Michael Shermer: Often wrong

  • #26
somasimple
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Hi,

Vast said:
My point is that we know that neurons transmit information with neighboring neurons only
That's true but we don't know what kind of information. :biggrin:
 
  • #27
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somasimple said:
but we don't know what kind of information. :biggrin:
which is irrelevant because we’re talking about a mechanism by which neurons can transmit to other neurons in other peoples brains, understand?
 
  • #28
somasimple
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Irrelevant, not sure!

Vast,

it seems that your proposal is illogical.

If we do not know the functionning of a subsystem (how a neuron is sending information to its following?) thus the understanding of brains (neurons population/networks) speaking directly to other brains becomes not solvable.

if a complex system functions with components/sub-systems that you do not understand, you have no chance to understand the whole story! Right?
 
  • #29
SGT
Ivan Seeking said:
You obviously didn't read the posts. It helps to do that first. I already said that if it exists, psychic abilities are not easily controlled or available upon demand. ,
If psychic abilities didn't infringe known laws of nature, I could agree with you. But telepathy is independent of distance, while gravity, electromagnetism and the nuclear interactions are all distance dependent. So, you must assume an effect still unknown by science to accept its possibility.
Clairvoyance infringe the principle of causality. To see events in the future implies in backwards time travel of information.
Psychokinesis infringes the Law of Conservation of Energy. Work is done without expenditure of energy.
I can only believe our present knowledge of physics is wrong if some controlled experiment shows it. Anecdotes will not change my mind,
 
  • #30
somasimple
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I agree,

Psychic skills are often reflexions of intuition and innate knowledge of human behaviour. It remains in the court of known Sciences.
 
  • #31
SGT
somasimple said:
Vast,

it seems that your proposal is illogical.

If we do not know the functionning of a subsystem (how a neuron is sending information to its following?) thus the understanding of brains (neurons population/networks) speaking directly to other brains becomes not solvable.

if a complex system functions with components/sub-systems that you do not understand, you have no chance to understand the whole story! Right?
What do you mean by not knowing the functioning of a subsystem? We know that neurons send information to their neighbors by chemical reactions. Can you envisage a means for a chemical reaction to process at distance?
 
  • #32
somasimple
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SGT said:
We know that neurons send information to their neighbors by chemical reactions.
Yes, it is true, neurons uses neurotransmitters but we do not know the rules used with them. BTW, there is neurons connected with gap junctions which are certainly speaking another language :rolleyes:
SGT said:
Can you envisage a means for a chemical reaction to process at distance?
yes, pheromons. (just kiddin') :wink: And also body postures, facial expression... There is many non verbal communication between people.
 
  • #33
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somasimple said:
If we do not know the functionning of a subsystem (how a neuron is sending information to its following?) thus the understanding of brains (neurons population/networks) speaking directly to other brains becomes not solvable.
The understanding of the brain is known quite well to a certain extent. In context to the discussion, neurons send signals to one another using electrical impulses which can be seen using an electroencephalogram (EEG)

The EEG can record patterns of electrical activity which correspond to different states such as sleep, eye movement etc. But an EEG has a poor spatial resolution because electrodes are placed on the head, generally about forty or so. Thus activity in the brain is reduced to about an inch or across.

A Positron emission tomography (PET) is a more precise technique, a person is injected with a radioactive chemical that travels through the bloodstream and into the brain. When a neuron sends a signal to another neuron, it causes blood to flow to different parts of the brain, this is then imaged which can produce a three dimensional model of the brain. A PET scan has a resolution of about 1 cm across.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) on the other hand is a much better technique for looking at what’s happening in the brain. It can pinpoint activity to an area of about 2mm. It can be used to see which parts of the brain are active when we recall a memory, or recognizing a face for example.

somasimple said:
yes, pheromons. (just kiddin') :wink: And also body postures, facial expression... There is many non verbal communication between people.
Verbal communication is not the only communication remember. One of the other senses is sight, and unfortunately body language and facial expression require a person to see such expression.
 
  • #34
somasimple
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Well Vast,

I may say that neuron is one of my old horses... :biggrin:

The understanding of the brain is known quite well to a certain extent.
No, the activity of brain is well seen but remains quite unknown.

neurons send signals to one another using electrical impulses which can be seen using an electroencephalogram (EEG)
No, neurons use ionic solitons that may seen as electrical spikes by electrical units (inappropriate apparatuses) but messages remain ionic flows which are not decyphered. EEG sees compound messages that do not relate if they are activating or inhibitions... EEG do not see neurotransmitters.

Thus activity in the brain is reduced to about an inch or across.
Ditto, activity is not information neither understanding just observations.

PET has the same limitations and fMRI too, you see neurons that are working but that's all.

BTW, a cube of 2 mm side contains... millions neurons :wink:

At last, a colored image shows an area that is working but I can't take my colours and translate them to a comprehensive human thing.
 
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  • #35
SGT
somasimple said:
Yes, it is true, neurons uses neurotransmitters but we do not know the rules used with them. BTW, there is neurons connected with gap junctions which are certainly speaking another language :rolleyes:
We do not know the rules, but we can be quite sure that neurons can't propagate information at a distance. The gap between two firing neurons is quite small.
yes, pheromons. (just kiddin') :wink: And also body postures, facial expression... There is many non verbal communication between people.
I am glad you are kidding. Pheromones can communicate very basic informations like: Get out of my territory! or I want to mate with you! or You can find food this way. , but nothing complex. Anyway the recipient of the information must have physical contact with the molecules of the pheromone.
Body and facial language can be used for transmitting information. Animals are very good at it. Most of the anecdotes of human-animal telepathy can be explained by body language. The most famous case was the horse named Clever Hans, who could read imperceptible clues transmitted by his owner.
In an ancient episode of the Simpsons, little Maggie was considered a genius because she could read clues given unknowingly by her sister Lisa. But, as Vast said, there must exist visual contact between receiver and sender to make body language work.
 
  • #36
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Now you say:
somasimple said:
but messages remain ionic flows which are not decyphered.
Aren’t those signals binary? Meaning that the signal either fires or it doesn’t? And each time it fires, the signal is the same size? Information gets encoded at the frequency at which the signal is sent. In other words what do you mean by not deciphered?

somasimple said:
PET has the same limitations and fMRI too, you see neurons that are working but that's all.
So what’s the problem, we see neurons interacting and sending signals to one another.

somasimple said:
At lest, a colored image shows an area that works but I can't take my colours and translate them to a comprehensive human thing.
Can’t you? I take it you mean that you can’t translate those patterns into thoughts, or brain functions, or movements. That’s not what I’ve read.

Anyway, it is indeed an interesting subject, but we’ve probably strayed off topic. Thanks SGT for the reminder, we still need to find a mechanism to propagate signals at a distance, and until someone mentions something, I don’t see telepathy being possible.
 
  • #37
somasimple
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SGT,

I didn't say anyway that I agree with telepathy.

I just wrote that if telepathy existed (that's against the physics principles = absurd hypothesis) thus discarding the understanding of the sub-systems' functioning that could compose this complex systemic skill will be a huge/definite barrier to a logical/scientific explanation of it.
 
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  • #38
somasimple
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Vast,

Aren’t those signals binary? Meaning that the signal either fires or it doesn’t? And each time it fires, the signal is the same size? Information gets encoded at the frequency at which the signal is sent.
Binary, just no. Some neurons send their information in a kind of binary thing but sommations may occur, inhibition (subtractions) too. then there is another coding than simple binary one. Once the message is sent and compounded, it is translated with neurotransmitters. the neuron is able to make 20000 different neurotransmitters/peptides. The involved quantities give few change to understand the message sent.

That’s not what I’ve read.
:surprised
 
  • #39
SGT
somasimple said:
SGT,

I didn't say anyway that I agree with telepathy.

I just wrote that if telepathy existed (that's against the physics principles = absurd hypothesis) thus discarding the understanding of the sub-systems' functioning that could compose this complex systemic skill will be a huge/definite barrier to a logical/scientific explanation of it.
I realized from the beginning that you probably didn't believe in telepathy and were playing the Devil's advocate. But if nobody challenged your ideas we would have lost a lot of interesting informations.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think neural information is not binary. It seems that it is not only the fact that a neuron is firing, but the intensity of the stimulus is also important. Computer neural networks use analog information (binary coded, but still analog) in training and in finding information.
I know that a computer algorithm is not a good example of a living system, but the people that developed the theory tried to mimic the functioning of the human brain, even if we don't know exactly how it works.
 
  • #40
somasimple
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SGT said:
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think neural information is not binary.
Frequency, patterns, duration are certainly playing a role while coding information.

We know (well) 80 neurotransmitters,
take the previous info (quite binary message)
Multiply it by some quantity of some 80 chemical
Add the ability to change the quantity (and thus sensitivity) of ions channels

And you get a final mess!

Call it brain!

ps:
I know that a computer algorithm is not a good example of a living system,
Nature created its computer in some hundred millions years, Bill will have some decades for improving Windows.
 
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  • #41
Ivan Seeking
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Questions of the mind are not so simple to answer as some would have us believe.

Spin-Mediated Consciousness Theory: Possible Roles of Oxygen Unpaired Electronic Spins and Neural Membrane Nuclear Spin Ensemble in Memory and Consciousness

A novel theory of consciousness is proposed in this paper. We postulate that consciousness is connected to quantum mechanical spin since said spin is embedded in the microscopic structure of spacetime and may be more fundamental than spacetime itself. Thus, we theorize that consciousness is connected with the fabric of spacetime through spin.[continued]
http://arxiv.org/ftp/quant-ph/papers/0208/0208068.pdf

For many more papers from the real experts see esp posts 10, 11, and 12 in the credible anomalies napster
 
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  • #42
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Ivan Seeking said:
Well, I see this as nitpicking since it was the point of the study to determine the truth about what people believe.
To replace the word claim with the word testimony creates the false impression the belief is very deep and certain: strong enough to "testify" about. To merely "claim" you believe you've had a psychic experience is indication of a much more casual thing. If someone asked me if I'd ever had a psychic experience, I could easily say I think I probably have. I would never, however, present them to anyone on the level of testimony that psychic phenomena exist.

You can't jump from "claim" to "testimony" in describing the results of this poll without falsly coloring the implied depth of the belief from the original statement of it. To switch from saying 200 million peope have "claimed" they had a psychic experience, to characterizing them as having "testified" to it, is an obvious overstatement of what the polls imply, intended to make the skeptics look more foolish for having dismissed what all these people have "testified" to. The original statement about the number of people who believe it contains no such information about the depth or casualness of their belief.
Strictly speaking, no doubt about it, the number of claims does not increase the chances that the beliefs are true, however it establishes as fact the most people believe that it's true.
Yes.
So one implication is that in fact psychic events are common.
No. You've made a big jump here. The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that what are assumed to be psychic events are common.
And no one is in position to say that everyone is wrong here, so the demand on science is of a social and not statistical nature. Science has a responsiblity to listen. There may not be much to be done, but denial based on personal bias is certainly not an option.
I agree with this, but not with the implication that there's all this denial based on personal bias going around. So many things reported to be psychic experiences have been proven to be hoaxes, scams, and misperceptions of coincidence that it is irresponsible not to encourage people to think more critically, and look first for ordinary explanations. The corner Psychic And Spritual Advisor and Tarot Card Reader and Palm Reader continue to scam gullible people all the time.

That is another issue all together. I agree completely that the scam artists are well targeted by the debunkers, but 2/3 of the country are not scam artists, yet the skeptics almost always fail to make this distinction. we are not talking about Cleo here, we are talking about your family, friends, and neighbors.
Who got all their priming from the scam artists, and popular culture: movies like Ghost, and the works of Stephen King, and TV mediums who make a good living at it, and so on. It's very persuasive to see one of these guys put a middle aged woman into tears by telling her her dead son is standing by her side right now and wants her to know he forgives her for everything, and she only needs to forgive herself. That's some fantastic and powerful theater! And it's no wonder my friends, family, and neighbors are moved to belief. No, all these people aren't scam artists, they are the victims of the scam artists: After watching John Edwards everyday for a year, Aunt Judy decides her vase was moved by the spirit of Uncle Joe trying to make contact with her, and Cousin Edith "realizes" that the hangup call she got the day her Dad died was an "alert" from the other side. And so, when polled as to whether they've ever had a psychic experience, of course they say "Yes."
edit: These beliefs have been around a lot longer than Cleo.
Yes, I mentioned that the scams have been around since anient times: witness the ambiguous riddle-prophecies of the Greek and Roman Oracles.
 
  • #43
Ivan Seeking
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I'll be back when I can; too much work to do right now.
 
  • #44
SGT
Ivan Seeking said:
Questions of the mind are not so simple to answer as some would have us believe.


http://arxiv.org/ftp/quant-ph/papers/0208/0208068.pdf

For many more papers from the real experts see esp posts 10, 11, and 12 in the credible anomalies napster
I am not a biologist, but some affirmations in the paper seem a little exaggerated:
One of the most immediate purposes of our respiratory and circulatory systems is to deliver oxygen to the brain [19].
I think the purpose of those systems is to deliver oxygen to all cells in the body, from the brain to the bowels.
Therefore, we strongly believe that Nature have utilized quantum mechanical spin in constructing a conscious biological mind.
If the spin theory is true, it is true for all living matter, from humans to bacteria. Do bacteria contribute to the universal mind?

The postulates presented belong to the field of metaphysics, not of science. Empirical science uses observations, not postulates.
Several experimentally testable predictions can be drawn according to the theory of consciousness proposed herein:
(1) Any agent or mean that significantly perturbs or interferes with the oxygen
pathway inside the neural membranes will diminish or block consciousness;
(2) Any agent or mean that significantly perturbs the structure or dynamics of the
neural membranes will alter or disrupt the normal functions of consciousness;
(3) Any agent or mean that significantly interferes with the dynamics of the proton nuclear spin ensemble will interfere with the conscious functions of the brain;
(4) Any mean that significantly replaces hydrogen atoms of the neural membranes with those with zero nuclear spin such as deuterium will interferes with or totally block the conscious functions of the brain; and
(5) Any mean that stops oxygen flow through neural membranes will disrupt
conscious functions of the brain even if everything else in the brain functions
normally.
Even if (1), (2) and (5) are observed, this does not mean that the spin theory of consciousness is true.
 
  • #45
somasimple
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:rofl: :rofl:

One of the most immediate purposes of our respiratory and circulatory systems is to deliver oxygen to the brain [19].
Yes, it is true. Brain consumes around 1/3 blood supply and oxygen delivered.
But I can't conclude in the way of the paper. The only conclusion is already known! Neurons die in 3/5 minutes without blood supply and oxygen. A skin cell may continue to live without oxygen more than 1/2 hour. It is metabolism question.

Therefore, we strongly believe that Nature have utilized quantum mechanical spin in constructing a conscious biological mind.
Nature isn't a living entity. Nature ignores Mathematics and Physics. Nature solves elegantly the problems with any of our axiom.

If tomorrow we theorize another physics law, automatically Nature will follow our dictatorship. :biggrin:

A the beginning of the 20th century some determinists scientists thought that movements of atoms were pre-determined. And some philosophers thought that free will do not exist. With quantum physics, we do not know!
 
  • #46
Ivan Seeking
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Bump

I will be back...only time for quicky posts right now.
 

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