Friday, November 15, 2013

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Researchers' and People's Confusion about Consciousness and Free Will - a few Thoughts

I've posted this comment to an article some time ago: Statement on the Recent TED/Psi/Consciousness Controversy, regarding consciousness and the confusion of people about it.

I've been browsing Ben's web site now and I see that the comment is still "awaiting moderation" or was censured, so I'm posting it here anyway.

I'm not familiar with their work, but I know that consciousness, free will, thinking machines and theoretical investigations on ethics - these are all topics which are "confusing" for average people.

Particular intelligence is required and those who lack it are likely to fail to understand the real meaning of the explanations given on these topics by the people who have that talent. I guess the administrators are amongst the "confused ones", since even some "normal" scientists are deeply confused, because they believe they're clever and are supposed to understand.

Recently I saw a short video by Eric Kandel on consciousness and free will, where he, the expert, tries to explain and convince the laypeople, who seem to believe that are better experts, that "free will" doesn't appear out of nothing, that there are measurable processes which precede the manifestations of awareness and conscious actions etc.

Well - of course?! What else did the people believe? Babies have behavior 2-3 years before what's supposed to be called "awareness" or [the moment where] "consciousness" is "supposed" to manifest itself by using the word "I" or recognizing oneself in the mirror. And those skills don't require "real" qualia. A machine can easily do this.

The people, including the "scientists", seemed to have believed that free will was "magic" which was out of causality, out of physics, given the surprise in the scientific community after the Libet's and others' experiments regarding the delay between the EEG onset of intentional action and the moment of realization of the desire to act.

See: Libet's experiment

Video of Libet's experiment

A recent discussion on consciousness and mind at Blogtalkradio: "Special guests Ben Goertzel and David Pearce join hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon to examine the question of mind uploading." Will we ever upload"

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