All these articles are always the same. “When we do or think such and such, portion X of the brain does this.” It’s never an inch closer to answer why random colliding particles should give rise to a first person conscious experience. Each study seems to add to our knowledge of how certain experiences correlate with brain activity. But it’s nothing new. We’ve known for a long time that nervous system activity correlates with conscious experience. Each new study helps us learn a little more about this correlation. The problem is, that they will then often claim that this brings us closer to understanding why any matter should give rise to a first person conscious experience in the first place. And it never brings us an inch closer. It just re-affirms what we’ve known for probably 100 years, that brain activity correlates with conscious experience.
For example, suppose a person in the old days wonders why rocks fall to earth when thrown into the air. A person from the future then explains that there is a force called gravity that can be measured. But that still doesn’t explain why gravity exists in the first place. In that sense, one can still wonder, “why do rocks fall to the earth when thrown into the air”, and still not really know the answer. The ancient person ALREADY KNEW that there was a force that brought the rocks down to the earth. The only difference is that the man from the future has given the phenomen a label (gravity) and has equations to measure it. But that doesn’t answer why gravity exists in the first place.
And gravity isn’t half the mystery consciousness is. It’s utterly alien and bizarre.
In this sense, materialistic scientists are always mislabeling observations as explanations of intrinsic being.
Hey TS, thanks for highlighting the article which tried to summarize an excellent study. I pulled down the study it referred to and read it. My impressions:
The Abstract thesis was summarized in its closing statement, "Our results establish that consciousness rests on the brain’s ability to sustain rich brain dynamics..." Good stuff...
An initial concern at face value is, that the study starts by assuming and encoding the answer (Omega Hypothesis). This is shown in the prior art disclosures by the statement: "consciousness relates to a dynamic process of self-sustained, coordinated brain-scale activity assisting the tuning to a constantly evolving environment, rather than in static descriptions of brain function [my note: Recursive Turing Sufficiency rather than Monist Turing Sufficiency]. In that respect, neural signals combine, dissolve, reconfigure, and recombine over time, allowing perception, emotion, and cognition to happen." I've had my ass kicked by senior board members and advisory panel scientists for using the code-worded amphibology 'relates to' inside an assertion claim in a patent or study...
...however here - what choice are we left with? Still an exciting study. My point in bringing this up is to cite that it behooves the ethical skeptic to note that the study is NOT enforcing a nihilist view of consciousness - a résultat célébré which will inevitably arise in the minds of the religious nihilist. The authors have carefully chosen their words so as not to indicate this specific conclusion. Do not let them pull this trick on you.
The study makes it clear that both anesthesia and sleep states serve to reduce meta-identity (temporal) states to near zero. The prior art cited in the statement "and [in sleep] the dynamic explorations are limited to specific patterns that are dominated by rigid functional configurations tied to the anatomical connectivity."
The study contrasted the fMRI 42-region cross indexes of four states of human consciousness 1 - normal conscious, 2 - cognitive-motor dissociation, 3 - patients scanned under propofol anesthesia (essential here that all had administered the same anesthesia agent), and 4 - unresponsive (coma). The results profiled as such:
Normal Cognitive-Motor Dissociation Propofol Anesthesia Unresponsive
The regressions on the right hand side of the above graphic indicate a direct arrival impact of 'state of awareness' upon 42-center interaction. A solid relationship between center function and cognitive ability, not simply state, of awareness.
The Challenge This Therefore Presents.
1. Temporal activity (meta-awareness, meta-identity as shown by the blue versus red in the graphics) depends SOLELY upon functional center complex 'rich dynamics' (interareal coordination).
2. The absence of such 'rich dynamics' correlates highly with being Unresponsive Wakefulness State (UWS).
3. Static memories are not enough therefore, to 'reboot' the brain after a UWS state. The interareal coordination must be re-established but also maintain a meta-identity function which survives this neutral capability. There is no physical center which functions in this regard.
4. Experiences during comas (such as Eben Alexander had) require then a 'subfunctional interareal coordination reboot sector' of the brain which does not, nor can it, exist - because the brain cannot register (meta-cognition) during a coma - iow, it cannot 'distinguish nor make a memory' - the fMRI makes this clear - as there is no interareal coordination which would allow for the fomation of even a fantasy memory.
This reboot interareal coordination would act as a pilot light of sorts - like on your gas water heater. Serving two functions
What we do not hold a Wittgenstein definition nor measure for, inside this universe - will appear to be surface or point compactified onto the brane boundary from which we observe it to originate (logical or physical).
The argument will still arise - was it compactified there, springing forth with spontaneous magical dimensionality, or was it magically projected from behind the brane?
We cannot answer this question because it requires us to define something which does not exist to us. Both are equally magical explanations however.
But ultimately a magic will be the truth. So we must hold both arguments open as the null hypothesis - as they are peers in non-falsifiability, despite the critique of 'magical thinking'.
Seems like they're talking about NCCs, the brain difference between a unconscious person and a conscious person. As usual, the reporter twist this in the title to suggest how the brain produces consciousness has been resolved. Never take these articles seriously, only read the real study, these articles almost always twist the real studies in a way to further materialist ideals.