[ExI] Canonized Answer to Hard Problem of Consciousness.

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at comcast.net
Tue Aug 28 20:23:05 UTC 2007

(This was forwarded from a thread on the WTA-talk list.)


Yeeaayy!! Thanks so much for adding your great statement. I already feel 
like the world is a much better place, and we are finally starting to 
make some real progress in finding out what it is all Transhumanists 

This is obviously still a difficult to use, bare minimum prototype. Some 
volunteers, like Karolis Ramanauskas, are helping us fix problems and 
improve things as fast as we possibly can. We can always use more help. 
I very much appreciate your patience and willingness to play with the 
system tell we get it right. Don't worry about making a mess! We make 
lots of backups, and we can always clean things up. We definitely still 
need an instruction manual, and to make things more obvious and 
intuitive, but there is lots to do and we're getting there.

You did get your statement entered, you just ended up with a few extra 
practice statement records which I easily cleaned up.

So, your statement, with your wonderful text, is now under the agreement 
statement, submitted as (or was, see below) a competing statement to mine:


Editing things on the Canonizer is quite a bit different than a 
traditional wiki system, since any edits must first be proposed, and 
then in a probationary state to be sure no current supporters, at or 
below the current structure, disapprove with the change. If anyone in 
that camp does disapprove, they can object. If this happens it will not 
go live, and you must make your additions or changes some place else in 
the POV structure. Either as a supportive sub statement (if you agree 
with everything else) or as a competing statement in some other branch 
under the agreement statement.

Also, the title you selected for your statement, 'The “Hard Problem” of 
Consciosness, its Nature and Solution' seems more appropriate for the 
title of the topic as a whole. The topic, as a whole, is about the hard 
problem of consciousness, and the agreement statement is just the facts 
and describes the problem. Your statement is just one POV about what is 
the correct resolution to this problem right? Your statement title 
should be something that tells people what this camp's theory is, within 
this hard problem topic context right? There is a place lower down on 
the page where you can "manage" this statement (this block shows the 
current Name and Title that can be changed). If you take this manage 
link, it will take you to a history page for the statement. You can then 
select one of these history records (likely the most recent one) to use 
for the default values in the new proposed record. You can then make 
your change, add a required reason for the change, and finally propose it.

Another thing you should do is support your statement. Because only 
supporters can object to changes. As long as nobody is supporting a 
statement, anyone can make any change to it at any time. On the 
statement page, there is a place to "Directly support this statement". 
If there are other supporters of a statement, already, you can delegate 
your support to these, which will make it so your support automatically 
follows their "vote" for what is the best statement. Making it so you 
don't have to be as involved, but can still get your vote counted with 
someone you trust.

I completely support everything in your statement. In other words, I am 
in your camp on this issue. Yeeeaayy!! I think you are saying a few 
things that aren't necessary (even a bit misleading?) making it less 
concise, and missing a few other critical things. But, since I agree 
with everything you say, I changed the parant statement of my statement 
from the Agreement statement to your statement. So instead of being a 
competitor to your statement, my statement is now under and supports 
your statement. So my support of my statement, rolls up and 
automatically supports your statement. So once you support your 
statement, there will be 2 supports, making it the currently "Canonized" 
answer to this issue according to a "Blind Popularity" canonizer (the 
only one implemented so far).

In the future I'll try to talk you into some proposed changes, and if 
you (and anyone else who joins our camp) agrees, the changes will make 
it in. If not, I'll keep them in my supportive statement below. Also, 
I'll review your proposed suggested changes to my statement and possibly 
get them added. Got to think about it more, and consider what Stathis 
said first.

Also, you added your name to the bottom of the statement in the text. 
This should not be necessary, since the fact you submitted it, is 
recorded in the data base. Again, the place to add your name, is as a 
supporter of this statement right?

So, I hope we can find out what all the rest of you brilliant 
Transhumanists believe! Then we can get some real legitimacy and some 
infinitely valuable rapidly progressing information in all this right? 
So, in 10 years, when science finally shows us the real answer, we will 
know who will have been in the right camp the longest, and had the most 
influence on the researchers so they could look in the right place 
the soonest!?


Brent Allsop

Michael Klein Breteler wrote:
> Brent,
> I did prepare a new POV to be Canonized, and tried to register and get it 
> placed. I could not register at the "karolisr" version, the program sent me 
> in a loupe, each time again asking for search, registration and login, 
> without getting anyware. Finaly got registerd at a "test" version, but this 
> one only allowed me to place the headings of the POV, not the text. Does not 
> let me edit either, did spent a few hours on this, resulting in multiple 
> entries, text without headings, headings without text, in short a complete 
> mess. Anyway, you find the text below.
> The "Hard Problem" of Consciosness, its Nature and Solution.
> The "hard" problem of consciousness can be compared with another "hard" 
> problem in biology, that of bird navigation. It is known that migratory 
> birds from the northern hemisphere want to migrate south in autumn and north 
> in spring. But how do they know the right direction? Experiments show that 
> birds in cages, completely isolated from natural day light, still have a 
> preference for a "south" position in their cage in autumn, and a "north" 
> position in spring. Since there was not any other physical property in their 
> cage than the geomagnetic field to navigate on, it was presumed that the 
> birds must have a sense organ to detect this field.  The theory that birds 
> use the geomagnetic field for navigations dates from as early as 1858 (Von 
> Middendorff), the biophysical mechanism of magnetoreception is still not 
> understood. It appears that birds lose their magnetoreception when their 
> ophthalmic nerve is cut, and a recently discovered photoreceptor 
> cryptochrome in the bird's retina could be involved. A quantum mechanic 
> mechanism of electrons with "radical pairs with anisotropic hyperfine 
> coupling" is suggested to be a possible biophysical mechanism of 
> magnetoreception (A Model for Photoreceptor-based Magnetoreception in Birds, 
> Biophysical Journal Volume 78 February 2000 707-718), but this is still 
> unsure.
> We know the birds are using the geomagnetic field, we know their eyes must 
> be involved, we probably know the molecules involved, yet the biophysical 
> explanation is extremely difficult. The reason is that our understanding of 
> physics on quantum scale is still very limited.  We tend to believe that we 
> have to explain everything in biology with "classic" Newton physics. But why 
> would organisms stick to Newton physics? With the bird navigation we know 
> what physical property is involved, the geomagnetic field. We can search for 
> molecules and mechanisms in migratory birds that interact with this field. 
> But imagine how difficult the bird navigation problem would be if we had not 
> discovered geomagnetism yet. How would we ever discover the geomagnetic 
> field if the bird's navigation system was the only way to detect it? Imagine 
> humans had this magnetoreceptive navigation system, but we had no magnets or 
> other devices to detect magnetism. We would just "feel" or "see" North and 
> South, and despite solving all "neural and sensory correlates of navigation" 
> we would still end up with a "hard" problem, so long we failed to discover 
> magnetism. Discovering the geomagnetic field by intensively studying the 
> molecules involved (the photoreceptor cryptochromes) could be possible, but 
> would require a very good understanding of the universe at its very 
> elementary level, far beyond our present knowledge of it.  This is the kind 
> of challenge we are facing with solving the "hard" problem of consciousness.
> It is already predicted by most philosophers and scientist that resolving 
> all "easy" problems of consciousness will leave us with an "explanatory gap" 
> leaving the main issue of "what is the physical substrate of phenomenal 
> consciousness" unsolved. Dennett denies such "explanatory gap" will occur 
> and Chalmers suggests only "non-physical" properties could give an 
> explanation. For the "hard problem" of bird navigation we needed to discover 
> geomagnetism to solve the problem. But for phenomenal consciousness we 
> should not look for an external physical property that can be detected by 
> our senses, but an internal one that is an elementary property of our 
> Universe. Neurobiological and biochemical analysis of the brain may finally 
> give some clues what to look for when the "explanatory gap" has become 
> evident. I think the final explanation of phenomenal consciousness will 
> require a good understanding of our Universe at its elementary level. 
> Although there was some optimism a few decades ago about finding a Theory Of 
> Everything (TOE)  of the Universe within a short period of time, it now 
> seems the Universe is a lot more complicated than we previously thought, and 
> we are still far away from this to happen.  But I am confident phenomenal 
> consciousness is a physical property of the Universe that organisms during 
> their billion years of evolution have integrated in their information 
> processing systems, to unify this information and associate it with qualia 
> to give the information a subjective value.
> I think our present understanding of the Universe is still very limited, we 
> have just began exploring it and we still do not even know the most basic 
> properties of it like how many dimensions it has and how its structure looks 
> like at its most elementary level. Without this knowledge it is impossible 
> to come to a theory that fully explains phenomenal consciousness.  But I am 
> quite sure we will finally find a physical explanation, like we will find 
> physical explanations for the many other mysteries of our Universe. 
> Research should focus on fundamental Physics, Neuro- and Molecular Biology.
> Michael Klein Breteler, MD.
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