What happens after death page 9

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I’ll address your post tomorrow, ProfessorPawn. Just posting now to let you know I’m aware of it, but I pushed myself way too far today. I’m exhausted, very sore and certain I’m not thinking straight. Not a good state of mind to be in for this sort of discussion.

 
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Sure, np

 
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Originally posted by ProfessorPawn:
Originally posted by vikaTae:
Not at all. Its just part of the model of embodied cognition. We know consciousness is there, and we can detect pieces of it via fMRI. What we cannot do, as I said before, is separate out what is and is not involved in conscious cognition.

If you can’t separate what is and is not involved in conscious cognition, then how can you state that we can detect pieces of it via fMRI with certainty?

To do this I’m going to use a car, and try and pick it apart. We’re looking from a perspective of not understanding anything about how a car works, or how its components are divided into separate systems.

It starts, it shudders and then moves forwards. But what systems are involved in making it move forwards? The brakes are sometimes pressed against the wheels, they must be involved in forward motion. No, wait, most of the time when it is moving forwards, the brakes aren’t involved. They are sometimes, but there’s no regularity to their involvement, and the car can sometimes go a long, long time without the brakes being called in. Clearly the brakes aren’t part of the system necessary to move forwards. They’re doing something else, obviously, but not necessary for moving forwards. So we can discount them from the process.

The pistons however, they are involved. Every single time the car is activated and it is moving forwards, the pistons are moving. They must be part of the process. Something central to the process of the car moving itself along. Now, this doe not mean we can take the piston block out of the car, lay it on the ground, and pronounce that this is what is making the car move forwards. If we study it enough, we will find out how to make it drag itself forwards along the ground just like the whole car does.

This is how we can determine using fMRI (which monitors oxygen consumption by the brain, and thus is not particularly accurate except in general terms) what parts of the brain are related to the conscious mind, and which are other processes. The temporal lobe isn’t in general activated when the conscious mind is running. It is sometimes – for memory retrieval, usually – but its not activated with any regularity, as a core process would be. The visual systems seem to be involved, but yet when the eyes aren’t being used, activity in the occipal lobe quickly reduces and even peters out. So its related to sensory processing but not to consciousness.

Over time and through trial and error, even if you knew nothing else about the brain, you would isolate the areas that were involved in consciousness. As well as some that aren’t, but that require/d much more specific investigation.

However, just the same as with the car pistons, we cannot just rip one of those areas from a brain and declare we have found consciousness. We have located it, yes, but we don’t know which areas in that mass of systems it is actually using, and we certainly cannot pull a single neural tower out and declare ‘this is consciousness’ any more than we can pull a single piston out of its housing and declare ’ this is the car’s movement’.

The view that consciousness is a byproduct of a combination of processes in the brain IS more complicated than simply viewing consciousness as the processes themselves.

I hope you can now understand why I agree with you on this point, but disagree with you on the conclusions being drawn.

The burden of proof would be on the side that suggests that conscious activity occurs during deep dreamless sleep. Having memories of dreams during periods of deep sleep is not proof of conscious activity.

No, but being able to recall the dreams upon waking – immediately upon waking – without sending a request down to the midbrain would be rather interesting. That then says the conscious mind’s brain areas were involved actively in the dream process. ie they weren’t idle.

It’s only supposition on my part here, but I think they have to be. Dreams are highly abstract things, and the only area I can place with the capability for abstract thought – tying memory engrams together without a direct association in place – lays in the prefrontal cortex.

If you work in medicine I’m sure you’re aware that there are many times in which conscious activity flattens, particularly in a medical setting. Simply replace ‘sleep’ with these situations and you have an example of consciousness being switched ON and OFF.

Not completely. In my previous argument I referenced the chemical biomarkers. The proteins involved in the process. Think of them as status markers. The electrical activity isn’t firing, but they’re placeholders. They stop anything else overriding the state that’s already there. Then when activity starts up again, in continues where it left off.

You could duplicate the brain at this point with the transporter you mentioned earlier, and both people would start up from the same point, their minds springing into being. However, only one of them would actually be the original with the state change intact. The other would be a brand new being created at that point with a copy of that state change.

Look at it another way, if you were to create a copy of me (other than giving the world a hell of a lot of grief) you would now have two women, with two distinct minds. I would not be able to go:

“Wee, I’m talking at you with body A. Wee, I’m now talking to you with body B. Hety this is fun, I’m sliding back and forth. I have two sets of everything to control now! Neato!”

Rather you would have two separate women, with two separate agendas. Diversion from the point of creation would begin immediately. If six months later, one dies, the other does not inherit all her memories from those six months. They are completely separate.

Of course I’m aware that these procedures are only performed in situations in which patients will almost certainly die otherwise. In my first statement I called them risky operations. I don’t think you quite understand what I was saying.

In this particular procedure the brain is FLATLINED in every patient. It’s intentionally induced and part of the procedure itself. If you are correct in that consciousness cannot be interupted then this procedure kills one hundred percent of its patients. Any patients that appear to survive the procedure are not the ‘same’ consciousness at all. It’s a different person. Therefore even if the odds of death without these surgeries are 99%, not having the surgery done would still be better than a 100% chance of permanent cessation of consciousness that would surely occur during the procedure.

Meh, that’s the patient’s choice, not ours. Ours is to warn of probable or certain consequences, but ultimately if the intended end result is a patient coming out with a higher quality of life than the one going in, and they at least believe themselves to be the same person, then I have no problem with the procedure, and whilst it has not been put to the test, I rather suspect the lothian medical ethics committee would agree with me.

Even if we can prove they are not the same person, to others – their friends, family, loved ones, they will be the same person, and as I said before, if we prove the old mind dies and the brain generates a new one, we tell them that, make sure they understand and leave it to be their choice.

I don’t know why you brought memories into a debate centered around continuity of consciousness.

Because they are an ideal way to show how a physically disparate brain is going to store different memories to the first brain, and there is not going to be any natural system in place to move them automatically over to the original brain. If there’s no mechanism for some of the brain’s data, there’s not going to be one for other bran data. Ie if memories cannot move across, consciousness certainly cannot.

You don’t then have one consciousness split between two brains, but two separate yet parallel consciousnesses with two separate yet (initially) identical brains pursuing separate lives.

Its not quite the same for your example of a brain with the hemispheres separated, as there is still a conduit to memjory access and body control circuitry, for both of them. However, there is still no way to share active state data. The two consciousnesses are not sharing one another’s thoughts. There is no circuitry connect between them.

So you have the same problem. If one awareness dies, the other one does not inherit what they were thinking about but did not send to memory. That data is lost. There is no continuation of processes between the disparate minds, precisely because there is no circuitry connection between them.

 
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What you should be scared of is not death itself, but the fact that you may still have business left to do, resolving conflicts, apologizing to people, telling people you love them. I for one, am completely terrified that one day I will not be remembered anymore. The thought of it makes me tremble. The thought that my life simply came by and then simply left. So instead of worrying about an after death “experience” (which I don’t believe there is) the best advice I could give you is to do as much as you can so that you will be remembered for as long as you can.

 
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I understand your car example, when you said “detect pieces of consciousness via fMRI” in your previous comment it threw me off. I would not have said that we were detecting pieces of consciousness, just that we were detected what is thought to give rise to consciousness. I think we’re on the same page about most of this stuff, we only different on our interpretation of what it means.

Originally posted by vikaTae:
Not completely. In my previous argument I referenced the chemical biomarkers. The proteins involved in the process. Think of them as status markers. The electrical activity isn’t firing, but they’re placeholders. They stop anything else overriding the state that’s already there. Then when activity starts up again, in continues where it left off.

Consciousness is not electrical impulses, it’s not biomarkers, it’s not chemicals, it’s not matter, it’s a property that arises from the combination of these things. When there is no measurable activity in the brain, that property is simply not there. I don’t think it’s necessary to demonstrate that all functions of the brain are shut down in every way to prove the point that consciousness can be turned on and off while retaining continuity.

The only thing that should be be needed to show this is that the property disappears and emerges again. If there is something going on in the brain, it is irrelevant to this point if that something is occuring while there is no consciousness.

Think about it like this, you have a block of ice. That ice block has its own unique physical properties such as hardness. You put the ice block on the stove and melt it. The ice block has become a fluid and lost the properties it had as a solid.

Now if you examine the fluid you can find activity. A flow of water develops as the hotter water closer to the heat source rises to the top and the cooler water sinks to the bottom. However, this activity would not mean anything in a debate about the continuity of the property of hardness for the ice block.

Look at it another way, if you were to create a copy of me (other than giving the world a hell of a lot of grief) you would now have two women, with two distinct minds. I would not be able to go:

“Wee, I’m talking at you with body A. Wee, I’m now talking to you with body B. Hety this is fun, I’m sliding back and forth. I have two sets of everything to control now! Neato!”

Rather you would have two separate women, with two separate agendas. Diversion from the point of creation would begin immediately. If six months later, one dies, the other does not inherit all her memories from those six months. They are completely separate.

The two yous would not need to remain identical to be continuations of the you at the point of divergence. After all, the two hemispheres in the split-brain example are not identical either, but you have no problem viewing them as continuations of the originally single consciousness. At the point of divergence the two yous would branch out and become different people. These differences would be subtle at first. Regardless, they would still be genuine continuations of the you at the point of divergence.

Think about it like this, if Man A splits into Man B and Man C, then Man B and Man C would be identical at conception. Man B and Man C would quickly diverge, and their property of consciousness would no longer be the same. Man C is NOT equal to Man B anymore, but they are both still genuine branches of Man A.

To take it further, If Man C splits into Man D and Man E these two new branches would probably be somewhat close to Man B, but they would not be continuations of Man B. Their property of consciousness would be shared with Man C at the point of divergence, not Man B anymore. They do not continue Man B.

Because they are an ideal way to show how a physically disparate brain is going to store different memories to the first brain, and there is not going to be any natural system in place to move them automatically over to the original brain. If there’s no mechanism for some of the brain’s data, there’s not going to be one for other bran data. Ie if memories cannot move across, consciousness certainly cannot.

There is no movement required here. Nothing flows between them. Your consciousness is a unique property, they simply have it or don’t have it. You’re using the example of memory transfer again, but memories are not the same thing as consciousness. If I hit my head and suffer amnesia, I don’t lose conscious continuity. I am still a contination of the me before, I just have no memories.

No, I understand the real point you’re raising though. If a perfect duplicate could be created in an instant, and you do not experience what the duplicate does, then why would you have an experience in a perfect duplicate after you were dead? If it’s true after death then it should be true before death too, therefore the duplicate must not have continuity of the original consciousness.

The split-brain example is my answer to this. Think about it like this, somebody goes into surgery to get their hemispheres split. They are first rendered unconscious for surgery. When they wake up after surgery each of their hemispheres wake up feeling like one single consciousness, but they are not, they are now two consciousnesses with continuity of the first.

I would suggest the same thing is at play for you and your duplicate. Your duplicate is actually ‘you’. It actually does have conscious continuity of the original in the exact same way as the hemisphere example. I know there are differences between the examples, as the hemispheres were originally one while the duplicates were not. I’m not implying that the examples are identical, only the results are the same.

I think that it’s only possible for us to experience one consciousness at a time. So you can’t experience your duplicate’s consciousness while you retain your own. That’s why the split brain patient’s two hemispheres start as one consciousness until they are severed, at which it becomes possible for a second different consciousness to emerge.

 
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Originally posted by ProfessorPawn:

Consciousness is not electrical impulses, it’s not biomarkers, it’s not chemicals, it’s not matter, it’s a property that arises from the combination of these things. When there is no measurable activity in the brain, that property is simply not there. I don’t think it’s necessary to demonstrate that all functions of the brain are shut down in every way to prove the point that consciousness can be turned on and off while retaining continuity.

I do. At least in the form of ‘the system is off, and the drive is wiped and all deleted now’ which is what you are claiming happens. The conscious process ends, all system markers are reset, every trace of it is wiped clean from every part of the system and a new one built from scratch ,brand new data when the machine boots up again.

The same way as every time you turn off your computer, it deletes the OS and reformats the drive, then when you turn it on again, it asks for the CD.

This was the core drive behind your claim that any procedure that requires stopping the current functioning of the consciousness, should be made illegal, because it also kills that consciousness. Dead forever.

This is why the system markers are important. They guide the electrical impulses. Tell which dendrites to fire and when. Encode others when to look for impulses from neuron A and when to look for impulses from neuron B. Even with the electrical activity suspended, all that is still there, waiting. This is why when the conscious mind is started up again, it knows what to do. The connections are still in place, just paused.

This is why continuity is at all possible in the first place. If this was not in place, a brand new personality would emerge every time you reset the system – very little to indicate which pathways should be followed would be in place, and a brand new network would emerge.

Yes sure, you’d still get electricity following paths of least resistance, and some networks would set up following the same pathways as the dominant signal patterns of the old mind, but there would be nothing there to tell the networks how to form, to jump from neuron-dendrite 1A to 2N, to 3S to 4B and back again. Instead the pathways could jump from 1A to 3S to 5C and on to 2N. The electrical potential’s the same, without other markers present, all the ions can tell is the most used paths, not the order.

So you stop consciousness akin to pausing play on VCR/DVD. Not akin to reformatting a drive. When you press play again, it continues in its old patterns, the placement of the signals mandated by the chemical components of the system, not the electrical.

It is the same consciousness. Yes it was stopped by a while, but continuity was preserved. Preserved at a quantum level, which, unfortunately may be important. (I really, REALLY hope its not, only time will tell on that one).

The two yous would not need to remain identical to be continuations of the you at the point of divergence.

Its not about remaining identical. Rather it is about both bodies being a continuation of the same consciousness. The same mental point of reference applying to both. In other words, the exact same consciousness can use both bodies at the same time, or any combination of the two at the same time.

If it cannot (which we will both agree it cannot) then it is not the same consciousness. You have a copy, not a continuation.

This is the whole problem with the argument of using a mental clone as an afterlife. It’s not an afterlife, but just a copy of the original at the point of divergence. A true afterlife would not be a copy but a migration. The body ceasing to be but the mind continuing on. No copy made, just one consciousness throughout.

It’s doable (in theory, but as we all know the difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference – meh), but danged difficult to conceive of, even where we are in our understanding of the brain.

Until we narrow it right down, and see exactly which processes are involved in consciousness, which are not, why and how, we’re always going to have this division; our two separate, incompatible viewpoints on the process.

Yours maintains that the only route to take is to take a copy of the conscious mind and leave the original to rot, mine maintains that it should be possible to migrate the consciousness over to another substrate, in a manner which allows the originating consciousness to experience the transition from meat to whatever. Not taking a copy, moving the active original over. A true afterlife.

Until we actually pinpoint it exactly, map every connection and then play with it extensively, we’re not going to know, and I suspect our loggerheads will remain. I admit its fun to have this kind of discussion, and its nice to actually be challenged, but we’re not going to get anywhere on that key point.

There is no movement required here. Nothing flows between them. Your consciousness is a unique property, they simply have it or don’t have it. You’re using the example of memory transfer again, but memories are not the same thing as consciousness. If I hit my head and suffer amnesia, I don’t lose conscious continuity. I am still a contination of the me before, I just have no memories.

Memories do however serve as a wonderful way to illustrate the point. If there’s no connection, no data flow is taking place. Memories are a great way of illustrating the point. If the mental clone stabs herself in the hand with a screwdriver six months after the split (and yes, I have done this, was aiming at a a skirtingboard and missed. Required three stitches. Ouch) then the original is not going to experience the sensation of having her hand rammed through with a quarter-inch flat screwdriver.

Neither is she six months further down the line, going to have the memory of having done so. The memories are separate from one another just as the consciousnesses are separate. However memory is a much more concrete example to use, precisely because we have isolated thenm in the brain and we have transferred them from one individual to another, so we know what they are and how to manipulate them.

Further, if both women had the same consciousness, that consciousness would then be able to access both memories. They use the same encoding scheme in both brains, the conscious mind knows the protocols. If consciousness is shared between the bodies, it will be possible.

So the inability to retrieve a memory of an event that happened to the wrong body can be considered proof the consciousness of both bodies is not the same consciousness. They are separate entities. One per brain, with nothing in common datawise since the split.

I think that it’s only possible for us to experience one consciousness at a time.

I disagree. If it does depend on the proteins as much as I suspect it does, then two consciousnesses in the same mind should be possible. Again this is another one we will have to wait out until it is proven experimentally. Link two volunteer minds up directly at the point the higher brain functions communicate with the lower cortex and see what happens.

If you are right, their two consciousnesses will merge into a single being with two connected minds, utterly indivisible from one another. If I am right, the brain’s own internal regulating systems will keep the individual minds flowing in their pre-existing pathways, providing resistance against the two consciousnesses collapsing into a single entity.

 
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Well according to me i think our body get rotten and start mixing with the soil.then our soul goes to heaven or hell based on our good or bad deeds.

 
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The truth is no one really know what happens after death for sure. The key is to live your life to the fullest everyday. Make every day worth your valuable and somewhat short time. Whatever happens after death is completely out of our control. What is in our control is how we choose to live our lives.

 
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Modern physics is discovering more and more that everything in the universe is composed of the same stuff, and time is relative to matter. I believe that God and the universe are one, and we are a part of it. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.”

That is why we are here. We know wickedness from holiness. On a base level, sure, we’re here to eat, drink, be merry, and pass on our genes, but a lot of what we do is a constant state of resistance to our purpose, which I believe is to preserve the Earth, love one another, and be one with God in Christ.

What you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven, What you unleash on Earth will be unleashed in Heaven. – If someone says to you, the Kingdom of God is here or there, do not listen to them, for the Kingdom of God is within and all around you.

 
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In what sense do we have any legitimate reason to believe an after life exists?

 
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when i die i think i’ll just stay dead. What else can happen when you body shuts off and you’re just a corpse?

 
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Many people will say that they know, but I guess how can they? I don’t know, and I guess I don’t want to find out any time soon because to do that I would have to die first. I’d like re-incarnation to be true, because I’d like to be a cat next time around. I like to think that the fact our bodies are made out of a completely different set of cells than at birth proves the fact that consciousness is made of something else, but then, I don’t really know. All we have is hopes and theories. Maybe it is like sleep in that no tangible time passes and nothing seems to happen.