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Forget the chicken and it's egg

  1. Dec 22, 2005 #1
    what came first? organisms or consciousness?

    this argument is a little different than the "chicken or the egg" bit...
    we get around the "chicken or the egg" by recognizing evolution.

    but, let's go back a little farther...

    is consciousness a characterisitc of organisms? or are organisms a characteristics of consciousness?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2005 #2


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    Attributing consciousness to lower organisms (let's define premammal to be lower) tends to rob the word of its usual meaning. If a bee is conscious then so, in my opinion, is a thermostat.
  4. Dec 22, 2005 #3
    Neither, Existence came first. A non-existent organism or consciousness as a first cause-effect is a condradiction of terms. Before a thing can be a prime cause, it first must exist. The Primacy of Existence is an axiom upon which all further thinking (philosophy) must be developed.
  5. Dec 22, 2005 #4


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    Interesting question. Is there anything to suggest they didn't evolve equally along parallel paths? In other words, organisms evolved and thus the increase in consciousness was equal to the increase in complexity of the organism.
  6. Dec 22, 2005 #5
    Consciousness evolves much as life itself; in stages of complexity. If we describe consciousness as awareness then this implies sensory organs and perception, (something to be aware of and something to be aware with), therefore such organisms must evolve before consciousness can take place.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2005
  7. Dec 22, 2005 #6


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    I'm a bit confused by the apparent simplicity of the question.

    Does anyone believe that worms or plants or fungi or diatoms or bacteria are conscious?

    How can anyone seriously wonder if consciousness came before organisms?
  8. Dec 22, 2005 #7
    I believe this must result from a failure to recognize the meaning and nature of consciousness, possibly from a desire to escape the responsibility that arises from a consciousness which is accompanied by reason and choice.
  9. Dec 23, 2005 #8

    what is consciousness, if not the response, of an entity, to its environment, founded in the awareness of said environment, by said entity?

    -responsive awareness...

    Q_Goest, you are the closest, and most probably correct. we see it most clearly.

    consciousness does not mean individual self-consciousness. if i am conscious, then my cat is conscious, and a bee is conscious, in similar fashion. it is, perhaps, impossible to say, which came first, as they are, perhaps, mutually arising.

    get out (over) yourselves, ego-centric humans.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2005
  10. Dec 23, 2005 #9
    People have a hard time imagining non-existence. This in itself is amusing to me
  11. Dec 23, 2005 #10
    I agree, but according to this statement, is all life conscious(as having responsive awareness)?

    Personally i think the radio analogy is a good one: that consciousness is not produced by the brain, but received by it. Just like a radio receives radiowaves. So I think consciousness came first.
  12. Dec 23, 2005 #11
    good point, pit2.

    what's our defintion of "organism"? we must find the essence of what it means to be defined an organism.
  13. Dec 23, 2005 #12


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    An attitude like this will certainly not be conducive to productive discussion.
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