- Dreams, Thoughts, Memories,
Consciousness- Personality, Inner Subjective experience.

He ever said the better the brain, the better the filter?. If you assume that the main source of consciousness and mind is a medium but not the brain. Your saying that from outside observation that what we observe is damage brain equals damage mind and consciousness. But evidence coming from near death experiences and out of body experiences show that the inner subjective consciousness along with mind[information] is not damaged or destroyed, rather restricted by the brain.


"Keith, I think your argument begs the question. You're assuming the brain is necessary to think, perceive, etc; without the brain there can be no thought, memory, or perception. But that's the whole question at issue: Does consciousness depend on the brain in the first place?"

Yup, I think so too.

I would like to see Keith produce a single piece of neuroscientific evidence that does not beg the question, i.e., whose evidence that the brain does not survive is NOT the assumption that it does not survive.

It's also an argument from ignorance to assume that something isn't real if we don't know it's real.

Evidence does NOT = reality, such that no "evidence" (where evidence is defined in an exTREMEly narrow sense) = no reality.

That is false. And it's a staple of materialist thinking.

“The problem is how consciousness could be able to read, or do math, or form sentences to communicate, or see a pallet of colors and shapes as objects, not just a hodgepodge of random visual patterns, without a brain to do the information processing necessary for that.”

That is why they call it the hard problem. How consciousness is able to individualize itself is a great mystery. It could very well be that consciousness goes through an evolutionary process, which allows it to become more and more individualized then at some point after individualization it may indeed begin to move towards a less individualized consciousness towards a greater oneness.

It appears to me that even a blade of grass has some level of consciousness. We may discover some day that all form has some level of consciousness even a rock. Or not.

Many suggest that the soul always retains some aspect of its individuality and others suggests that the soul attains a level of development that it becomes one with this Absolute. I lean at this time in the direction that the soul reaches a level where it becomes identical with oneness and no longer sees itself as separate from this oneness and maybe even has attained the creative powers of this infinite oneness. Is there ever a time that a soul is not moving in a spiral direction towards perfection?

I don’t base soul evolutionary process on what the Hindus teach but on my research into spiritualism that consciousness continually evolves and is always dynamic and at some point far into the future a soul attains perfect awareness and becomes like its creator.

As one schoolteacher told me once “look around we have old souls and newer souls in this room”. I found this an interesting comment from her as her religion did not teach or advocate reincarnation.

Keith,

I seen you mentioned Phineas Gage before where he had a spike go through his
head. You probably see this case as supportive of the production hypothesis. Here is why it isn't consistent with the production hypothesis.

- The uncertainty of Harlow's sources for the changes he describes in Gage, combined with the fact that he waited almost twenty years (between his first and second papers) to communicate those changes, constitute one of the central puzzles of the case.


Current Research

- Recently, an advertisement for a previously-unknown public appearance by Gage has been discovered, as have a report of his behavior during his time in Chile and a description of what may have been his daily work routine there as a long-distance coach driver. This new information suggests that the seriously maladapted Gage described by Harlow may have existed for only a limited time after the accident—that Phineas eventually "figured out how to live"[39] despite his injury, and was in later life far more functional, and socially far better adapted, than has been thought.

If this is so then (along with theoretical implications) it "would add to current evidence that rehabilitation can be effective even in difficult and long-standing cases," according to Macmillan. To better understand the question, Macmillan and collaborators are actively seeking additional evidence on Gage's life and behavior.[40]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Gage

The case above is usually presented to be one of the best cases if not the best evidence that materialists have used based on.

-Harlow's observation which is very questionable based on him taking almost 20 years to communicate changes he saw in Phineas Gage, between his first and second papers. Possible embellishment, could be. However, materialists insists on taking Harlow's account as a trustworthy source. Now with new evidence which i posted above it's even more likely that the personality changes that Harlow's said occur weren't as dramatic as he said they were.

This case based on these facts show that this case is consistent with the filter or transmission theory. It also shows that the mind brain close link to eachother is not as close as what is assumed.

Another piece of evidence which appears to be consistent with the production hypothesis is the split brain experiments, HOWEVER, it appears that two conscious streams of consciousness didn't happen at all.

Due to its inherent private character, an actual co-consciousness is impossible to prove conclusively, and one self with only temporary functional dissociation is even the best explanation as split-brain patients normally show a remarkable psychological and motoric unity that can hardly be reconciled with the somatogenic creation of a new nonphysical subject by commisurectomy.

More here about split brain experiments

http://www.geocities.com/athanasiafoundation/Dualismlives.htm


I haven't seen ANY evidence at all that favors the production hypothesis over something else.

The materialist overstates the conclusions that can be drawn from the neuroscientific evidence he cites.

If you destroy a part of my brain and I can no longer move my pinky, all that you have shown is that I cannot move my pinky when that part of my brain has been destroyed.

You may have shown that minds require brains to move the pinkies that are attached to them, but minds may still exist disembodied and incapable of moving pinkies too.

So the brain damage/pinky functionality test is never a comment on the existence or nonexistence of minds independent of bodies.

To assume that it is makes an unwarranted assumption about how the mind body relationship is "supposed" to work, i.e., some materialist has the idea that if mind is capable of separating, then it should still be able to move the body without a brain!

An astonishing assumption to make! Maybe some materialist reading this can explain to me exactly why it logically "has to" work that way?

In case anyone is interested I've written an essay on whether the fact that brain states influence mind states entails the latter is a product of the former. I also discuss the TV analogy or simile:

http://existenceandreality.blogspot.com/2009_03_01_archive.html

Hi Ian, did you see my last post? On there i have shown that Phineas Gage appears to not have had a radical personality change. But rather somewhat of one, with new evidence awhile after the accident showing that he functions way better and adapts well. This shows that if their is no self, that comes back then his personality would be changes radically and never come back to the personality he had before his accident.

Hey Leo

What is your email addie? We have bumped into each other a lot, especially arguing with Keith Augustine. Maybe we should exchange pointers.

Sure, it's leo2ee710@hotmail.com.

There are so many things I could comment on, but I'll be selective:

First, Leo, I'd recommend you stop pushing the Houdini Code stuff:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Ford#The_Three_Houdini_Messages_and_others

Douglas Stokes also says in one of his parapsychological books that the medium Arthur Ford, who "broke" the Houdini code, "was discovered to have kept elaborate files on prospective sitters." So the Wikipedia entry's explanation of how Ford broke it, by reading the solution off of Houdini's wife's engraved ring when he handled it for "psychometry," certainly seems plausible. (That said, I don't know more about this case than that tidbit; and I'm characterizing it from memory, so see the Wikipedia entry itself for the specifics.)

That Phineas Gage's personality changes might not be as dramatic as previously reported does not show that his brain damage resulted in no dramatic personality changes. The Gage example is commonly used in Introduction to Psychology textbooks, and that is why it is typically cited, but numerous other examples could be mentioned.

I don't suppose that you'd argue that Rosemary Kennedy's mind was hardly affected by her lobotomy: "Instead of producing the hoped-for result, however, the lobotomy reduced Rosemary to an infantile mentality that left her incontinent and staring blankly at walls for hours. Her verbal skills were reduced to unintelligible babble. Her mother, Mrs. Rose Kennedy, remarked that although the lobotomy stopped her daughter's violent behavior, it left her completely incapacitated."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary_Kennedy#Lobotomy

The fact is that sometimes people can be rehabilitated after brain damage, but the greater the damage, the less likely it is that they can be helped. When they can be rehabilitated, that's only because some other area of the brain has to take over what the damaged area used to do, which is why it takes several months to years for the old ability to be restored. The brain can't restructure itself overnight. Rehabilitation only comes with new synaptic connections, meaning a different area of the brain takes over. When there is no new brain growth, that's when the mind remains debilitated. That's why brain plasticity is entirely compatible with, and even predicted by, the "productive hypothesis." If the mind doesn't need the brain for more than control of the body, and to get information from the senses (as the Rover analogy implies), then it should not be affected by brain damage in this way. One historian of the Enlightenment summarized the argument this way (paraphrasing): "How can the mind be spiritual if it is thus at the mercy of the body?"

And this is exactly how high functioning autistic/developmentally delayed children can be helped by early intervention. They have to attend school (like EvenStart) as early as three years old to learn how to do things that other people do in a different way. They are using different areas of the brain to do things compared to nonautistic people. That's why they need special attention and teaching styles, and nonautistic children do not need extra attention. High functioning autistics are using a different area of the brain to compensate for what the "normal" speech areas of the brain do in nonautistics, for example. At the end of the day, its still the brain doing all the work--else trying to modify the brain while it is most plastic (early childhood) would not work. That's why they try to do it as soon as possible. If you wait until an autistic child is 11 to get intervention, the brain is not going to be plastic enough anymore for intervention to have much effect.

"If you destroy a part of my brain and I can no longer move my pinky, all that you have shown is that I cannot move my pinky when that part of my brain has been destroyed."

And if you destroy a part of my brain and I can no longer recognize my father, all that you have shown is that I cannot recognize my father when that part of my brain has been destroyed.

And if you destroyed a part of my brain in 1983 and I could form no long-term memories for any event after that brain damage, all that you have shown is that I cannot form long-term memories when that part of my brain has been destroyed.

If you do this enough, all of the mental capabilities that make up you require a brain, and thus there is nothing of you left when the brain is destroyed that could survive death. In other words:

If you destroy 99% of my brain and 99% of my mental functions are destroyed, all that you have shown is that I cannot do 99% of what I could do before that 99% of my brain was destroyed.

What's the next logical step? If you destroy 100% of my brain (death), 100% of my mental functions will be destroyed (I will cease to exist).

If you see my Predator drone analogy, the objection is not merely that the brain can influence the mind. The controller is obviously influenced by the information the drone sends him, and uses it to decide how next to move the drone.

We're not talking about mere influence here. We're talking about radical modification. When you strike a tuning fork against a status, that strike influences the statue in barely noticable ways. When you light some dynamite placed in the middle of it, the dynamite radically modifies the statue. The latter is the sort of brain "influence" on mind we're talking about. And it occurs in contradiction to what dualism predicts: that the mind is one thing, the brain another thing, and the two things interact with each other (hence: interactionist substance dualism). Just as I can't modify my body (get a facelift, say, or make myself grow 3 more feet overnight) merely by "willing it," my brain should not be able to turn my personality into that of a totally different sort of person merely by interacting with it. The PCP example does not fit what one would expect if substance dualism were true. Radical brain changes can result in radical changes of one's mind. There is no evidence that the mind can change the body in so radical a way. You can't think "grow muscles" really hard and make it so. Only physical activity can do that. So clearly the mind is far more more dependent on the brain than any converse claim that the brain depends on the mind. Schizophrenics can't just wish their schizophrenia away. This is why the brain is treated as primary and the mind as secondary. If their powers were reversed, and the brain hardly influenced the mind at all, but one could will changes in the physical world and watch them happen (think: changing the channel without a remote control), the mind would be considered primary and the brain secondary. The reason that this is not the case is because that's now how it works in the real world.

I don't think the argument is that "if mind is capable of separating, then it should still be able to move the body without a brain." The argument is that the mind cannot process information without a brain, and information processing is something pervasive in most, if not all, mental functions. So how could those mental functions survive--like reading, or understanding sentences, or understanding a language, or recognizing faces--once the information processing unit is destroyed?

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