Scientists Closing in on Consciousness

 

 

Scientists Closing in on Theory of Consciousness

Scientists Closing in on Theory of Consciousness

Probably for as long as humans have been able to grasp the concept of consciousness, they have sought to understand the phenomenon.

Studying the mind was once the province of philosophers, some of whom still believe the subject is inherently unknowable. But neuroscientists are making strides in developing a true science of the self.

Here are some of the best contenders for a theory of consciousness.

Cogito ergo sum

Not an easy concept to define, consciousness has been described as the state of being awake and aware of what is happening around you, and of having a sense of self. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

The 17th century French philosopher René Descartes proposed the notion of “cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”), the idea that the mere act of thinking about one’s existence proves there is someone there to do the thinking.

Descartes also believed the mind was separate from the material body — a concept known as mind-body duality — and that these realms interact in the brain’s pineal gland. Scientists now reject the latter idea, but some thinkers still support the notion that the mind is somehow removed from the physical world.

But while philosophical approaches can be useful, they do not constitute testable theories of consciousness, scientists say.

“The only thing you know is, ‘I am conscious.’ Any theory has to start with that,” said Christof Koch, a neuroscientist and the chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Neuroscience in Seattle.

Correlates of consciousness

In the last few decades, neuroscientists have begun to attack the problem of understanding consciousness from an evidence-based perspective. Many researchers have sought to discover specific neurons or behaviors that are linked to conscious experiences.

Recently, researchers discovered a brain area that acts as a kind of on-off switch for the brain. When they electrically stimulated this region, called the claustrum, the patient became unconscious instantly. In fact, Koch and Francis Crick, the molecular biologist who famously helped discover the double-helix structure of DNA, had previously hypothesized that this region might integrate information across different parts of the brain, like the conductor of a symphony.

But looking for neural or behavioral connections to consciousness isn’t enough, Koch said. For example, such connections don’t explain why the cerebellum, the part of the brain at the back of the skull that coordinates muscle activity, doesn’t give rise to consciousness, while the cerebral cortex (the brain’s outermost layer) does. This is the case even though the cerebellum contains more neurons than the cerebral cortex.

Nor do these studies explain how to tell whether consciousness is present, such as in brain-damaged patients, other animals or even computers. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

Neuroscience needs a theory of consciousness that explains what the phenomenon is and what kinds of entities possess it, Koch said. And currently, only two theories exist that the neuroscience community takes seriously, he said.

Integrated information

Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed one of the most promising theories for consciousness, known as integrated information theory.

Understanding how the material brain produces subjective experiences, such as the color green or the sound of ocean waves, is what Australian philosopher David Chalmers calls the “hard problem” of consciousness. Traditionally, scientists have tried to solve this problem with a bottom-up approach. As Koch put it, “You take a piece of the brain and try to press the juice of consciousness out of [it].” But this is almost impossible, he said.

In contrast, integrated information theory starts with consciousness itself, and tries to work backward to understand the physical processes that give rise to the phenomenon, said Koch, who has worked with Tononi on the theory.

The basic idea is that conscious experience represents the integration of a wide variety of information, and that this experience is irreducible. This means that when you open your eyes (assuming you have normal vision), you can’t simply choose to see everything in black and white, or to see only the left side of your field of view.

Instead, your brain seamlessly weaves together a complex web of information from sensory systems and cognitive processes. Several studies have shown that you can measure the extent of integration using brain stimulation and recording techniques.

The integrated information theory assigns a numerical value, “phi,” to the degree of irreducibility. If phi is zero, the system is reducible to its individual parts, but if phi is large, the system is more than just the sum of its parts.

This system explains how consciousness can exist to varying degrees among humans and other animals. The theory incorporates some elements of panpsychism, the philosophy that the mind is not only present in humans, but in all things.

An interesting corollary of integrated information theory is that no computer simulation, no matter how faithfully it replicates a human mind, could ever become conscious. Koch put it this way: “You can simulate weather in a computer, but it will never be ‘wet.'”

Global workspace

Another promising theory suggests that consciousness works a bit like computer memory, which can call up and retain an experience even after it has passed.

Bernard Baars, a neuroscientist at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, developed the theory, which is known as the global workspace theory. This idea is based on an old concept from artificial intelligence called the blackboard, a memory bank that different computer programs could access.

Anything from the appearance of a person’s face to a memory of childhood can be loaded into the brain’s blackboard, where it can be sent to other brain areas that will process it.  According to Baars’ theory, the act of broadcasting information around the brain from this memory bank is what represents consciousness.

The global workspace theory and integrated information theories are not mutually exclusive, Koch said. The first tries to explain in practical terms whether something is conscious or not, while the latter seeks to explain how consciousness works more broadly.

“At this point, both could be true,” Koch said.

 

Source:  livescience.com

Life does not end and it can last forever

Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death:

 

Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death

Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death

Lance is an expert in regenerative medicine and chief scientific officer of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he was known for his extensive research that deals with stem cells, was also famous for several successful experiments in animal cloning endangered species .

But not long ago , the scientist involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics. This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism , the teacher has been preaching since. Biocentrism teaches that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe. It is consciousness that creates the material universe , and not vice versa .

Spear points to the structure of the universe and the laws , forces and constants of the universe seem finely tuned for life , which means the existing intelligence before importing. It also states that space and time are not objects or things, but rather the tools of our animal understanding. Lanza said that we time and space around us ” like turtles with shells . ” Which means that when the projectile leaves (space and time ) , we still exist .

The theory implies that there simply is not the death of consciousness. It only exists as a thought, because people identify with his body. They believe that the body will sooner or later die, thinking that your conscience will also disappear. If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies . But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable satellite signals , and then , of course , consciousness does not end with the death of the physical vehicle. Indeed , consciousness exists outside the constraints of time and space. It can be anywhere : in the human body and beyond . In other words, is not local in the sense that quantum objects are not local.

Lanza also believes that there may be multiple universes simultaneously. In a universe , the body may be dead. And in another continues to exist , consciousness , who emigrated to this universe absorbing . This means that a dead person while traveling through the same tunnel ends not in hell or in heaven , but in a similar world that he or she once inhabited , but this time with life. And so on , ad infinitum . It’s almost like an effect beyond the cosmic Russian doll.
multiple worlds

This instilling hope, but highly controversial theory Lanza has many supporters unconscious , not just mere mortals who want to live forever, but also some renowned scientists . These are physicists and astrophysicists tend to agree with the existence of parallel worlds and suggest the possibility of multiple universes. Multiverse ( multiverse ) is a scientific concept of the call, which they defend. They believe that there are no physical laws that prohibit the existence of parallel worlds.

The first was a science fiction writer HG Wells , who proclaimed in 1895 , in his story ” The Door in the Wall” . And after 62 years , this idea was developed by Dr. Hugh Everett in his graduate thesis at Princeton University . Basically states that at one point the universe is divided into innumerable similar cases. And the next moment, these universes ” newborn ” was divided in a similar manner. In some of these worlds may be present : reading this article in a universe, or watch TV in another.

The trigger for these multiplyingworlds factor is our actions, Everett said . If we make some choices , instant universe is divided into two with different versions of the results.

In the 1980s , Andrei Linde, scientist at the Institute of Physics of the Lebedev developed the theory of multiple universes. He is currently a professor at Stanford University . Linde said : Space is inflation in many areas , leading to similar areas , and these , in turn , produce more areas , and so on to infinity. In the universe , which are separated from each other . They are not aware of each other’s existence . But they represent parts of the same physical universe.

The fact that our universe is not only based on data received from the Planck space telescope. The use of data , scientists have created the most accurate map of the microwave background , the so-called background radiation of the relic, which has been maintained since the beginning of our universe. They also found that the universe has a lot of dark corners represented by some large holes and gaps.

Theoretical physicist Laura Mersini – Houghton of the University of North Carolina with his colleagues argue, there are anomalies of the microwave background due to the fact that our universe is influenced by other nearby existing universes . And the holes and gaps are a direct result of the attacks against us by neighboring universes.
soul

Therefore, there are plenty of places or other universes where our souls could migrate after death , according to the theory of neo – biocentrism . But is there a soul? Is there any scientific theory of consciousness that could accommodate such a statement ? According to Dr. Stuart Hameroff , a near death happens when the quantum information that lives in the nervous system leaves the body and is dissipated in the universe experience. Contrary to materialist accounts of consciousness , Dr. Hameroff offers an alternative explanation of consciousness that may perhaps appeal to both the rational scientific mind and personal insights.

Consciousness resides , according to Stuart and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose, microtubules in brain cells , which are the primary sites of quantum processing. On death, this information is released from your body , which means your consciousness goes with it. They have argued that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in these microtubules , a theory called orchestrated objective reduction ( Orch – O) .

Consciousness, or at least proto – consciousness is theorized by them as a fundamental property of the universe, present even in the beginning of the universe during the Big Bang. ” In one such scheme proto- conscious experience is a basic property of physical reality accessible to a quantum process associated with brain activity . ”

Our souls are in fact constructed from the very fabric of the universe – and may have existed since the beginning of time . Our brains are just receivers and amplifiers for proto – awareness that is intrinsic to the structure of spacetime . So is there really a part of your consciousness that is not material and will live after the death of his physical body?

Dr. Hameroff said Science Channel documentary through the Wormhole . ” Say the heart stops beating , the blood stops flowing , microtubules lose their quantum state Quantum information microtubules is not destroyed , not may be destroyed, only distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. ” Robert Lanza add here that not only exists in the universe , there is perhaps another universe.

If the patient is resuscitated , revived , this quantum information can return to microtubules and the patient says “I had a near-death experience ” ‘

He adds: ” If you are not revived , and the patient dies , it is possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely , as a soul . ”

This explanation of quantum consciousness explains things like near-death experiences , astral projection , out of body experiences , reincarnation and even without appeal to religious ideology. The energy of your consciousness potentially recycled back into a different body, at some point, and in the mean time that exists outside the physical body at some other level of reality, and possibly in another universe .

Simulation Universe is a hologram

A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our Universe could be just one big projection:

Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram

Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram

 

In 1997, theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena proposed1 that an audacious model of the Universe in which gravity arises from infinitesimally thin, vibrating strings could be reinterpreted in terms of well-established physics. The mathematically intricate world of strings, which exist in nine dimensions of space plus one of time, would be merely a hologram: the real action would play out in a simpler, flatter cosmos where there is no gravity.

Maldacena’s idea thrilled physicists because it offered a way to put the popular but still unproven theory of strings on solid footing — and because it solved apparent inconsistencies between quantum physics and Einstein’s theory of gravity. It provided physicists with a mathematical Rosetta stone, a ‘duality’, that allowed them to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa. But although the validity of Maldacena’s ideas has pretty much been taken for granted ever since, a rigorous proof has been elusive.

In two papers posted on the arXiv repository, Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan and his colleagues now provide, if not an actual proof, at least compelling evidence that Maldacena’s conjecture is true.

In one paper2, Hyakutake computes the internal energy of a black hole, the position of its event horizon (the boundary between the black hole and the rest of the Universe), its entropy and other properties based on the predictions of string theory as well as the effects of so-called virtual particles that continuously pop into and out of existence. In the other3, he and his collaborators calculate the internal energy of the corresponding lower-dimensional cosmos with no gravity. The two computer calculations match.

“It seems to be a correct computation,” says Maldacena, who is now at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and who did not contribute to the team’s work.

The findings “are an interesting way to test many ideas in quantum gravity and string theory”, Maldacena adds. The two papers, he notes, are the culmination of a series of articles contributed by the Japanese team over the past few years. “The whole sequence of papers is very nice because it tests the dual [nature of the universes] in regimes where there are no analytic tests.”

“They have numerically confirmed, perhaps for the first time, something we were fairly sure had to be true, but was still a conjecture — namely that the thermodynamics of certain black holes can be reproduced from a lower-dimensional universe,” says Leonard Susskind, a theoretical physicist at Stanford University in California who was among the first theoreticians to explore the idea of holographic universes.

Neither of the model universes explored by the Japanese team resembles our own, Maldacena notes. The cosmos with a black hole has ten dimensions, with eight of them forming an eight-dimensional sphere. The lower-dimensional, gravity-free one has but a single dimension, and its menagerie of quantum particles resembles a group of idealized springs, or harmonic oscillators, attached to one another.

Nevertheless, says Maldacena, the numerical proof that these two seemingly disparate worlds are actually identical gives hope that the gravitational properties of our Universe can one day be explained by a simpler cosmos purely in terms of quantum theory.

Big bang theory Rewrite

Big bang theory rewrite near:

Big bang theory rewrite near

Big bang theory rewrite near

Melbourne researchers believe they may be on the brink of rewriting the history of the universe. A paper being published in a US physics journal suggests it may be possible to view “cracks” in the universe that would support the theory of quantum graphity – considered to be the holy grail of physics. The team of researchers from the University of Melbourne and RMIT say that, instead of thinking of the start of the universe as being a big bang, we should imagine it as a cooling of water into ice. “Think of the early universe as being like a liquid,” Melbourne University theoretical physics researcher James Quach said. “Then as the universe cools, it ‘crystalises’. The reason we use the water analogy is water is without form. “In the beginning there wasn’t even space, space did not exist because there was no form.” Their research rests on a school of thought that has emerged recently to suggest space is made of indivisible building blocks, such as atoms, that can be thought of as similar to pixels that make up images on a computer screen. Quach said the standing model for the origins of the universe, the big bang, needed to be rewritten. He hoped experimentalists would be able to find evidence to support the theory put forward by the Melbourne team of researchers, that would replace it. “The biggest problem with the big bang model is the bang itself,” Quach said. “At the bang, physics breaks down. “The model cannot make any predictions at what occurs at the big bang. You can’t use any of the mathematics [or] any of the theories.” Quach and his fellow researchers theorise that if quantum graphity “cracks” do exist, they will bend or reflect light, which, if observed through a telescope would support their predictions. “If they prove my predictions that’s really good evidence for the condensed matter model of quantum graphity in which case you can throw out all the other attempts.”