Documentary looks at old and new models of human consciousness |305|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

    Oct 25, 2013
    Documentary looks at old and new models of human consciousness |305|
    by Alex Tsakiris | Feb 16 | Consciousness Science

    The Deeper You Go documentary looks beyond traditional neuroscience-based models of consciousness.


    photo by: 11thStory
    My first impression of The Deeper You Go, a new documentary about consciousness, was — I can’t believe flat-earth-society-consciousness-researchers like Daniel Dennett, Susan Blackmore, and Patricia Churchland are still say moronic things like, “consciousness is an illusion.” My second thought was, I’m sure glad documentary filmmakers Lora Nigro and Kevin Rutkowski captured this on film. And especially glad they included interviews with more sane researchers like Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake.

    BTW 11thStory has offered Skeptiko listeners a chance to view The Deeper You Go for free (but I hope you’ll stuff a couple bucks in the tip jar if you like it). Use password: Skeptiko
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  2. The film opens with Chalmers saying there is no way to tell a person from a zombie. That is not correct. Alan Turing would know how. He knew computers didn't have ESP (and might not pass a Turing test unless ESP was excluded). And zombies would not have ESP either.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
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  3. Arouet

    Arouet Member

    Oct 30, 2013
    Hi Alex, I wonder if you could clarify this. I've just watched the video and was looking for instances of those individuals saying "consciousness is an illusion." I couldn't find any.

    What I heard was:
    • Dennett: refers to the hard problem as being a cognitive illusion (around 5:00)
    • Blackmore: talking of the sense of freewill being an illusion (around 11:00)
    • Churchland: Free will is an illusion (around 13:40)
    • Chopra: accurately describes Dennett as saying that Dennett considers the observer (ie: the self) to be an illusion (around 19:00).
    • Blackmore refers to the self as an illusion. the also refers to the problem of consciousness (ie: the hard problem) disappears. (around 22:00).
    So we've got the hard problem, free will, and the sense of self - but not consciousness itself.

    I think it makes a difference.
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  4. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

    Jan 17, 2015
    It was a very nice looking film. I'm not quite sure why it is called The Deeper You Go. It seems a pretty "tip your toe in the water" sort of introduction to me.

    My problem is this. We simply cannot deny that in innumerable cases information has somehow been transmitted from one consciousness to another when the two consciousnesses are not local to one another. And in many of those cases the information (communication) comes from a consciousness who is recently suffered physical death of the body. Those facts are simply not disputable by anyone who has read widely enough in the literature.

    If consciousness is entirely generated by the brain, then I do not see any process that allows for the above-mentioned informational transfer to occur. I'm not saying that it cannot be, but I don't think "materialism" provides the best model in this particular case.
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  5. Steve

    Steve Member

    Oct 31, 2013
    Thanks to Lora & Kevin for allowing us access to the film.

    The way these people react to being asked about consciousness gives me as much insight to our purpose in being here as the answers about consciousness do themselves, probably far more, in fact. It was fascinating to see how they all seemed to have different ideas, some slightly vague, some very definite. There are very bright people among them, a load of them will be disappointed when they are shown to be wrong. I had the sense that when these type of videos are replayed 100 or more years in the future, it'll be like watching young children talking about some adult subject they're being asked to give their views on. I get the feeling that we basically haven't too much of a clue overall as human beings.

    Fwiw I'm on the side of people like Deepak and others, the more spiritual side of things. I can't understand how Susan Blackmore can talk about Spiritual feelings, while at the same time believing that it is all in the brain? To me they're not compatible.

    Also I'm amazed that certain others as well as Blackmore keep on saying that NDEs are hallucinations. It has been stated over and over again that these are very different from hallucinations, but here we are, in the very latest video, listening to the same old nonsense. It's like watching sports pundits in 2016 talking about black & white tv matches of years gone by!

    Why do they ignore things like predicting accurately aspects of NDE individuals futures? Like predicting deaths, or knowing of deaths that they can't possibly have known about? Getting ill and knowing the outcome in advance. There have been some amazing 'hallucinations' over the recent decades. David Bennett, Anita Moorjani and Dr Mary Neal are three such individuals off the top of my head who learned things in their NDE that they couldn't possibly have known otherwise. I know, it's not science, well maybe science needs to find a way to incorporate these experiences into its fold.
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  6. By the time you develop your professional reputation to the point where you are asked to be on a film like that, your source of livelihood will have become dependent on your point of view. It is not realistic to expect anyone to say anything other than what they need to keep the funds flowing.
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  7. Thank you Alex for arranging the free viewing, and to Lora & Kevin for granting us the opportunity.

    Some comments - forgive my usual obsession with links but there's so much materialist/mechanistic propaganda/ignorance to clear up:

    Given the questionable status of Blackmore's work, always surprised she's presented as an expert on anything or that anyone thinks she's qualified to talk about "evidence". If she were a proponent she'd have been ripped to shreds in the media. Ah well, the unjust bias of the materialist faith infecting society I suppose.

    Churchland calling herself a "neurophilsopher" still makes me laugh - does she have any degree in the sciences at all? Neuroscientist Raymond Tallis rightly calls her out as the "Queen of Neuromania". Some of her husband's poor understanding of Dualism is covered by theologian Edward Feser here.

    On Panpsychism, I'd recommend the work of Eric Weiss and Gregg Rosenberg as both, from what I've read so far, make it work contrary to Searle's claim. They seem to represent the spectrum, given Weiss believes he can extend this idea to explain the afterlife while Rosenberg figures that though consciousness is what drives/carries causality this life is all there seems to be.

    (To be clear I do have great respect for Searle, who has continually shown the fantasy that a computer is conscious is not even wrong.)

    On consciousness as an illusion - as the old chestnut goes, "If consciousness in an illusion, who precisely is being fooled?" Most of the excuses Dennet and company try to use to explain away consciousness are covered in Andrew Clifton's An Empirical Case Against Materialism. See also neuroscientist Raymond Tallis's What Consciousness is Not & What Neuroscience Cannot Tell us About Ourselves.

    Chopra makes a good argument about the relations of science not account for consciousness. Rosenberg gets into that in the linked post, and the physicist Lee Smolin goes into the same realization he had in Time Reborn.

    On Free Will - See link to Rosenberg's stuff above for why consciousness has efficacy, and arguably is what drives causation. Also Tallis' How Can I Possibly Be Free and his defense of the Present Moment being outside of physics.

    I suspect the argument that free will is impossible no matter what is a materialist propaganda trick - since free will is obviously impossible in materialism by spreading this canard they hope to alleviate the moral responsibility on themselves to deny materialism and fight against it until some conclusive evidence comes in.

    Good on Hammeroff to call out the computationalist fantasy. Also Nobel biologist George Wald agreed with him - in his last lecture Life & Mind in the Universe - that it's arguable even micro-life has consciousness.

    Sheldrake brings up whether memories are held in the brain. Some arguments against that here, one more by Tallis here.

    Like Steven I'm amazed the NDE-is-just-illusion trick is tried. Even in New Scientist from an agnostic point of view it was noted that despite the different causes of NDEs the experience seems remarkably similar.

    And I say this as someone who has questioned what we're really getting out of NDEs in terms of knowing the truth of reality.

    Searle makes a great point on the MRI studies and how they are used on people who already have consciousness. I think there's a related problem that just looking at a brain scan couldn't tell you whether a person was adding two and two or doing 2 + 2 + (57 - 57). (Goff refers to this as the New Hard Problem.)

    Blackmore on evidence....laughable. See above. I'd recommend looking at AI specialist Ben Goertzel's remarks on how the evidence convinced him Psi was real. I mean this isn't some random layperson like me, this is a guy who has millions of investment capital -> Hong Kong start-up to bet millions on hedge fund run by artificial intelligence.
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  8. I am not a big supporter of free will even though I am not a materialist. I use the term because it is convenient. But I don't believe there is a good definition of it. I don't think we are controlled like puppets by God, but I think we are subject to natural law, including the laws of psychology. And I think time is in some way an illusion which is involved in the explanation of precognition. I'm not sure what it means to have free will and also to be predictable too. And I think consciousness is non-physical, it exists outside of space and time, so it is ultimately incomprehensible to us while stuck in a physical existence. I don't really know what free will means so I am usually not interested in defending one side or the other in any debate ... except for specific points when I think there might be evidence for or against.

    This view is also based on my experiences. I believe certain life events are preplanned before we are born, but I also believe in the law of attraction - we have some control over our reality. I have had intuitions about my future life and seen them unfold one after another, and I have also had spooky results of using the law of attraction to the point where I am afraid to use it because of possible unintended consequences.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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  9. Ah, I don't think there are any natural laws...I actually think the idea of laws in incoherent. (See Do Physical Laws Make Things Happen?)

    I think precognition, if real, shows possible futures. I talked with Ethan about this a year or so ago, don't know if I can find the thread....but basically I'd see it as a reverse morphic resonance.

    If free will is illusory then to me it doesn't matter whether naturalism is true or not. In fact I'd hope the afterlife was false, living forever as an automaton isn't comforting to me.

    But I guess if time is an illusion it would be different....but I don't understand what people - NDErs or QM physicists - mean when they say anything "happens" outside of time.
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  10. Does anyone know which thirteen papers Goertzel's book is about?
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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  11. Here ya go Jim:

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  12. THANKS!
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  13. Max_B

    Max_B Member

    Nov 1, 2013
    Home Page:
    I enjoyed watching the program, in a half hour of light hearted discussion it at least got across the idea that nobody agrees.

    Although it just shows you that most of these interviewees really don't have any better idea of what is going on than the man in the street.

    The majority of them are the 'consiousness' celebs, they appear on every TV program, every conference, every lecture, and they just say the same things every time I hear them, and they've been saying the same things for years... :D Some need putting out of their misery... Lol.

    I can forgive Hameroff, because it's pretty clear the protein cavities, within highly conserved protein structures like Centrioles, Cilia, Microtubules play a major role. But if he keeps talking so fast, and keeps sprinkling his sentences with 'quantum superposition' and 'space-time geometry' I'm gonna stop watching him.

    I can forgive Sheldrake, as he's the only one who brings the past, and present, through forms and learning into the equation. But I think he's about out of it now... getting a bit long in the tooth.

    I actually don't mind Chopra, he's a bit more holistic, and it was he who suggested in a discussion with Hameroff IIRC that differences in energy usage for neurons vs microtubules might be a contributory reason for the NDE.

    That's about it I think... most of the ones that are left are overdue at the knackers yard, and you can shoot Searle immediately.

    I reckon I could put together a much more interesting shortlist of relative unknowns to make a great 3 part series... lol.
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  14. I tried to find these on-line, I think some are only published in the book...

    1. The Significance of Statistics in Mind-Matter Research JESSICA UTTS

    2. Physiological Activity That Seems to Anticipate Future Events JULIA A. MOSSBRIDGE

    3. Anomalous Anticipatory Skin Conductance Response to Acoustic Stimuli EDWIN C. MAY, TAMÁS PAULINYI and ZOLTÁN VASSY

    4. Revisiting the Ganzfeld ESP Debate: A Basic Review and Assessment BRYAN J.

    5. Telepathy in Connection with Telephone Calls, Text Messages and E-Mails RUPERT SHELDRAKE

    6. Empirical Examinations of the Reported Abilities of a Psychic Claimant: A Review of Experiments and Explorations with Sean Harribance BRYAN J. WILLIAMS

    7. Assessing Psi Ability Via the Ball Selection Test: A Challenge for Psychometrics SUITBERT ERTEL
    I couldn't find this but the following might be of interest:The Ball Drawing Test. Psi from Untrodden Ground.

    8. Through Time and Space: The Evidence for Remote Viewing STEPHAN A. SCHWARTZ

    9. The PEAR Laboratory: Explorations and Observations YORK DOBYNS

    10. The Global Consciousness Project: Subtle Interconnections and Correlations in Random Data ROGER D. NELSON

    11. An Analysis of the Global Consciousness Project PETER A. BANCEL

    12. Psi and the Environment: Local Sidereal Time and Geomagnetic Effects S. JAMES P. SPOTTISWOODE
    His other publications are here:

    13. Skeptical Responses to Psi Research TED GOERTZEL and BEN GOERTZEL
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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  15. iPsoFacTo

    iPsoFacTo New

    Jan 27, 2016
    That was.... not what I expected. I was expecting something in depth in the hour and a half range, however it is ~something~ and for that it is good.

    Provoked great posts here with great info to further explore which is excellent. Unfortunately I'm not studied on these people outside of perhaps them being known names.

    I dunno.. at this point in my life I've pretty much reduced all debate to the fundamental level in that 80% of what anyone believes is probably false anyway because of the strong individual biases inherent in all human beings. I'll even go so far as what science says about reality is nothing more than a sort of feedback loop game with the universe. Ya want particles, we got particles. Now ya want waves, we got waves, lol.

    All I usually wind up saying to people is that this place... this, this 'universe' we find ourselves in, is waaaaay waaaaaaaaay stranger than you can ever imagine. Somethings going on alright but what 'it' is I don't know and neither does anyone else. hehe
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  16. Roberta

    Roberta Member

    Feb 14, 2016
    That's very close to what I think! I think admitting no one knows is the truth - we see what we want to see.
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  17. Nicole

    Nicole New

    Jul 17, 2014
    I fully agree with the last two posters. I have been looking to science to find a language I can express my strange every day experiences with, but so far had little luck. One of the few things that has become clear, is that I see or create what I focus on. If I listen to podcasts on chemtrails, I see contrail markings in the sky that cannot be explained by regular air traffic. But as I move on to the next subject of interest, the sky turns normal again. Not the slightest hint of anything 'abnormal' in the sky since.

    The same thing holds true whether I am worried about something, or am invested in finding the answer to a particular problem. What we focus on, does seem to create our realities, but our subconscious psychological content also plays a part in it, at least in my world. And then there is so much more out there that does not fit into this little box either.
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  18. Roberta

    Roberta Member

    Feb 14, 2016
    What are the strangest experiences you've had if you don't mind me asking?
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  19. Nicole

    Nicole New

    Jul 17, 2014
    Oh boy. As an adult I have experienced at least one incident of time standing still for about five to ten minutes. I have had several experiences of telepathy with animals. I had one experience where I felt a force reaching through my arms, taking charge of the steering wheel and pulling my car onto the shoulder of the highway. A few moments later a car was passing the oncoming traffic on my lane, completely oblivious to what he or she was doing and continuing to pass that traffic at an obscene speed. I can make the weather change, if it is important enough… Do I come across as crazy enough yet?

    I have always had access to knowledge I could not possibly have know. Now I understand that this is called claircognizant channeling, but as a little three year old that caused a lot of problems. I am also an empath, meaning I can tune into someone else’s body and experience what they are experiencing.

    There are many experiences I had as a child and brushed off at that point because it could not have possibly been real. But they have stayed with me and now I realize that the emotions attached to those events are so strong that there must be an element of reality to it. At this point I can only guess what might have happened, but would probably qualify as entering a parallel reality, seeing a flying object that does not even fit the description of a UFO and more.

    There was one particular incident where my mother was cooking lunch and doing laundry at the same time. She turned the frying pan on while going downstairs to hang up the laundry. All I know is that I was possessed by the urge to go outside and play. She tried to forbid it so close to lunch. I threw a temper tantrum and got my way. Once outside, the neighborhood kids pointed out the black smoke coming from my family’s kitchen window.

    As you asked, this is only the tip of the iceberg, and if I was not still half asleep, I probably would not have had the courage to even mention half of this.
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  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

    Oct 30, 2013
    Nicole, this is a place where you can make known your experiences and discuss them if you wish. If you're shy or a bit reluctant to expand, you can always start a private new inbox thread (click "Inbox" near top right and then "Start a new conversation") and invite people you think might be genuinely interested.

    You've not been around too long I see, and so may not know who to invite, but if you mention me and tick the box "Allow anyone in the conversation to invite others", I'll invite a few people I know would be interested and sympathetic, and maybe they would, too. I guess I'm particularly interested in your expanding on your claircognisance and empathy.

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