On Saturday, January 19, 2013 6:50:19 PM UTC-5, stathisp wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 8:23 AM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> wrote: 
> >> There are those who believe that the very atoms are necessary in order 
> to 
> >> preserve a consciousness: making an arbitrarily close copy won't do. 
> From 
> >> what you have said before, this is what you think, but it goes against 
> any 
> >> widely accepted biological or physical scientific theory. 
> > 
> > 
> > Since there is no widely accepted biological or physical scientific 
> theory 
> > of what consciousness is, that doesn't bother me very much. 
> The assumption by scientists is that consciousness is caused by the 
> brain, 

We could also assume that ground beef is caused by the grocery store, but 
that doesn't tell us about ground beef.

> and if brain function doesn't change, consciousness doesn't 
> change either. So swapping out atoms in the brain for different atoms 
> of the same kind leaves brain function unchanged and therefore leaves 
> consciousness unchanged also. 

An idea can change the function of the brain as much as a chemical change - 
maybe more so, especially if we are talking about a life altering idea. To 
me, the fact that physics seems more generic to us than chemistry which 
seems more generic than biology is a function of the ontology of matter 
rather than a mechanism for consciousness. The whole idea of brain function 
or consciousness being 'unchanged' is broken concept to begin with. It 
assumes a normative baseline at an arbitrary level of description. In 
reality, of course brain function and consciousness are constantly 
changing, sometimes because of chemistry, sometimes in spite of it.

> Also, swapping out atoms in the brain 
> for different atoms of a different but related type, such as a 
> different isotope, leaves brain function unchanged and leaves 
> consciousness unchanged. This is because the brain works using 
> chemical rather than nuclear reactions.

That's because on the level of nuclear reactions there is no brain. That 
doesn't mean that changing atoms has no effect on some non-human level of 
experience, only that our native experience is distant enough that we don't 
notice a difference. Some people might notice a difference, who knows? I 
wouldn't think that people could tell the difference between different 
kinds of light of the same spectrum, but they can, even down to a 
geographic specificity in some cases.

It is an assumption but it is 
> consistent with every observation ever made. 

The consistency doesn't surprise me, it's the interpretation which I see as 
an unscientific assumption.


> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou 

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