Can we manipulate and control a human being?

#1
Hello.
Its time for one more neuroscience thread. Im specifically not posting it in the cd-section since i got the input for that thread from a materialist/physicalist from Ian Wardell's blog that responded to him. That means i can already imagine the responses of all those various materialism-oriented people here.

(Blog post where i got this stuff from:
http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/is-after-death-conceivable.html)

Most stuff isnt all that important for that what i want to talk about here. The thing i actually want to discuss about is the tv analogy that gets mentioned multiple times. You know, the theory that the brain is similar to a TV; that the brain works like a reciever of signals. As answer to that the materialist pointed out the difference between the brain and the TV from his point of view:

"The difference with the brain, is that there is no aspect that can't be physically manipulated."

And thats the point from where i want to start here. Can we manipulate EVERY aspect of the brain? I already read about the manipulation of sensory input and the distortion of memories. I guess we can also manipulate some feelings through chemicals? Not sure about that. And i also dont know how accurate the memory-part is.

But what about our will to do things and our thoughts? Can we manipulate those these days? Can we change and control a human being completely with modern science?
 
#2
Isn't this what the Hard Problem of Consciousness is about? How much of our reaction towards pleasure and pain is influenced by biochemical processes, and how much is influenced by our will to react to the pleasure and pain? Is there a point at which the biochemical processes become so strong will is rendered irrelevant, leaving the body and mind in control of that which inflicted pleasure and pain?
 
#3
You can theoretically manipulate the brain. You could make a 440 hertz sound wave look blue, but you will never know what the subjective experience of seeing blue is like because consciousness is fundamentally different from any physical process. You can't explain why blue looks like blue because there is no physical explanation for subjective experience. He tries to avoid this problem with point #1 where he says consciousness is an illusion which implies that consciousness is not anything that needs to be explained. But, he doesn't understand the consequences of that statement, one of which is that if consciousness is an illusion, he cannot know anything and all his subsequent logic is useless because his feeling that it is correct is an illusion, and therefore there is no logical reason to believe any of his arguments and the entire comment is incoherent. The idea that consciousness is an illusion is absurd. My pocket calculator cannot be fooled into thinking it is conscious because you have to be conscious in the first place to "believe" something that you are fooled into believing by the illusion. A blind man cannot be fooled by an optical illusion. An unconscious machine cannot be fooled into "believing" it is conscious.

I prefer the filter model to the TV analogy.
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_fallacies#skeptical_fallacies_brain
The filter model is better at explaining how the brain works, the TV analogy is good at explaining why the correlation between brain states and mental state does not prove the brain produces consciousness, but it is not good at explaining the relative roles of the brain and consciousness in a human being.

Materialism cannot explain consciousness: http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-materialist-explanation-of.html
 
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#4
Isn't this what the Hard Problem of Consciousness is about? How much of our reaction towards pleasure and pain is influenced by biochemical processes, and how much is influenced by our will to react to the pleasure and pain? Is there a point at which the biochemical processes become so strong will is rendered irrelevant, leaving the body and mind in control of that which inflicted pleasure and pain?
Hm, it seems to be atleast related to that. The Hard Problem plays certainly a role here. If the statement of the materialist in the first post is true there propably is no hard problem, right? Even though im not really sure how you would take control of consciousness or awareness in general. In the end it would need to be solved to take full control of a human being to remote-control him or something like that. Although the said materialist assumed that it is already possible to take control of consciousness since he stated that theres no aspect that cant be physically manipulated. Now is it like that? I read Jim's post and i know that hes telling some things that are not wrong. But well - isnt it possible that we somehow pump some funny external neuronal signals in our brain and then our thoughts and all that stuff are getting "guided" by that? I personally lost track of that what is possible and that what isnt, so i dont really know. I know of e.g. Eccle's(was it eccle? i dont know :( ) experiments where the people could tell the difference between him moving their limbs through neuronal signals and their own movements. But is there anything out there about external neuronal signals that can influence our "inner world"?
 
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