## We're conscious beings. Why?

• 184
It's easier, by Occam's Razor, to simply accept that this is the way things are.

Actually, it is a definition of crazy to accept that one with 0% chance is how things are. Ironically, randomness is one which is magical in your vocabulary, and God, who is the existence, is actually easier to accept. If normal thought is applied.

By the way, you keep mentioning Zeus, for example, in your inquiry about who is God. You should at least be aware that Zeus is a claim for a god in certain sense, just as Michael Jordan is a god to some people, in certain sense. But Zeus is not a claim for God. And God is not a god. At least understand a claim when you pretend to argue about it.

Anyway, it's nonsense piled upon nonsense, starting from first post, and people are reading it and nobody says a thing.
• 6k
So, we have a door closing as a result of an action of a conscious being, yet the act of the door closing is random. The same problem remains - probability for us to exist, as a result of randomness, regardless of a form through which randomness executes, is mathematical or absolute 0%.

If the door closing is the result of something else happening, then it is not random.

The bit about the probability for us to exist being a mathematical and/or 'absolute' 0% is rubbish. In order to know the probability of an outcome/event one must know all of the influencing factors as well as all of the possible outcomes.

You do not, nor does anyone else.
• 184
The bit about the probability for us to exist being a mathematical and/or 'absolute' 0% is rubbish. In order to know the probability of an outcome/event one must know all of the influencing factors as well as all of the possible outcomes.

So you are saying that in order to know probability you have to know all?

Then, sorry, but you don't understand what probability is. Probability is method for understanding outcome based on incomplete information. And based on information available to us, which is incomplete, we can calculate probability, because, again, that's what probability is - a calculation of outcome based on incomplete information. And that result, for case in point, is mathematical or absolute 0%.

But can you understand that probability for random-based existence is mathematical or absolute 0% when you don't understand what probability means?
• 6k

How many outcomes are possible?

What are the factors influencing and/or determining each?

Are you saying that you need not know the answers to the above two questions in order to know the probability of an outcome?
• 6k
...can you understand that probability for random-based existence is mathematical or absolute 0%...

As it stands this is a gratuitous assertion.

• 184
How many outcomes are possible? What are the factors influencing and/or determining each? Are you saying that you need not know the answers to the above two questions in order to know the probability of an outcome?

?

I am saying that you can calculate probability with whatever information you have. That's what method of probability is for. The more information you have, the closest is result to the fact. It's a probability. Not a fact. But when you can calculate, with the information we have, 0% probability, that's game over, although it's still not a fact. It's a probability.
• 6k
I am saying that you can calculate probability with whatever information you have. That's what method of probability is for. The more information you have, the closest is result to the fact. It's a probability. Not a fact. But when you can calculate, with the information we have, 0% probability, that's game over, although it's still not a fact. It's a probability.

Show your work. Gratuitous assertions are not acceptable here. I don't think you know what you're talking about. Prove me wrong.

Show how you arrive at the probability. Show the info you used, the calculations performed, etc...

• 184
Gratuitous assertions are not acceptable here.

Based on what I see being presented here, I doubt that's the case.

Anyway, there are many calculations, done by both mathematicians and physicists, which you can research. You don't need me. You can start with understanding what probability is and go from there. I won't even present names you can research, to not be biased. Everybody can have his favorite scientist.

The thing is, various calculations, including one you could ultimately do, vary. But all are pointing towards 0%.

The small probability is incomprehensible for us.

Here's an example of the scope.

There are millions of information in a DNA. They have to be in correct order to produce something meaningful. If they are not in correct order, which is vast amount of possible combinations, they produce nothing. Like a software that has to be correct to produce something, or produces nothing if it's just some random collection of characters in a file. (And there are much more possibilities for garbage file than meaningful code.)

To grasp how improbable DNA creation is, let's not look at millions of information in an order, but at 10-note melody on a piano. How many 10-note melodies are possible on a piano? Answer is, about 60-80 with 18 zeros after. Like 60 000 000 000 000 000 000. To play every single 10-note melody available, it would take about 2 trillion years.

Now, if such a small collection yields such huge possibilities, taking 2 trillion years to execute each, one time, which is another impossibility for random system on top of it, how many possibilities are there to randomly order millions of information in a DNA?

We cannot even comprehend how small probability for functioning DNA is. The presumed age of Earth is about 4 billion years. To play all 10-note melodies on a piano, one after another, one time, takes 500 times longer than this presumed age of the Earth. But DNA is not a collection of 10 notes. It's a collection of millions of information, ordered in correct order (otherwise it produces nothing). Some calculations say probability for random DNA creation is 0.1 to the power of above 100 thousand. 0.1 to the power of 50 can be considered mathematical zero. This is 0.1 to the power of 100000.

And this is only about DNA. We have to include probability of Earth coming to existence, with water and other life-producing elements, etc... On the top there is a probability for a reality, with it's laws, which allows life as we know it to exist, which is mathematical 0% itself...

But you don't even need to do any calculation to grasp the truth of how rarely randomness produces things. You can be aware that randomness produces new complex units of reality at either rate that's almost zero or is absolute zero.
• 121
It's easier, by Occam's Razor, to simply accept that this is the way things are.
— Unseen

Actually, it is a definition of crazy to accept that one with 0% chance is how things are. Ironically, randomness is one which is magical in your vocabulary, and God, who is the existence, is actually easier to accept. If normal thought is applied.

By the way, you keep mentioning Zeus, for example, in your inquiry about who is God. You should at least be aware that Zeus is a claim for a god in certain sense, just as Michael Jordan is a god to some people, in certain sense. But Zeus is not a claim for God. And God is not a god. At least understand a claim when you pretend to argue about it.

Anyway, it's nonsense piled upon nonsense, starting from first post, and people are reading it and nobody says a thing.

If anyone out there understands this gobbledegook, please explain what Henri thinks.
• 25
I agree with creativesoul. If you can't show the math you should not post these conclusions.
• 25
Why are we conscious? The ability to think is a large advantage, in the wild and in modern human civilization. Even among conscious creatures, the more intellegent have advantage, like the more intelligent dolphins dominate sharks.
Plants have less of a struggle, if their immediate environment doesn't change too much. The propagation of plants doesn't result in consciousness; imagine how empty and meaningless the universe would be with no creatures to be aware of it?
• 498
Criterion, criterion, criterion...

What do all known examples of thought/belief have in common such that it makes them what they are? What does all thought/belief consist of such that it can autonomously emerge onto the world stage in it's entirety in the simplest possible 'form' and continue to autonomously grow and/or gain in it's complexity all the way up to and/or including common language acquisition and/or mastery?

Would you at least agree with positing that there are such basic requirements, given the subject matter is human experience and consciousness?

I agree with this so far. At this point I’ll go back to my earlier reference to the way that matter integrates information. My thoughts/beliefs on this topic have been difficult for me to translate into suitable terminology, but they relate in the simplest possible ‘form’ to some elements of Integrated Information Theory (IIT) (as a work in progress), and also to Carlo Rovelli’s ‘Reality is Not What You Think’ - in particular Chapter 12: Information.

In any case, I disagree with your earlier statement that biology is required for experience, so I expect we have some discussion coming there. In my view, the simplest possible ‘form’ of experience emerges from the simplest possible interaction of matter. In reference to quantum mechanics:

A physical system manifests itself only by interacting with another. The description of a physical system, then, is always given in relation to another physical system, one with which it interacts. Any description of a system is therefore always a description of the information which a system has about another system, that is to say, the correlation between the two systems. — Carlo Rovelli

How experience then evolves and develops from the interaction of protons to multi-dimensional human experience and consciousness is a wild ride...
• 78
can we only find a trace of a form of experience which would be the proper term for the root of experience? Like we're trapped in our vessel by an event that keeps encircling us, so the original force is now only traceable.

It's likely sexual energy is the intelligence of sperm, so to speak, and it's how babies form, static created by sperm species in the womb mechanism.
• 6k

I briefly read through the link. There's much to like, but there are some serious issues...

In short, according to IIT, consciousness requires a grouping of elements within a system that have physical cause-effect power upon one another. This in turn implies that only reentrant architecture consisting of feedback loops, whether neural or computational, will realize consciousness. Such groupings make a difference to themselves, not just to outside observers. This constitutes integrated information. Of the various groupings within a system that possess such causal power, one will do so maximally. This local maximum of integrated information is identical to consciousness.

The above is an excerpt from the article. I like the notion of consciousness being existentially dependent upon groupings of basic elements(consciousness "requires"...). There seems a potential issue with talking about the groupings 'making a difference to themselves', and then calling that making of a difference to themselves "integrated information". Leaves me guessing how we can possible say that certain groupings of certain elements are even capable of 'making a difference to themselves'.

First, following from the fundamental Cartesian insight, is the axiom of existence. Consciousness is real and undeniable; moreover, a subject’s consciousness has this reality intrinsically; it exists from its own perspective.

Existing from it's own perspective requires having one. Add Descartes to that, and you've added an additional requirement of taking account of oneself. Having a perspective requires having a worldview. Taking account of oneself requires common language use. So, if we're strictly following these guidelines, and leaning on Descartes, we've already delimited consciousness to self-awareness of language users.

Second, consciousness has composition. In other words, each experience has structure. Color and shape, for example, structure visual experience. Such structure allows for various distinctions.

Third is the axiom of information: the way an experience is distinguishes it from other possible experiences. An experience specifies; it is specific to certain things, distinct from others.

Fourth, consciousness has the characteristic of integration. The elements of an experience are interdependent. For example, the particular colors and shapes that structure a visual conscious state are experienced together. As we read these words, we experience the font-shape and letter-color inseparably. We do not have isolated experiences of each and then add them together. This integration means that consciousness is irreducible to separate elements. Consciousness is unified.

Fifth, consciousness has the property of exclusion. Every experience has borders. Precisely because consciousness specifies certain things, it excludes others. Consciousness also flows at a particular speed.

The second axiom states that consciousness has composition. I would concur. However, the fourth axiom seems to contradict the second. If consciousness has composition, then it consists of individual elements. To know that consciousness has composition requires knowing what those elements are. Although, groupings of elements are not equivalent to individual elements, if consciousness has composition, it must consist of individual elements.

It seems that this distinction between the groups and the individual elements is what grounds the conclusion that individual elements are inadequate, whereas certain groupings have what it takes. I'm not at all opposed to that approach for establishing a criterion for consciousness.

The bit about all consciousness existing from it's own perspective seems to be a springboard from which the theory begins to make claims about consciousness that can only be satisfied by creatures capable of taking account of their own specific state. There's quite a bit of talking about consciousness in ways that we cannot sensibly attribute to anything other than creatures capable of language. The third postulate shows this...

Third, because consciousness is informative, it must specify, or distinguish one experience from others. IIT calls the cause-effect powers of any given mechanism within a system its cause-effect repertoire. The cause-effect repertoires of all the system’s mechanistic elements taken together, it calls its cause-effect structure. This structure, at any given point, is in a particular state. In complex structures, the number of possible states is very high. For a structure to instantiate a particular state is for it to specify that state. The specified state is the particular way that the system is making a difference to itself.

It seems that that is and/or may be the result of taking Descartes too seriously...

Descartes makes a good argument for being aware of one's own existence by virtue of talking about ourselves. However, if we take this too strictly, and posit it as a necessary condition for all consciousness, then we'll have no choice but to deny consciousness to all non-reflective thought/belief, to all non-linguistic creatures, or find ourselves guilty of anthropomorphism.

The theory rests upon the idea that different groupings of basic elements are capable of 'making a difference to themselves'. That's a big problem if we extend this criterion to AI and other animals without language.
• 6k
In any case, I disagree with your earlier statement that biology is required for experience, so I expect we have some discussion coming there.

Probably not much on my end.
• 184
If you can't show the math you should not post these conclusions.

You don't need me to tell you that when you fart no genius melody comes out of your rear, randomly. It's just a fart, every single time.
• 498
can we only find a trace of a form of experience which would be the proper term for the root of experience? Like we're trapped in our vessel by an event that keeps encircling us, so the original force is now only traceable.

It's likely sexual energy is the intelligence of sperm, so to speak, and it's how babies form, static created by sperm species in the womb mechanism.

• 78
I'm suggesting experience is of mind not as mind.

And if we're looking for a definite answer to what the spirit is, it happened in the womb stage; an event that metaphorically, is encircling you.

Therefore, you can only trace experience to find a definite state of existence, of the encircling power(that was generated by an event in the womb).
• 498
I like the notion of consciousness being existentially dependent upon groupings of basic elements(consciousness "requires"...). There seems a potential issue with talking about the groupings 'making a difference to themselves', and then calling that making of a difference to themselves "integrated information". Leaves me guessing how we can possible say that certain groupings of certain elements are even capable of 'making a difference to themselves'.

I noticed this, too. As I said, it’s a work in progress. And I think relying on Descartes does the theory more harm than good. My earlier quote from Rovelli offers a different way of looking at it, by pointing out that we can only talk about ourselves in relation to our interaction with a system that is not ourselves. This is grounded in quantum mechanics and Shannon’s information theory. Applied to consciousness, it’ll make your head spin - but you may notice it doesn’t sit well with Descartes.

In my view, the ‘groupings making a difference to themselves’ make more sense understood in terms of basic chemistry. With physical stimulus-response, the interaction is instantaneous: there is no experience of time. But chemical process (as I see it) establishes a relationship of interaction between particles (I prefer to call it a relationship system) that produces entropy (‘awareness’ of time directional ‘time’ information). This relationship is finite and dependent on the elements involved, their respective positions and velocity in spacetime, available energy, etc. While the process is active, the relationship system (or ‘grouping’) functions as an entity: it is able to interact with other particles or relationship systems and integrate information - and all of its elements have potential access to that information (ie. awareness) for as long as the chemical process lasts. Depending on the nature of that process, it could be over in an instant or last long enough for the relationship system to interact with several other entities across spacetime - and possibly even engage in other chemical processes, establishing a complex relationship system that has relationship systems operating within it...

My use of terminology might need refining, but hopefully you get the idea of where I’m going.

(EDIT: entropy is not ‘awareness’ of time at the initial level. This occurs in a relationship system of relationship systems, according to Rovelli’s statement.)
• 6k
I noticed this, too. As I said, it’s a work in progress. And I think relying on Descartes does the theory more harm than good.

The mind/body dualism is completely unacceptable on my view.

My earlier quote from Rovelli offers a different way of looking at it, by pointing out that we can only talk about ourselves in relation to our interaction with a system that is not ourselves.

I don't understand how that could be true. We do talk about ourselves with language, which satisfies the criterion, because language is a system that is not ourselves. However, we can talk about ourselves - using common language - in many other ways. So, if we can talk about ourselves without talking about the language we're using, then we're talking about ourselves in a manner that is not in relation to our interaction with language. We can. Therefore...

I do not understand how that could be true. QED.

This is grounded in quantum mechanics and Shannon’s information theory. Applied to consciousness, it’ll make your head spin - but you may notice it doesn’t sit well with Descartes.

Any theory of consciousness that leans on quantum mechanics for justificatory ground carries along with it a notion of disembodied cognition(yet another mind/body dualism). That is a consequence of an inadequate understanding regarding the mental ongoings that predate and facilitate language acquisition and it's subsequent use(pre and/or nonlinguistic thought/belief).

Having acquired a good grasp of what all human thought/belief consists of, I'm subsequently acquiring a relatively good grasp of how human thought/belief emerges, serves as a basis for subsequent thought/belief, is accrued, and gains complexity.
• 498
Any theory of consciousness that leans on quantum mechanics for justificatory ground carries along with it a notion of disembodied cognition(yet another mind/body dualism). That is a consequence of an inadequate understanding regarding the mental ongoings that predate and facilitate language acquisition and it's subsequent use(pre and/or nonlinguistic thought/belief).

Could you explain this? I’m not talking about disembodied cognition, so I’m not sure where you drew this conclusion.

Having acquired a good grasp of what all human thought/belief consists of, I'm subsequently acquiring a relatively good grasp of how human thought/belief emerges, serves as a basis for subsequent thought/belief, is accrued, and gains complexity.

How do you see it, then?
• 6k
Any theory of consciousness that leans on quantum mechanics for justificatory ground carries along with it a notion of disembodied cognition(yet another mind/body dualism). That is a consequence of an inadequate understanding regarding the mental ongoings that predate and facilitate language acquisition and it's subsequent use(pre and/or nonlinguistic thought/belief).
— creativesoul

Could you explain this? I’m not talking about disembodied cognition, so I’m not sure where you drew this conclusion.

No need for me to further explain my own mistaken account. If I've confused your position with some past memory(which is not at all out of the question), then I'll gladly apologize.
• 6k
In my view, the ‘groupings making a difference to themselves’ make more sense understood in terms of basic chemistry... [snip] ...But chemical process (as I see it) establishes a relationship of interaction between particles (I prefer to call it a relationship system) that produces entropy (‘awareness’ of time directional ‘time’ information). This relationship is finite and dependent on the elements involved, their respective positions and velocity in spacetime, available energy, etc.

I've no obvious issue with the above revised version, aside from maybe a quibble regarding what sorts of things can be sensibly said to "establish a relationship".

However, all interaction has a duration. So, I cannot agree with the following snippet taken out of the above...

With physical stimulus-response, the interaction is instantaneous: there is no experience of time.

While the process is active, the relationship system (or ‘grouping’) functions as an entity: it is able to interact with other particles or relationship systems and integrate information - and all of its elements have potential access to that information (ie. awareness) for as long as the chemical process lasts. Depending on the nature of that process, it could be over in an instant or last long enough for the relationship system to interact with several other entities across spacetime - and possibly even engage in other chemical processes, establishing a complex relationship system that has relationship systems operating within it...

Not all interaction is experience.

What is the minimum criterion, which when met by a candidate of our choosing, will offer offer solid ground upon which to claim that all such candidates are capable of 'integrating information'?

What does all information consist of, at a bare minimum. What does integrating that entail?
• 498
I suspect this is going to continue to be one-sided, so I’m going to hang onto the rest of my theory for now, if you don’t mind. But feel free to present your own ideas to the discussion, if you have any.

I want to thank you for offering so much constructive criticism and pitfalls to consider. It’s been enlightening - the biggest lesson I think I’ve learned is how to protect intellectual property on forums such as these. I see enormous value in this type of academic discussion, but I now realise obviously there’s a knack to it that I still have to work on getting the hang of. You seem clearly well versed in it yourself - it took me a long time to work out where I was being led. Call me naive. I imagine you probably don’t realise you’re doing it, and might even say I’m reading more into your approach than is intended. I don’t think I am - I’m just operating on a value system that doesn’t protect the individual, and that clearly won’t get me far in academia. I do appreciate the demonstration, though. I’ll just have to be more careful in future.
• 6k

The exchange was interesting. Too bad it has to end prior to getting into the details. I'm not sure about what much of your latest reply means, because it seems chock full of presuppositions and/or unspoken thought/belief much of which seems to be about me and/or my intentions...

which is rather puzzling given who I am

...but thank you for the pleasantries.

Intellectual property rights?

:wink:

It's funny you mention those here. I've had a few people express similar concerns to me, going as far as to ask if I was worried about it, and suggest that I ought be. I'm not. I've no dog in the fight, and I have no expectation regarding any sort of financial rewards or academic accolades.

I just find it all entertaining, stimulating, and in some weird sense soothing... especially when expectation consistently matches reality.

Be well.

:smile:
• 61
No, you are not misreading it. No knowledge is possible at all without consciousness. Why?

Because to be conscious is to be aware. And you can't have knowledge of X without being aware of X. Because being aware of something and having knowledge of it is the same thing.
• 1.8k
↪Pattern-chaser
No, you are not misreading it. No knowledge is possible at all without consciousness. Why?

Because to be conscious is to be aware. And you can't have knowledge of X without being aware of X. Because being aware of something and having knowledge of it is the same thing.

So you think that the falling tree makes no noise, if there is no observer present to hear it? That seems to be the argument you're presenting. Is knowledge a personal possession, and not something that exists objectively (i.e. in a mind-independent way)? I don't argue one way or the other, but I wonder which fits your perspective?
• 8
Putting aside what the hell consciousness actually is, I think a good place to start is to ask what it might be for. To that end, a metaphor might help:

Imagine an individual animal's information processing system as akin to a simple society of the form I am about to describe. In this society, there are only three professions. Either you are a mechanic, an engineer or a researcher.

The mechanics take care of all of the everyday jobs that need doing come what may. The engineers take care of the more difficult tasks. But, those task are still ones that may be completed with existing knowledge and practices - albeit some situationally novel decisions may need to be taken - but only within existing known conceptual constraints.

Finally, the researchers conduct blue sky research working out novel solutions to problems that either do not exist or whose existence is so recent and is sufficiently outside the remit of known concepts that relying on the repetitive skills of the mechanics or the higher order, but nevertheless conceptually constrained, skills of the engineers is not going to be sufficient to solve such problems.

The researchers, then, are for the most part superfluous to the functioning of the society. But, novel situations arise sufficiently frequently that, when they do, the researchers pay for their keep.

In the above metaphor, the researchers are akin to consciousness. Mostly superfluous. But, occasionally indispensable
• 61
No, I don't think that the falling tree makes no noise. But I do think that nobody knows there is a noise if nobody exists to know of the noise.
• 1.8k
But I do think that nobody knows there is a noise if nobody exists to know of the noise.

So there is no knowledge unless there's a conscious entity there to be aware of it. OK. :chin:
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