Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

User avatar
Hobbes' Choice
Posts: 8363
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:45 am

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:13 pm

Greta wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:As for colonising a galaxy, or even a tiny little corner of a galaxy, it might be best to leave this idea to the science fiction writers for the time being. Whilst such a thing is neither impossible nor unimaginable, in principle, it would require a civilisation which thinks in a totally different time-frame from ours. We seem to have enough trouble making decisions whose effects will bear no fruit for a decade or two, let alone launch missions which will achieve no tangible outcome for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of years.

I'm not actually even suggesting that homo sapiens couldn't ultimately evolve into a civilisation capable of thinking along such extended temporal scales but I'd suggest that we've probably got a few more pressing issues to get sorted out first.
It would be easier to replace our body parts than to colonise our galactic neighbourhood. Personally, I expect that the first sign of intelligence we will encounter will be AI drones. Sending human explorers is obviously not practicable at interstellar scales.

Whatever, I don't think ET will arrive on our doorstep. If they are intelligent they would not risk catastrophic bacterial cross infections unless they had solved that problem (which I guess is potentially conceivable for very advanced civilisations).
it's pretty obvious, given the complexity of the microbial world, that any given alien biome would be catastrophically dangerous to any other if it were of the same type. If not it would be so alien as to be capable of offering no sustenance to the other.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Feb 17, 2016 8:22 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
it's pretty obvious, given the complexity of the microbial world, that any given alien biome would be catastrophically dangerous to any other if it were of the same type. If not it would be so alien as to be capable of offering no sustenance to the other.
This is pretty much the doctrinal position of evolutionary biology and in a sense it even applies to our own biosphere, which must be seen as evolving as single holistic entity. For instance, as a thought experiment, if you took a homo erectus individual out of his biosphere of a million years ago and relocated him in the biosphere of today he'd be dead in no time, and vice versa. We couldn't just go and live in his biological world either and expect to survive. We tend to think of ourselves as individuals or species evolving within a biological medium but this is very narrow and wrong-headed way to think about this. The individual is an entire ecosystem embedded within a hierarchy of ecosystems which are all evolving together.

In fact we couldn't go and colonise another world, be it a planet or an artificial habitat, without establishing an appropriate biosphere on it first, and from a technological point of view we're a hell of a long way away from knowing how to do that. A permanent Mars colony is an SF myth for this very reason. A human is a composite organism made up of tens of thousands of different species, each of which is evolving within the broader planetary biosphere. Once removed from this broader biosphere the evolutionary trajectory of these symbiotic species which encode for homo is utterly unknowable but it is virtually a certainty that the prognosis won't be good for the composite entity.

You can take the boy out of the biosphere but you can't take the biosphere out of the boy.

User avatar
UniversalAlien
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:27 am
Contact:

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by UniversalAlien » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:35 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:
In fact we couldn't go and colonise another world, be it a planet or an artificial habitat, without establishing an appropriate biosphere on it first, and from a technological point of view we're a hell of a long way away from knowing how to do that. A permanent Mars colony is an SF myth for this very reason. A human is a composite organism made up of tens of thousands of different species, each of which is evolving within the broader planetary biosphere. Once removed from this broader biosphere the evolutionary trajectory of these symbiotic species which encode for homo is utterly unknowable but it is virtually a certainty that the prognosis won't be good for the composite entity.

You can take the boy out of the biosphere but you can't take the biosphere out of the boy.
Man will never be satisfied with one little planet in a giant cosmos and the facts of science may only be a temporary limitation.
Tell these people they can't do it..........

The Next Giant Leap For Mankind

Human Settlement on Mars


Mars One is a not for profit foundation with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. To prepare for this settlement the first unmanned mission is scheduled to depart in 2020. Crews will depart for their one-way journey to Mars starting in 2026; subsequent crews will depart every 26 months after the initial crew has left for Mars. Mars One is a global initiative aiming to make this everyone's mission to Mars, including yours. Join Mars One’s efforts to enable the next giant leap for mankind.

Permanent Settlement

The most complex, expensive, and risky part of a mission to Mars is the return trip. It requires developing bigger rockets that need a larger landing systems and launch capability on Mars. Permanent settlement is not easy but it is far less complex and requires much less infrastructure sent to Mars than return missions. Mars One has already started contracting established aerospace companies to work on the required systems. All systems require design, construction, and testing, but no scientific breakthroughs are required to send humans to Mars and to sustain life there.

Mission Design

A habitable settlement will await the first crew before they depart Earth. The hardware needed will be sent to Mars in the years ahead of the humans. This unmanned mission is currently scheduled for 2024.

Astronaut Selection and Preparation

The global search has begun for the first humans to set foot on Mars and make it their home. In an extensive training period, candidates will learn the skills they will need on Mars and on their journey there. The combined skill set of each astronaut team member will cover a very wide range of disciplines.

In 1000 years, everyone on Earth will still remember who the first humans on Mars were. More than 200,000 men and women from around the world responded to the first call for astronauts.

See whole article here:
http://www.mars-one.com/







"SCIENCEFICTIONALISM the Religion of the FUTURE"
http://universalspacealienpeoplesassoci ... uture.html
Last edited by UniversalAlien on Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dalek Prime
Posts: 4923
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:48 am
Location: Living in a tree with Polly.

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Dalek Prime » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:37 pm

UniversalAlien wrote:Given another planet{s} with similar conditions as Earth, does anyone know what the odds would be of life similar to the biological life on this planet of actually happening :?:
Assuming an iceball with amino acids did impact the earth ages ago, it must have come from somewhere, and landed on other places, though it was just lucky that it landed on a planet that could support it at all. How likely is that? And where did it come from?

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:01 pm

Dalek Prime wrote:UniversalAlien wrote:
Given another planet{s} with similar conditions as Earth, does anyone know what the odds would be of life similar to the biological life on this planet of actually happening :?:
It rather depends what you mean by similar. If you mean similar in the sense that such life would be carbon based then most biologists would regard this as a certainty, because of all the atoms in the periodic table only carbon has the properties needed to spontaneously engage in the complex chemistry needed for life. However that's about as far as the similarity would be likely to go. There is no valid reason to suppose that such a chemistry would lead to life forms remotely like anything which we are familiar with. It's even more than possible that a distant planet or moon could have a healthy and complex carbon-based biosphere which we would be utterly unable to detect from afar, even with a technology which is yet to be invented. We can only detect what we can imagine to be possible but there could well be forms of life in the cosmos which have an organisational structure utterly beyond our most speculative imagination.

User avatar
UniversalAlien
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:27 am
Contact:

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by UniversalAlien » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:03 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:No biologist in his right mind would ever suggest that life evolves by random chance. Molecular evolution is a mature science with a rigorous methodology and the general principles of how life emerges from non-life have have been well understood since Ilya Prigogine's work into molecular dissipative structures. There are probably a gazillion different mechanisms by which this could occur and the particular mechanism which ultimately gave rise to our planetary biosphere will almost certainly never be known.
The End of Certainty[edit]
In his 1996 book, La Fin des certitudes, co-authored by Isabelle Stengers and published in English in 1997 as The End of Certainty: time, chaos, and the new laws of nature, Prigogine contends that determinism is no longer a viable scientific belief. "The more we know about our universe, the more difficult it becomes to believe in determinism." This is a major departure from the approach of Newton, Einstein and Schrödinger, all of whom expressed their theories in terms of deterministic equations. According to Prigogine, determinism loses its explanatory power in the face of irreversibility and instability.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Prigogine

Still this does not answer the simple question: What are the odds of biological {or other forms} of life actually occurring in the known universe :?: Common, scarce, rare, or one of a kind ?

Seems to me that until we have found a life form existent that can be proven to come from somewhere other than Earth,
for all we know we may be the only existent life form in the universe. Scary thought !

Dalek Prime
Posts: 4923
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 4:48 am
Location: Living in a tree with Polly.

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Dalek Prime » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:23 pm

UniversalAlien wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:No biologist in his right mind would ever suggest that life evolves by random chance. Molecular evolution is a mature science with a rigorous methodology and the general principles of how life emerges from non-life have have been well understood since Ilya Prigogine's work into molecular dissipative structures. There are probably a gazillion different mechanisms by which this could occur and the particular mechanism which ultimately gave rise to our planetary biosphere will almost certainly never be known.
The End of Certainty[edit]
In his 1996 book, La Fin des certitudes, co-authored by Isabelle Stengers and published in English in 1997 as The End of Certainty: time, chaos, and the new laws of nature, Prigogine contends that determinism is no longer a viable scientific belief. "The more we know about our universe, the more difficult it becomes to believe in determinism." This is a major departure from the approach of Newton, Einstein and Schrödinger, all of whom expressed their theories in terms of deterministic equations. According to Prigogine, determinism loses its explanatory power in the face of irreversibility and instability.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilya_Prigogine

Still this does not answer the simple question: What are the odds of biological {or other forms} of life actually occurring in the known universe :?: Common, scarce, rare, or one of a kind ?

Seems to me that until we have found a life form existent that can be proven to come from somewhere other than Earth, As I just stated, amino acids and water likely did come from elsewhere.
for all we know we may be the only existent life form in the universe. Scary thought ! Now why is that so scary? Personally, I can do without another flatmate.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Feb 17, 2016 11:37 pm

UniversalAlien wrote:Still this does not answer the simple question: What are the odds of biological {or other forms} of life actually occurring in the known universe :?: Common, scarce, rare, or one of a kind ?
This is a question which science is currently unable to answer for want of data but it seems likely that this question is certainly answerable and will probably be answered within the next century or so. ( Except for the one of a kind option which obviously can never be confirmed, even in principle.)

However a lot more is known about how life emerges from non-life than is commonly supposed, to the point where the life/non-life distinction is not even recognised in biology any more. Simple carbon molecules form themselves into more complex carbon molecules which form themselves into even more complex carbon molecules in a simple evolutionary manner until this process generates a molecule with the ability to replicate itself. As long as the daughter molecules from this self-replication process are not perfectly identical then life is off and running and will continue to evolve from the simple to the complex for as long as an energy source is available. This is about as close to a universal law of nature as it is possible to imagine because the only law that is needed to drive this evolutionary trajectory from the simple to the complex is the law of cause and effect. It might sound trite to say it but complex life evolves from simple life solely because it cannot do otherwise but the precise trajectory of this process is quite literally unknowable.

An advanced technological civilisation evolved on planet earth because the conditions were such that this was inevitable. However this doesn't mean it had to be us. We were just in the right place at the right time.

User avatar
Hobbes' Choice
Posts: 8363
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:45 am

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:42 am

Obvious Leo wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
it's pretty obvious, given the complexity of the microbial world, that any given alien biome would be catastrophically dangerous to any other if it were of the same type. If not it would be so alien as to be capable of offering no sustenance to the other.
This is pretty much the doctrinal position of evolutionary biology and in a sense it even applies to our own biosphere, which must be seen as evolving as single holistic entity. For instance, as a thought experiment, if you took a homo erectus individual out of his biosphere of a million years ago and relocated him in the biosphere of today he'd be dead in no time, and vice versa. We couldn't just go and live in his biological world either and expect to survive. We tend to think of ourselves as individuals or species evolving within a biological medium but this is very narrow and wrong-headed way to think about this. The individual is an entire ecosystem embedded within a hierarchy of ecosystems which are all evolving together.

In fact we couldn't go and colonise another world, be it a planet or an artificial habitat, without establishing an appropriate biosphere on it first, and from a technological point of view we're a hell of a long way away from knowing how to do that. A permanent Mars colony is an SF myth for this very reason. A human is a composite organism made up of tens of thousands of different species, each of which is evolving within the broader planetary biosphere. Once removed from this broader biosphere the evolutionary trajectory of these symbiotic species which encode for homo is utterly unknowable but it is virtually a certainty that the prognosis won't be good for the composite entity.

You can take the boy out of the biosphere but you can't take the biosphere out of the boy.
I'd not try to quantify in in those terms exactly. I think the time line would have to be much longer than that, but its speculative.
There is good evidence that separated human populations which meet after a long separation can be catastrophic: one thinks of the New World.
But there is 40k years separating the Australian natives and their European visitors, yet the contact has not resulted in either's distinction.

As for a Mars colony - or any colony in the solar system would be unsustainable for a myriad of reasons. The primary reason for Mars is the gravity, which after even a short stay would make return to earth nigh on impossible. Certainly a child born on Mars may never be capable of adapting to earth's gravity.
The fact is everything a human needs, and in viable proportions to sustain life is only present in one place in the Solar system; the only place in the universe we know of, right here on earth.

User avatar
UniversalAlien
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:27 am
Contact:

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by UniversalAlien » Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:09 am

Hobbes' Choice wrote: As for a Mars colony - or any colony in the solar system would be unsustainable for a myriad of reasons. The primary reason for Mars is the gravity, which after even a short stay would make return to earth nigh on impossible. Certainly a child born on Mars may never be capable of adapting to earth's gravity.
The fact is everything a human needs, and in viable proportions to sustain life is only present in one place in the Solar system; the only place in the universe we know of, right here on earth.
Scott Kelly breaks the record for longest consecutive time in space by a US astronaut

As of today, Scott Kelly now officially holds the record for the longest consecutive amount of time spent in space by an American astronaut. The previous record holder was Spanish-American astronaut Michael López-Alegría, who spent 215 consecutive days in space in 2007. Today marks 216 consecutive days for Kelly, who launched into space on March 27th of this year. His number count is only going to grow, too, as he's slated to spend a total of 342 days on the International Space Station before coming back home.

Kelly has also spent the longest cumulative time in space out of any American astronaut: a whopping 396 days. When he is done with this mission, he'll have racked up a total of 522 days in space over the course of four space flights. As impressive as these stats are, Russian astronauts will still have Kelly beat. The longest consecutive spaceflight was done by Valeri Polyakov, who spent nearly 438 days on the former Russian Mir space station. And Gennady Padalka, who recently stayed on the ISS with Kelly, has spent a combined 878 days in space.
http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/29/9638 ... 6-days-iss

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Obvious Leo » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:16 am

Hobbes. In both North and South America, as well as in Australia, a substantial proportion of the indigenous population was wiped out very quickly by diseases for which they had no immunity after invasion by Europeans. One would think that on an evolutionary timescale these populations had not been isolated from the rest of the human population for very long but this is dodgy thinking. At the microbiological level our biosphere is actually evolving very quickly. If you were suddenly transported back into a typical European city of the middle ages you wouldn't last a week.

You're quite right about the gravity issue for Mars. Humans cannot live outside of their own gravitational environment for any significant length of time without suffering severe and probably fatal effects. Even the rigorous exercise programmes which the astronauts on the space station undergo can only partially offset these effects. In principle such effects could be ameliorated by the extensive use of genetic engineering but such technologies are a very long way off indeed.
Hobbes' Choice wrote:The fact is everything a human needs, and in viable proportions to sustain life is only present in one place in the Solar system; the only place in the universe we know of, right here on earth.
Yes. That's the way it is and that's the way it'll remain for a bloody long time yet. Artificial habitats in their own orbits within our solar system are theoretically possible but I'm not convinced that such an idea will ever be economically feasible or an attractive option for would-be colonists. I think the only long-term solution is that we're going to have to grow up and learn how to get along with each other.

User avatar
Arising_uk
Posts: 11939
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:31 am

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Arising_uk » Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:31 am

Obvious Leo wrote:... I think the only long-term solution is that we're going to have to grow up and learn how to get along with each other.
For that you'll need to deal with resources and energy and a good dent in that would be mining near space, so they should be dusting off the pusher-plates, dump the partial test ban treaty and put all those nukes to better use.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Obvious Leo » Thu Feb 18, 2016 4:24 am

Arising_uk wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:... I think the only long-term solution is that we're going to have to grow up and learn how to get along with each other.
For that you'll need to deal with resources and energy and a good dent in that would be mining near space, so they should be dusting off the pusher-plates, dump the partial test ban treaty and put all those nukes to better use.
Asteroid mining is already well and truly on the drawing board as a future resource for many of the scarcer minerals which will be needed for future technologies, but in my view questions of resource availability are a far less significant problem for humanity in the short term than are questions of resource management. Such management-related issues are not ones that simply lend themselves to a technological fix but are going to require a more holistic approach to the way in which our species conducts its affairs. Ultimately until we resolve the seemingly intractable global problems of inequality of education and opportunity it seems likely that the haves and the have nots will forever be at each others throats squabbling over the remnants of an ever-diminishing pie. For a species as smart as us this is the pinnacle of absurdity.

User avatar
Hobbes' Choice
Posts: 8363
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:45 am

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:22 am

Obvious Leo wrote:Hobbes. In both North and South America, as well as in Australia, a substantial proportion of the indigenous population was wiped out very quickly by diseases for which they had no immunity after invasion by Europeans. One would think that on an evolutionary timescale these populations had not been isolated from the rest of the human population for very long but this is dodgy thinking. At the microbiological level our biosphere is actually evolving very quickly. If you were suddenly transported back into a typical European city of the middle ages you wouldn't last a week. .
If you are so sure then why are there ANY aboriginees, or come to that why did the Europeans not expire because of local disease strains?

The fact is that Europeans were germ rich, and therefore had more highly developed immunes systems due the the fact that the entire land mass from Africa, through Europe and Asia were in regular communication for the last couple of millennia with trade route lining all areas.
Australasia and the Americas were characterised by more localised communities with a lower rate of social intercourse or trade between them.
The Euro/Asian strains had to have been more diverse than the 'colonial areas".

User avatar
Hobbes' Choice
Posts: 8363
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:45 am

Re: Does Mind Require a Biological Body to be Conscious?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Thu Feb 18, 2016 11:24 am

Arising_uk wrote:
Obvious Leo wrote:... I think the only long-term solution is that we're going to have to grow up and learn how to get along with each other.
For that you'll need to deal with resources and energy and a good dent in that would be mining near space, so they should be dusting off the pusher-plates, dump the partial test ban treaty and put all those nukes to better use.
We are going to have to impose serious dis-incentives for psychopaths, even euthanize our populations to remove them from the gene pool.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest