Are plants conscious?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Musika, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    There's a difference between patience and inactivity. The difference between a synapse and a microchip illustrate it nicely.
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    When a person is under anesthesia he/she becomes "unconscious". As Anil Seth explained when unconscious, time or motivation has no meaning at all. You can be unconscious 5 minutes, 5 days , or even 50 years. Does that mean during this time of unconsciousness a person ceases to be a person and just becomes a bio-chemical object? Seth seems to think so. Yet, the body continues to function subconsciously, via the automotor functions;
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Not at all. My car will take active measures to avoid accidents (braking) and can steer, accelerate and brake on its own. It will even pull out of a parking spot on its own with no one behind the wheel. It does far, far more than "present information."
    It's not so secret. Google Maps, for example, transmits data from certain cars to a database, then transmits that data back out to other cars so they can calculate routes to avoid traffic.
    It does indeed make a difference to a car. Being "totalled" causes a tremendous amount of defensive activity from the car (depending on the car.) It will start by trying its best to avoid the accident. If it can't, it will detect the impact and fire seatbelt pretensioners, fire airbags, open main contactors, shut down valves and send emergency messages to try to protect the occupants.
    What about the rules that govern the car's reactions?
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    What is the difference?
  8. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    If you want to wait for your car to display an iniative outside its programming, you will require more patience than a David Attenborough cameraman.
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    So your claim is that self-driving cars always behave exactly as programmed, and never err or make different decisions than their programmers intended? There is at least one very glaring example of how that's not true.
  10. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    So does the car do all this for your (or the manufacturer's benefit) or for its own benefit?

    Once again, cars stuck in traffic poses a problem for the car or you?
    Is there some secret language of cars that show their preferences? Some signs of benevolence? Maybe assisting other cars in preventing rust or something?
    Maybe cars like being in jams, because they prefer their own company? Or are we to assume that just because you (or someone) directed the car outside the jam, the car is but a transparent medium to your priorities and desires?

    Yes it seems to have a lot of features to protect the occupants ... but then if ...

    Because we are attached to our cars and feel grief when they get damaged (or, in the way of insurance bills, when they cause damage to other things)

    .....because ....

    it makes zero difference to a car whether it is polished on display for a hundred years or totalled five minutes after leaving the dealers

    ....that is exactly what you would expect to see.

    Unless you are talking about the rules of physics, those rules are determined by the manufacturer's legal and technical crews ... or in the absence of any ai, you and your attempt to negotiate this world of traffic lights and what not.
  11. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    They react as instructed, either directly via the driver or indirectly via programs (aka, the priorities established by another human driver)
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    It is compelled to act, without regard for possible benefits. It does what it must do in accordance to it's fundamental artifial program. Living things have had billions of years of evolution to refine their natural programming.

    Are there computer chips that will continue to function for 5000 years?
    The bristlecone pine does.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There are thousands of beings within ten meters of you, right now, that are synthesizing life - a new and heretofore non-existent living being - by synthesizing the appropriate chemicals in the appropriate arrangements.

    Very few of them are conscious in the slightest degree.
  14. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member


    Your point being?
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    They are synthesizing life by synthesizing the appropriate chemicals.
    That's how it's done.
  16. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

  17. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    If there is a whole branch of science involving the study of things that are outside of necessary laws of cause and effect, why is it so difficult to understand?

    You misunderstand.
    If you want to argue that biology is a sub branch of necessary laws of cause and effect, its you that has to do the footwork.
    I don't have to argue that biology is beyond necessary laws of cause and effect anymore than I simply have to let the results of what it can demonstrate speak for itself.
    And furthermore, I don't have to demonstrate the limits of analyzing cause and effect any more than letting the results of physics speak for itself.
    IOW, unlike you, I don't have to dumb down biology or pump up physics to maintain my position.

    I asked to explain philosophically how one would arrive at it. Not what you are going to call it when you arrive at it.
    How do you bridge the apparent (in your case) duality between bringing empiricism the senses) to consciousness? IOW the first step is understanding what the evidence fot your claim would look like.

    Well I don't have to work up a sweat redefining the disciplines, so I beg to differ.

    Can you see how you just dumbed down biology/pumped up physics or do you require me to point it out?

    Ditto here

    ...and, yet again

    So the challenge that mathematics faced – that truth cannot always be proved when you are stuck inside a system – seems to apply to the limits of what we can reason about the universe. At least in mathematics there is a way to pull yourself outside the system and look in. That new larger system will have limitations but at least we can keep stepping outside. The trouble with our universe and our heads is that we are stuck. It may be possible that there is no way for us to truly step outside to look in and to know.

    The problem of bringing one's tongue to one's elbow, is not likely to be solved by time, is it?
    I am just going by yout insistance that issues of choice are encapsulated by necessary laws of cause and effect.

    I am happy enough to let biology be biology and physics be physics. If you want to talk about how necessary laws apply, you have to demonstrate it.


    I was recapping your position, not mine. I was highlighting how absurd it is. Your basis is begging the question. Basically you are saying that even it is discovered that you are wrong, its because we haven't had enough time to work out you are right (even though there is the philosophical suggestion you may never me right).

    How on flat earth would you falsify that position? "If we discover an anomaly between behaviour and understandings of necessary cause snd effect, it's because we don't have a proper understanding of cause and effect".

    .... meanwhile, life goes on.
  18. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Question begging, I'm afraid.
    You have to show that even one branch is the study of things that are outside of necessary laws of cause and effect.
    Please do so.
    Utter garbage.
    Find just one biologist that thinks the individual molecules and atoms go against the same underlying laws of cause and effect that apply to chemists and physicists.
    Yes you do!
    You are arguing that the same underlying law of cause and effect does not apply to matter.
    That goes against everything that is understood by science.
    No, you just have to stop speaking garbage, and actually present an argument.
    Then read up on it.
    You can beg all you want, but the fact there are different disciplines does not prove your point or even provide an even remotely convincing argument.
    In fact it is no argument at all.
    That much is self-evident to me.
    There is no dumbing down or pumping up.
    There is simply an acceptance that the same laws apply irrespective of discipline.
    Some of them, however, look at individual atoms where that law can be observed in action.
    Some operate at a far more complex level where the action of the law is obscured.
    Thus other notions need to be brought into play to help us understand it, notions that only have meaning at the higher level of complexity.
    Thus is the nature of emergent properties.
    Maybe you should pay heed to this, then, rather than making the unproven claims that biology allows us to step outside of the underlying laws of cause and effect.
    Just one example, please?
    I've asked you many times now for one but still nothing is forthcoming.
    All you have put forth is that biology and physics are different disciplines.
    You keep trying and let me know.
    My view is that they are encapsulated by the laws of cause and effect, necessary or otherwise.
    Cause and effect is lost at the complexity of even weather systems - where the cause and effect that apply to each and every part of the system makes the output chaotic and apparently indeterminate.
    Consciousness only allows us to be aware of fairly gross "causes", and thus the "effects" are also fairly gross, but at the underlying level everything follows the same laws.
    No, I don't.
    You are the one claiming that the laws of physics (which obey the laws of cause and effect) do not apply to biology.
    And all you have put forth so far is that physics and biology are different disciplines.
    Seriously, you're going to have to do better than that.
    The same could be said of your entire position.
    Then you didn't do a good enough job of it to make it identifiable.
    No, that is not my position.
    Care to try again?
    Find something that doesn't operate according to the underlying laws.
    Find something where, due to the complexity of the interactions, those underlying interactions no longer obey the laws they do at simpler levels.
    If you're going to make up a quote, please do so with one that actually bears a resemblance to at least the principles of what has been said.
    Indeed it does.
  19. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

    If you want to demand that biology isn't, the dance floor is yours, I'm afraid.

    What would be the purpose of finding such a biologist?
    Oh, that's right! Because the necessary interactions between molecules and atoms encapsulate all so-called choices living entities make. For a second there I forgot you were dumbing down biology and pumping up physics for the sake of begging the question.
    .... as you were.

    You are arguing that everything displays the same (lack of) behaviour as "matter". Is it my fault current understandings of reality are not up to speed with your conclusions?

    On the contrary, you are requiring us to ignore certain observations in science for the sake of housing your understanding.

    If you think choice as observed in biology defaults to either a necessary transgression of physics or encapsulation within (the necessary cause and effects of) physics, you are stuck in a false dichotomy.

    If it is shown to already exist outside of current understandings of necessary cause and effect, so what further research do you have in mind (aside from begging the question by saying even unnecessary observations are just necessary ones we haven't figured out yet)?
    If you have a notion of bringing it within an understanding of necessary cause and effect it might be worthwhile to read the article.
    Something about trying to see what you are seeing with is problematic.

    Why "otherwise?"

    Does that loss of predictability arise from our current lack of ability to assimilate and interpret data, or is there something inherently chaotic about weather patterns that take them outside of necessary laws, period?

    Gross causes?

    How is that possible if you insist on access to the backdoor of "if it doesn't appear necessary, its because the minute conditions of cause and effect are not revealed to current understandings"?

    You may think I am trolling you, but its a genuine question.

    And you don't have that with the study of life ? .... or is this yet another moment to bring in the back door clause?
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

    For all three. Surely avoiding a crash is to the benefit of both owner and car, and indirectly benefits the manufacturer (better reputation for their cars.)
    For both. Car has a greater risk of damage and sees lower efficiency in stop and go traffic. The catalytic converter (if so equipped) runs cooler and allows water to condense in the tailpipe, leading to faster corrosion.
    Again, not so secret; the protocol is well known.
    See above.
    . . . and by the car's experiences. So the programming they get initially determines their initial behavior, and that behavior evolves with time. Sort of like people.
    So you claim that someone instructed the Uber vehicle to strike a pedestrian? I didn't know that! I guess someone is going to jail for first degree murder.
  21. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    I'm saying there isn't any evidence that biology isn't.
    You are merely asserting that it isn't.
    Are you going to offer anything other than biology and physics being different disciplines?
    Or are you just here to yet again waste people's time?
    For one it would help support your case for which there is no evidence.
    Is this an argument from incredulity I see before me?
    No I'm not.
    I have not stated that, argued it, implied it.
    It is certainly your fault if you draw erroneous conclusions to what has been stated.
    Such as?
    You have yet to provide anything!
    All you have done is claim biology and physics are different disciplines.
    For the last time: provide an example, detail one of these observations in science that go against the fundamental laws of cause and effect.
    Either the laws of physics are transgressed or they are not.
    It really is a binary matter.

    Further you are now changing your argument:

    Me: And you can show that "choice" is to against the necessary laws of cause and effect?
    You: The division of biology from chemistry and/or physics (as opposed to being a sub branch of such things) shows it nicely.

    Thus you are the one that has said choice is to go against the necessary laws of cause and effect.
    Are you now arguing that this would not be a transgression of physics.
    Care to explain how?
    You have thus far offered nothing.
    Again - provide an example.
    You have written oh so much yet offered precious little.
    Again, you are the one claiming it is something different.
    Burden is on you, if you're here to do anything other than waste people's time, that is.
    There are more ways to view the nature of the underlying laws.
    Whatever they are, there is zero evidence that they differ from physics to chemistry to biology.
    Or maybe you have some but just can't be bothered to post anything other than your trite responses?
    Why would you think chaos takes something outside of necessary laws???
    Chaos is merely the sensitivity of the output to the state of the inputs.
    Gross, as in large scale - where I argue that the complexity of the stated cause already obscures the fundamentals at work.
    Macro rather than micro.
    Then you are stuck with a unfalsifiable claim that "choice" is to go against the necessary laws of cause and effect.
    Just provide an example of where you think it occurs.
    If you think you do have it with the study of life, provide an example.
    Remember, you are making the claim.
    The default position (although no doubt you will disagree with that as well) is surely that the same fundamental laws apply at all levels of complexity.
    Why would atoms and molecules act differently when in a system at one level of complexity compared to how they act when in a system at another level of complexity?
    Can you answer that, why the consistency of the laws should not be the default position?
    If not, then you are making the claim, an unfalsifiable claim - due to the inability to see what is actually going on at the required level of detail - but unfalsifiable nonetheless.

    Now, we can ignore the fundamental laws of cause and effect when we talk about choice, and only talk about "causes" and "effects" that we are consciously aware of, and the conscious appearance of those causes and effects acting as you claim, but that is an entirely different matter to the one you are arguing.
  22. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    But you haven't explained the difference. A microchip can be programmed to produce constant activity, and can be arranged in a neural network.
  23. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Right now we want cars to behave predictably, but a different kind of programming could produce unpredictable behavior. Humans are programmed in a sense by culture and personal experience. I see no theoretical reason artificial intelligence couldn't do the same. My premise is that the human brain is a physical machine, and differs only from other computational processes only in it's complexity.

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