Issues of trust with a Hameroff presentation

It was suggested I could learn a lot from this talk. I’ve watched it a number of times and have made an effort to point out why I’ve come to believe Hameroff dances on both sides of the serious-science vs. pseudo-science approach to reality.

The cornerstone of serious science is fidelity to the truth, both your own and those of opposing views. Serious science is also predicated on being limited to what can be observed, measured, and the replication of experiments - and experiences.

I don’t have the time to do a perfect job with Hameroff’s quotes, they are accurate, but of course selected, and under a time & interest budget, so please refer to full context of his lecture if the quote I copied leaves you guessing.

Quantum consciousness and its nature in microtubules _ Dr. Stuart Hameroff _ YouTube.

Nov 28, 2015

2:05 Hameroff “perhaps life evolved and originated in order to access consciousness to take advantage of consciousness to feel good in some sense”


Right out the gate Hameroff mixes mystical, philosophical, religious outlooks into what’s billed a scientific investigation into consciousness.


2:15 Hameroff: “now in Western philosophy, the world out there, is all in our head.”


But we moderns know that is an ego-centric contrivance, the physical world definitely exists out there, beyond our thoughts, within our bodies and permeating all of nature. All we’re doing is perceiving, composing an impression for ourselves.


3:09 Hameroff: “this brain in a vat, I’m walking outside in the Sun, Bing (Hameroff’s shorthand for emergent conscious), and so that means the consciousness and reality may both be an illusion. Now on the other hand in Eastern philosophy consciousness pervades a deeper level of reality being is everywhere we’re like awash in a sea of consciousness and Atman from Brahman and it gets organized in such a way and we have self-consciousness and that’s a pretty solid approach”


But we moderns know, that’s an ego-centric conceit and that the physical world definitely exists out there, beyond our bodies.

Here I’m disturbed that no mention is it doesn’t acknowledge that earlier religious meditation on becoming one with the universe, was all the universe of living biosphere that surrounded our body. Becoming one with the radiance of the sun, and wind and life and the All.

Not to be confused with the sort of understanding we moderns have developed thanks to amazing observational instruments that have brought the substance of the heavenly vault into focus - like the ancients could never have ever imagined.

Beyond the sky, was a figment, it’s the living biology/conscious universe under that celestial dome that a living meditating human touches and that produces the feedback. Mother Earth.


3:39 Hameroff: “Now in modern science the brain is seen as a neuronal synaptic computer on the left we see a bunch of neurons connected by synapses and on the right we see a computer network and people have assumed for many years that the brain is a computer neurons are bits and switches or synapses or switches and furthermore”


  1. “Neuronal synaptic computer” metaphor was never a consensus view of neuroscientists to begin with!
  2. And these days it’s a view that’s been explicitly rejected in dozens of papers and articles. Don’t take my word for it

15:40 Hameroff: I read a book by Roger Penrose involving quantum physics and you might also say where’s the Bing, but also isn’t the brain just a receiver,


Here Hameroff describes the difference between “Classical localized physics” vs. “Quantum superposition nonlocal, wave-like, small.”

Thing is, scaling makes a big difference and Quantum Weirdness gets lost in the sauce of piling up bazillion atoms on the way to making actual matter.

Also worth noting is that “the observer” of physicists fame, is nothing other than encountering another particle. The story seems more drama than insight.


18:05 Hameroff: “superposition and classical environment disrupts quantum state” “multiple worlds” overlapping and despite how absurd this is, a lot of people take it serial seriously and it is untestable. But it’s popular, …”


Key concept “it is untestable.” “Popular” is no proof of validity.


19:40 Hameroff: “(quantum) choices influenced, by saying that consciousness is a process in the structure of the universe ripples in the very structure of space-time geometry, now how could particles exist in superposition in two or more places…


19:45 “Consciousness within the structure of universal space-time.”

Isn’t it time they define this “consciousness"?

Like the quantum event waiting for an observer, and the observer being another quantum particle

After all, in our physical biological realm here on this planet, “consciousness” is all about creatures “interacting” and "feedback loops.”

Then look at living creatures in the act of living, it’s all about sensing, processing, decision making, engaging action - all of it can be observed and understood through strictly physical biological processes of that particular creature.

Directed action, awareness, interaction, introspection, all that belongs to “Consciousness” and we don’t know all the details but we know enough to understand its housed and produced within a biological creatures.


23:52 Hameroff: “give a delocalized electron cloud pie resonance and we know that this type of oily like medium is where consciousness comes from and we know that because anesthetics act in these regions to reversibly erase consciousness”


It feels to me like confirmation bias and over-reach.

Also, seems to anesthesia is often describe as interrupting neural communication. Here my thought is that interrupting a process isn’t the same as being that process. I mean, one can snarl up freeway traffic with a car accident, okay, but what’s that really tell us about what the freeway is doing.


Quantum effects in the understanding of consciousness

Stuart R Hameroff, Travis J A Craddock, Jack A Tuszynski

“This paper presents a historical perspective on the development and application of quantum physics methodology beyond physics, especially in biology and in the area of consciousness studies. Quantum physics provides a conceptual framework for the structural aspects of biological systems and processes via quantum chemistry. In recent years individual biological phenomena such as photosynthesis and bird navigation have been experimentally and theoretically analyzed using quantum methods building conceptual foundations for quantum biology.

Since consciousness is attributed to human (and possibly animal) mind, quantum underpinnings of cognitive processes are a logical extension.

Several proposals, especially the Orch OR hypothesis, have been put forth in an effort to introduce a scientific basis to the theory of consciousness. …”


To me a theory of consciousness would start with defining consciousness, come down to observable fundamental. I’m not talking fun physics or math, but simply the experience of what is unfolding throughout Earth’s biosphere.

Something like, Consciousness is the inside reflection of a biological creature dealing with itself and the environment it needs to navigate. Recognizing consciousness is all about processing the observations and feedbacks from a particular moment and moving on to the next.

Quantum effects in things like photosynthesis, or various forms of animal navigation and other biological functions. That makes sense within the fabric of the world we experience.

We’ve come to learn particles and wave function collapse are part of the fabric of light and energy propagating and interacting. Happens all the time.

In hindsight it becomes kinda self-evident they would have a role in biology harnessing the sun for energy production, or birds for deciphering Earth’s magnetic field lines, or the other quantum actions being looked at by scientists. The atomic equivalent of the tire hitting the road - fantastic, but digestible and part of the background hoohum of the day to day.

On the other hand, active awareness within a dynamic environment of many creatures interacting, that’s on an entirely different level. One that requires way more systems and coordination than stamping out endless copies of sugar molecules.

Hameroff overstates and makes conclusions well beyond his evidence, and that makes me very uncomfortable.


29:05 Hameroff: Out-of-body experiences, and possibly even, afterlife as a speculative suggestion.


This is the religious/philosophical domain. It’s not science!


30:19 Hameroff: “so life apparently began in a primordial soup which was proposed in the 1920s by”


This is 2022, the primordial soup has gone by the way side, it remains relevant in some respects, but not for biological origins.

“The primordial soup theory is implausible from a physics perspective due to thermodynamics.” Nick Lane


30:42 Hameroff: “(Miller Urey) added some the right gas atmosphere a little spark for lightning which and try to recreate Earth’s primal atmosphere.”


But, no, it turned out Miller, Urey didn’t use the correct gas mix !

But then again, it still seems to have plenty to teach about chemistry,

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1700010114


33:11 Hameroff: “… sequences gave positive proto conscious or our feelings providing feedback for biological structure to optimize pleasure

“and I’m trying to challenge the dogma in evolution

to say that actually it was pleasure due to this mechanism and feelings that drove evolution not the need to promulgate genes because who would that need before I mean there’s no agency there so

I’m calling this the quantum pleasure principle and suggesting that consciousness or quantum hedonism, which do you like and get a vote later that consciousness proceeded live for simple consciousness.

Maybe proto consciousness feelings were there all along in the universe.”


On the one hand there’s something poetic there, and in fact not that removed from some of my own feelings and flights of imagination into the beyond of matter.

But this stuff belongs to the poetic religious artistic side of our imagination. It’s not about “this” world or within the purview of scientific study. Hameroff tries to have it both ways.

Occam would be rolling in his grave.


34:00 Hameroff: “so let me wrap up with one final area that is to say that if if brain microtubules resonate in megahertz to give consciousness, could mental and cognitive disorders be treated by applying megahertz vibrations to the brain.”


Then he swoops in to surprise and amaze us with transcranial magnetic stimulation. It’s like whiplash, from the quantum pleasure principle, to microtubules resonate, (what doesn’t resonate?), then transcranial magnetic stimulus shows positive results.”


Here’s another place that a little research makes plain that Hameroff massages this story a bit.


38:45 Hameroff: “they concluded that and the plaques went away because they activated the microglia probably by stimulating their microtubules … unstable in Alzheimer’s disease we think we’re stimulating microtubules which are …”


Then the pitch:

40:25 Hameroff: “so I think that’s a very promising tool it’s painless it’s safe it’s cheap so the drug companies will probably assassinate us at some point but what the heck”


This isn’t science, it’s salesmanship.



41:46 Hameroff: “and finally that resonating brain microtubules with transcranial ultrasound stimulation… “


The curious thing was that when I did a little homework, it became clear that Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Transcranial Ultrasound Stimulation, stimulate the entire tissue & cell bodies.

Stimulating microtubules in addition to all the other component of cell membranes and structures, and not enough is known, to pinpoint what TUS is specifically doing to what.

I did a little fishing and besides a few papers, I found some fascinating videos, here’s one that stands out. He does mention microtubules once in conjunction with cell wall and lipids, beyond that it was mainly transport channels and other cell components in action.

Not to dismiss microtubules, only to underscore why I see Hameroff as a biased, tainted source of solid scientific information on the topic. To me it seem proving his conjectures has become more important than dispassionately following the scientific process.

Basic Mechanisms and Physics underlying Transcranial Focused Ultrasound Stimulation.

IST Neurotech

A short 20-min lecture on the history, background, and recent progress in the development of methods and devices for non-invasively modulating brain activity using transcranial focused ultrasound (tFUS).

I’ll just respond to blocks without parsing what I believe you are misinterpreting.

[quote=“citizenschallengev4, post:1, topic:10004”]
2:05 Hameroff “perhaps life evolved and originated in order to access consciousness to take advantage of consciousness to feel good in some sense”

Right out the gate Hameroff mixes mystical, philosophical, religious outlooks into what’s billed a scientific investigation into consciousness.

Not really.
First lets establish that the term consciousness identifies an abstraction of an Idealized form of sensory acuteness, just like spheres identify idealized abstract properties of Platonic solids.

2:15 Hameroff: “now in Western philosophy, the world out there, is all in our head.”

Yes and that observation is confirmed by Anil Seth (controlled hallucinations)

But we moderns know that is an ego-centric contrivance, the physical world definitely exists out there, beyond our thoughts, within our bodies and permeating all of nature. All we’re doing is perceiving, composing an impression for ourselves.

So you are in agreement with “it’s all in our heads”, but we can be in agreement on what is real and what is just a mental approximation

3:09 Hameroff: “this brain in a vat, I’m walking outside in the Sun, Bing

(Hameroff’s shorthand for emergent conscious), and so that means the consciousness and reality may both be an illusion.

"Now on the other hand in Eastern philosophy consciousness pervades a deeper level of reality being is everywhere we’re like awash in a sea of consciousness and Atman from Brahman and it gets organized in such a way and we have self-consciousness and that’s a pretty solid approach”

We know consciousness is not physically real. It is an emergent experiential property of functions performed by the brain.

But we moderns know, that’s an ego-centric conceit and that the physical world definitely exists out there, beyond our bodies.
Yes, but our brain can only make an egocentric " best guess" of what that reality actually is.

Here I’m disturbed that no mention is it doesn’t acknowledge that earlier religious meditation on becoming one with the universe, was all the universe of living biosphere that surrounded our body.
Becoming one with the radiance of the sun, and wind and life and the All.

Yes, and while I may not be inclined to go that deep, Hameroff calls this the moment of “bing” and Penrose sees it as the quantum collapse creating a moment of “consciousness” (rather than the other way around), a moment of cognition even by inanimate objects as evidenced by reactive behaviors.

IMO, none of it is as mystical as you see it. But one thing clear, “consciousness” is an emergent property of the brain over and above the sum of its parts and as Tegmark proposes, acquires a certain form of independence , due to its physical isolation from the real world.

The brain lives vicariously through the sensory organs.

So you are saying our minds operate in a state of hallucination?
SERIOUSLY is that what you are trying to peddle here?

What consciousness are you talking about?
Me imaging the beautiful young lady that just smiled at me is dying to get alone with me?
Or
Me noticing a young lady pass me on the street, with the houses in the background?

You are expecting me to think there’s no difference between the two examples?
Because that’s what this really comes down to!

You are forgetting that reality is constantly giving us feedback.
Why do you make that is irrelevant?

Jezz, you can’t even get yourself to say Brain/Body, which would at least be acknowledging that the brain isn’t working all by itself up there inside your skull.

Great and the team with the most points wins.

How else do you think the brain is supposed to its job?
Seems to me that’s what comes from not appreciating what describing humans as “evolved biological sensing creatures.”

And the though I come away with is that you have a loose definition of the line between science and pseudo-science & wishful thinking.

That is why Seth calls it a “controlled hallucination” , because there is constant feedback.

But the brain always receives that feedback as processed by the senses.
It is always secondary information. If the senses are damaged in some way the brain does not receive accurate information but will never know the difference.
Color blind people don’t know they are color blind. They live literally in a different reality than you and I.

I have shown this before when color-blind people see colors for the first time. Most are so overwhelmed that they cry from sheer amazement of entering a new reality where grass, instead of dab gray, has many shades of green. Where red is a new experience and a red rose becomes a RED rose. Where sunset is a painted sky. We, normally sighted people, take these things for granted . To a color blind person it is entering a fantasy land. Try to imagine this revelatory experience.

You have seen a movie that starts in black and white and at some point switches to color? Can you imagine living in a black-and-white world for all your life and then having that world turn to colors?

This change is achieved by a slight adjustment of the color spectrum and separating the color bands so that the rods in the eye do not receive some of the mixed colors that the brain apparently is unable to separate.

Before (uncontrolled hallucination)
image
After (controlled hallucination)
image

and in the sunlight

There are an estimated 300 million people in the world with color vision deficiency. 1 in 12 men are color blind (8%). 1 in 200 women are color blind (0.5%).

image
DO YOU SEE THE NUMBER?

IF NOT, TRY THIS ONLINE COLOR VISION TEST!

[START NOW]

This was my result of the color test.


I can see 1 million colors according to the test
(EnChroma Color Blind Test – EnChroma)
Color Blindness I Clinton Eye Associates | Clinton, CT Optometrist

Go away with your colors.

Our perception of color can tell us about aspects of brain function, but nothing profound about consciousness, or origins.

The brain having to process data that sensing instruments pick up is simply how it is. There is no other way creatures could have evolved, it’s not so difficult to grasp. You come across like there were other options for biology.

It says 1 million is normal. So it’s really not something to brag about.

ENCHROMA COLOR BLIND TEST RESULT

NORMAL COLOR VISION

You can see up to one million distinct shades of color!

Wait, you are the one questioning the expertise of Hameroff and Seth.
I am merely trying to demonstrate my understanding of what they are talking about by showing examples.

Vision is a perfect subject for demonstrating what “controlled hallucinations” are about and that the same experience of reality is “agreement” of our sensory and neural networks results of processing environmental data.
“We create our reality from the inside out as much as from the outside in”, (Seth)

Have I not proven that the brain is an independent agent and must rely on secondary information to be able to function? Then the fault is mine.

I believe that I am in fact confirming your use of the term “mindscape” as that is how we experience reality and why each of these realities is experienced a little different from another.

When our realities are really close we call that “empathy”, the ability to relate to another’ emotional experience and response of reality.

If you think consciousness does not happen in the brain, then I disagree with you, because I can only make sense of all the available data, as a result of data being processed by the brain, yielding my unique relational experience of reality.

I also believe that the greater human biome can experience and respond to environmental pressures via cellular sensitivity but that is more of a purely unconscious physical kinetic and/or electrochemical response, rather than a conscious reponse as processed by the brain from neural data transmission.

p.s. mriana,
I was not bragging but just reporting that according to that test I do have what is considered “normal” color vision.

It is said that 1 in 10 men have some color impairment and I was curious.

That we all experience a different reality is clearly obvious from our different interpretations of how each of us experiences reality.
Set’s “controlled hallucination” is an approprpiate term if “hallucination” is not taken in a negative way, but as a “best guess” by the brain as to what is “out there”.

Here again, I’ve never questioned their expertise!!!

And don’t put those two in the same class, I haven’t heard Seth give the sort of wavy gravy just so storytelling that I heard from Hameroff!

What I say is, that is incompatible with the term “hallucination” - and that he needs to work harder to come up with a better term.

I think Seth uses that term, because of its sexiness and the way it hooks an audience. That is stage craft. I can appreciate why he does it, no one likes a dry “science” lecture, whatever my personal feelings are.
I have never doubted his expertise, or for that matter the value in his lectures.
You are mixing up apples with potatoes.

I never questioned Hameroff expertise as anesthesiologist,
my critiques relates directly to the things he said in that particular video. I’ve been very specific, if not particularly neat, I pointed out the red flags that I see.
Those are my complaints, you side stepping them and instead jumping to conclusions speaks for itself.

Beyond the little matter that proofs are for booze and mathematicians, no our brain is not an independent agent, considering that it is wired into our entire body with various feedback loops.

“Brain is an independent agent” is a philosophical and intellectual dead end.

Consciousness happens as a function of the entire body!
{The brain is the conductor of the concert, metaphorically (roughly) speaking.}

relating to the philosophical perspective

Hey I had a wonderful new personal realization about macroscopic world I’m embedded within.

Throughout my life I’ve been in situations where I had to chop wood for heat, including past eleven years. Yesterday I was dealing with a bunch of wood I harvested from around here, some old nice and dried, and other still green and not ready for burning, all mixed together in a pile after splitting. Now it was time to stack and hopefully culling the greener stuff into different pile to leave til next year. Not easy to tell by eye thought there are hints.
Plus, couple days ago, landlord was talking about a cleanup project, lots of dead cottonwood down by river and it’s time to harvest some, and moisture content becoming part of that discussion, where I mussed it would be nice having a moisture meter.
So yesterday (that discuss forgotten) I finished chopping and got to stacking trying to pay attention to moisture content, next think I know I’m bringing up the cross-section of piece of wood to my mouth and touch with lips and tongue, then another and another.
It was one of those wonderful little natural discoveries, taking the time to pay closer attention at other signs of moisture content. I basically discovered my tongue and lips make a pretty decent ball-park moisture meter.

Amazing, crazy, fantastic, and once that mental orgasm passes, it’s back to, why of course, why shouldn’t it be so?
After all, that was my lips and tongue were made for, folds within folds of harmonic complexity. My life has been full of those little discovers that add new paint strokes to the tapestry of my life’s journey.
This is what I know, even as the universe deep inside of matter fascinates me, as does the cosmos beyond our heaven vault, but I recognize that will always be a realm beyond my reach, I belong on this magnificent macroscopic Earth, among the only cornucopia of life we know of in the universe.
It’s what I know and can believe it, the rest truly are constructions wholly within our minds.

I appreciate the larger and smaller and love that people are studying it and we can learn from the fruits of their labors, but in the end I’m human, consumed by my human adventure across Earth’s stage. That’s the world I struggle to appreciate, the rest is stage setting.

1 Like

You are questioning their character.

[quote=“citizenschallengev4, post:9, topic:10004”]
Consciousness happens as a function of the entire body!
{The brain is the conductor of the concert, metaphorically (roughly) speaking.}

We are so close to agreement!

The entire body does experience stimuli in a physical sense , but the brain translates this sensory data into “thought” and “emotional” response and generates “action potentials” based on cognition and deliberation of the data.

relating to the philosophical perspective

Consciousness is an emergent property of data processing by the brain over and above the sum of its parts.
Hence Descartes’ “brain in a vat”, believing it is walking in the park.

Oh where is that experiment documented?

Or just because Descartes imagined, that makes it fact?

No, I’m questioning what was said.

I’m not questioning their “character”, I’m questioning examples of weird shit Hameroff says, stuff that’s outside the domain of science. Seth? That’s more a semantics thing. It’s not like they are climate science contrarians!

And in fact, that really only hold true for Hameroff, Seth is doing what he has to do to reach such a big audience. The use of “hallucination.” If you want say that short cuts reflect on a person’s character, then you’re again putting words into mouth. Listening to Hameroff was a more profound disappointment, but do you really have to drag character judgments into it?

I think he’s over-enthusiastic about his ideas and got carried away with that enthusiasm and confirmation bias and has lost his objectivity, otherwise he wouldn’t be mixing religion and philosophical notions into his science talk as casually as he does.


I stumbled on a related if slightly different topic, and little tit for tat.

I’m going to have to delete that in the above post, it’s stupid and I should have deleted it the moment I first types it, but was too rushed to notice it’s inanity.
I’m in no position to question their expertise!
Or stand in judgement of the quality of their work. That requires Expertise that I appreciate I don’t have. I am a consensus guy, and the standing someone has within their profession has more weight with me than my own impressions.

What I can do is listen and pay attention and notice inconsistencies and misrepresentations and things that just don’t sound right, but that definitely require homework to learn more about.

It’s a practice thing, started with hitchhiking where intelligent assessment of rides and situations, and a “second sense of smell” is a survival skill. Then later via climate science years of up close and personal with tactical frauds and liars for profit, I’ve had more practice. I can notice when people leave the rules of science, and cross over into misrepresentation and pseudo-science, and am interested in an honest assessment enough and am willing to the homework to better understand said item.

I flagged simple straight forward recognizable problems that I saw with that specific presentation. That’s it.

It is self-evident. The brain can only experience through second-hand data. Whatever that data represents the brain has no option but to make a “best guess” that the data is coded.
We have plenty examples of this skewed experience of reality in mental institutions. Just look at Trump.

[quote=“citizenschallengev4, post:12, topic:10004”]
And in fact, that really only hold true for Hameroff, Seth is doing what he has to do to reach such a big audience. The use of “hallucination.” If you want say that short cuts reflect on a person’s character, then you’re again putting words into mouth. Listening to Hameroff was a more profound disappointment, but do you really have to drag character judgments into it? [/quote] I don’t think this is designed as financial salemanship.

Can you come up with a better definition than “controlled hallucination”? I have tried and cannot think of a better analogy if you take the term as objectively neutral.

I think he’s over-enthusiastic about his ideas and got carried away with that

I have heard many discussion about universal quasi-intelligence.

And if we are to believe Tegmark and AI developers, there is a distinct possibility that there may be different forms of non-human intelligence

And that has nothing to do with a “human-invented god” or religious worship. This has to do with Logical mathematics that IMO are the “guiding equation” in universal dynamics and mechanics.

Who says apart from human intelligence there is no other possible form of quasi-intelligence in the universe? I would treat that the same way as I treat climate deniers.

This is a game of semantics -
“only experience through second-hand data”
brain has no option to make a “best guess”

Your words act as a straight jacket to your mind.

You are talking about personal passion/opinion here.
The brain in a vat, has nothing to do with reality,
you make a big deal out of “second-hand data” like what is that about?

How’s anything in the universe going to work if not through “second-hand data” -
why is saying “second-hand data” a way to dismiss physics of matter and light? Or invalidate that our observation instruments need to communicate their observations over cables and then be processed. Yeah, it sort of reminds me of the fine-tuned universe, if it weren’t that way nothing would function. Nothing would have ever happened past the germs and slime.

I’d rather focus on things I do know about and process my understanding through that macroscopic reality sense.

You’re missing the point.

Exactly, example of being trapped within some coddled mindscapes oblivious to more important poop going on outside their windows.

Man oh man have you put your finger on the problem, I mean, if you’re unable, or unwilling to see the differencse between those two, there’s no point in even continuing

[quote=“citizenschallengev4, post:15, topic:10004”]
This is a game of semantics -
“only experience through second-hand data”
brain has no option to make a “best guess”
And how does the brain know it is actually observing reality as it is for all other organisms.

Your words act as a straight jacket to your mind.

The mind’s isolation from the environment is the straight jacket that restricts all brained animals. Only direct exposure and interaction is reliable. This is why science insists on ability to repeat an experiment for same results and we cannot trust our “subjective” experiences.

You are talking about personal passion/opinion here.
The brain in a vat, has nothing to do with reality,
you make a big deal out of “second-hand data” like what is that about?

It is the informed opinion of “knowledgeable minds”. Are you saying they are hallucinating their “informed opinions”?

Descartes had it spot-on and it is demonstrably true that the brain has no direct contact with environmental reality. The brain is in “seclusion” for its own protection and only gets its information second hand.

How’s anything in the universe going to work if not through “second-hand data” - why is saying “second-hand data” a way to dismiss physics of matter and light?

Because matter and light are present in the environment and not inside the brain. The brain does not see a tree. The eyes do and send the codified data to the brain , which then compares it to stored “learned” codified data, before it can even identify what the data represents.

When I command my computer to take a picture, it advises me that my camera (sensory object) is disabled. It is blind. And so it is with the brain.
When your eyes do not work , you are blind and live your reality in the dark!

And so it is with the brain, cover your eyes, plug your ears, burn your tongue and administer local anesthetics in your hand , so that you cannot, see, hear, taste, and feel anything.

Your brain will not be able process any information and after a while will begin to hallucinate in an uncontrolled manner. This has been proven using sensory depravation chambers.

Here is an account of sensory depravation.

I used to think sensory deprivation was just a crazy torture method that no one in their right mind would opt-in for, until I stumbled upon some information recently about sensory deprivation floatation tanks.

These are water tanks big enough for one person, often set up at spas, where you can pay to float in salty water for hours, receiving almost no sensory information at all.
Sure, it seems crazy, but there are actually some alluring benefits, particularly when it’s done for short periods:
Short-term sessions of sensory deprivation are described as relaxing and conducive to meditation; however, extended or forced sensory deprivation can result in extreme anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, and depression.

Or invalidate that our observation instruments need to communicate their observations over cables and then be processed. *Yeah, it sort of reminds me of the fine-tuned universe, if it weren’t that way nothing would function.

This does not invalidate anything, it proves that sentient organisms do have senses and neurons (cables) that allow them to process environmental information. This is not a result of a fine-tuned universe, it is a result of evolved finely tuned senses in biological organisms, and speculatively, finely tuned kinetic responses to external pressures by inanimate objects

Nothing would have ever happened past the germs and slime.*

That does not follow at all. The Octopus, a descendant of slugs has 9 semi-independent brains and exhibits an incredible ability for “reasoning”.

I’d rather focus on things I do know about and process my understanding through that macroscopic reality sense.

Apparently, you do not understand that I just explained how you have processed and understand the things you know . This has nothing to do with size, it has to do with the ability to process information from sensory organs, which require neurons (cables) to send that information to your brain for feedback processing.
(check out “efferent and afferent” processes.)

Why do you reject the clear emotional responses of color blind people who are exposed to the world of colors for the first time.

You tell me to drop absolute proof that without a full set of sensory processors the brain has no idea of what it’s like to see a colored world.

Did you not hear that person ask “is this what you see all the time”. He seemed to be in his thirties and had never seen a colored world.

Can you imagine not being able hear music or vocals (Joni Mitchell) because your hearing senses are deficient?
I was a traveling musician for 7 years and I cannot imagine a world without music. Such an empty space in my mind of experiencing reality is inconceivable, unless you dwell in that reality.

The experience has nothing to do with size, the cause does. Malfunctioning microtubules in the sensory organs will deprive the brain of correct information.

The Brain in the Vat?, informed opinion?
“Knowledgeable minds” playing a centuries old head-game, that results in a conclusion that “I Think, therefore I Am” which is frankly a preposterous position - I don’t care how educated one is, the arc of Earthly Evolution created creatures, with thinking evolving into those evolving bodies as they competing with their respective environments.

What’s informed about claiming your mind is isolated in a Vat?
When that Vat is choke full of nutrition and communication channels without which the brain would die?

Christ lets get some honesty into this!
There’s nothing profound about “not having direct contact” - Earth is not a singularity, it is composed of individual entities . That’s just what it is.

What makes that recognition some alleged intellectual profundity, when it applies to everything???

The whole ‘magic’ of this Earth and biology is that it binds all of that individuality together through all sort of strands.

A group of thinkers deciding that we can reduce pressure waves, photon streams, bio molecular signals, neurons down to irrelevance -
that is a philosophical choice, not a physically justifiable one.

The camera doesn’t see the tree either. The collective you has been seduced by a mind game. Which I guess is why folks can be so loosie goosie about what’s happening within this physical realm.

Okay, cut off those connections and things die. My point exactly.

Again, making my point for me. The brain goes crazy without constant feedback.

Pray tell what does it validate?
Oh yeah that we are free to imagine ourselves as whatever we want??

How does that follow anything in my quote?
What did I say that disqualify the octopus?
(Although that last line was kinda stupid of me. Germs and slime required just as much of the right circumstance and timing as the more complicated stuff)

You are shadow boxing.

Our nervous system - a complex machine
Our nervous system is divided into two parts.
The central nervous system includes the brain and the spinal cord.
The peripheral nervous system consists of a network of neurons, which spans the organs, the muscles and the body.
The neurons in both systems work together to help us think, survive and act on the world around us.

Then don’t write them off so casually as the Brain in the Vat head-game does.
Focusing on an imaginary brain isolated from its environment is a human conceit that misses out on most of what’s happening around us.

I think it was more along the lines of “don’t elevate conjecture to proof.”
I do know that scientists are very leery of “proof”. Scientists gather evidence, and draw conclusions in the full awareness that further information will probably modify current understanding.

Bad choice, I did just fine not hearing her for years, got a dose of her the other day and I could go without ever hearing Joni again. Though I know many love her flailing vocal flourishes, not for me. But yes, hearing is precious and I’d rather endure doses of irritating music than be deft.

Not sure how size has suddenly become an issue.
…,
Oh yeah, my irritation with the obsession and focus on the tiniest elements, while side stepping what’s happened to that inanimate matter on the way up to macroscopic biology and especially living creature in a vibrant complex natural world we happen to exist within.

I’d say that’s not so much a size thing, as recognizing where my conscious life unfolds.

Sure, but don’t over simply (the way the B.in V. invites all to do) and don’t make microtubules the superstar at the expense of ignoring all the other necessary ingredients needed for the whole system to function.

When a person has Alzheimer’s, their brain changes. It has fewer healthy cells, and it gets smaller over time. Most of the time, the brain cells also form two types of flaws:

  • Neurofibrillary tangles. These are twisted fibers inside brain cells that keep nutrients and other important things from moving from one part of the cell to another
  • Beta-amyloid plaques. These are sticky clumps of proteins that build up between nerve cells instead of breaking down like they do in healthy brains.

Plaques and tangles damage the healthy brain cells around them. The damaged cells die, and the brain shrinks. These changes cause the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, such as memory loss, speech problems, confusion, and mood swings.
(webmd.com)

If folks would make a point of always say “controlled hallucination” rather than dropping the “control” part most the time, I’d probably not make as big issue out of it. (oh and I do appreciate that in this thread you’ve been careful about not dropping the “controlled”)

Although, look up “Hallucinate” and this is the sort of definition you will read:

“an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present.”

That is very different from making choices from a variety of options!

And when talking to the unwashed masses, that’s what they hear, lordie knows there’s enough garbage out their suggesting how we create the reality around us -
as if that’s the same as creating an impression of the reality we are embedded within.

To keep in mind the key term before reading too much into this article.

Short-term sessions of sensory deprivation”

No you are misrepresenting the quote.
It is not a “mind in a vat”. The “mind is in the brain”. It is the “brain in a vat”.

Disconnect you computer from electricity and what do you get? A paperweight.

Disconnect your brain from your neural network and what do you get? A 3lb lump of fatty tissue, right?

The brain is just like a freestanding computer and will execute whatever commands it receives from the “input”. If that input says “I am walking in the park”, the brain will believe it is walking in the park. You can huff and puff all you want but that’s the size of it. The brain’s “mind” always relies on “input” because it has no senses of its own. It does have memories of past input and verified data , but that was real then and may not be real now.

And if you think the human body is self-sustaining you are wrong. Without our bacterial symbionts the human part of our biome would die in a day. Bacteria keep us alive (Bassler).

Do you believe that you decide what to think? Does a color-blind person decide to see everything in gray instead of color? Your brain makes a “best guess” of the information it receives from the senses. If the senses are damaged the brain gets the wrong information and begins to make wrong guesses because it has no direct access to information but must rely on what it is being fed by the body’s senses. And seeing things as all gray is hallucinating although some things are indeed gray and the mind identifies those objects correctly.
It is like choosing a printer to use B & W instead of Color printing. Works excellent for reading documents.

Yes, it is well known that "emptying your mind " for short periods of rest can be beneficial. It is part of the meditation regimen.

If you read further then you will have seen the qualifier that ; " Short-term sessions of sensory deprivation are described as relaxing and conducive to meditation; however, extended or forced sensory deprivation can result in extreme anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, and depression.
IOW the brain begins uncontrolled hallucinations without opportunity to compare the data with sensory input from the environment .

p.s. You do understand that Seth explained his use of the qualifier “controlled” as a feedback verification process that the brain uses to identify what it receives against stored memory of similar data. If there is no “incoming” data, the brain will begin to hallucinate from memory and imagine things that do not exist in its immediate environment. That would be “uncontrolled hallucination”

Such a great question. It’s the freewill debate. The question of personal responsibility vs the environment one is born into. I listened to a David Smalley podcast today, where he said some people, not himself, but some say a religious believer will always use bad logic to defend their belief, it’s just hard wired.

Now, no matter what, true or not, it’s not a reason to stop using logic and reason. We are a long way from knowing who suffers from the inability to reflect on their worldview and who is lying. But we need to recognize there is a spectrum, and they require different approaches.