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Can you offer defense of that position please?

The brain is composed of neurons. Each neuron either fires or it doesn't, just like on or off in a computer. This is determined by chemical reactions in and outside the cell. A powerful enough computer can simulate this down to the atomic level, it's just physics. Just because the computers we build don't function the same as the brain doesn't mean that the brain isn't a computer. Some attempts at AI have taken this approach, and while they generally work, we don't yet have the processing power to scale it.

When a certain stimulus happens, the effects it has on the brain, which include thoughts, is predictable and computable by doing the physics. We just have this illusion of "free will" and making choices. Our personalities are simply the result of how our brain's wiring developed from our environmental stimuli.

This also brings to light an important topic in philosophy of science: determinism. Is the world deterministic or not? If it's not, then physics and the sciences simply don't work. If the world is deterministic, which all evidence we have says that it is, then free will cannot exist. It's just easier and more comforting for people to pretend we have free will.

Yet that doesn't even address consciousness. Just behaviour.

I don't mean consciousness as in functioning state of the brain (i.e., as opposed to unconsciousness), or about the ability of a representational system to picture and reason about itself. I talk about the feeling of being (I wrote a semi-serious comment about this in this thread: search for metaesthesia).

You can rightly claim that this is not observable beyond the first person, and thus it's out of the scope of science. But I guess we all have a personal unscientific take on it, or we can make up one as good as any other when so prompted. That was what I was asking you about.

My take is that consciousness is probably unique to humanity. Yet other great entities, probably have something better than consciousness. Because of the limitations of our own consciousness and what our language allows us to express, we won't ever be able to comprehend the supreme state of existence that makes up what a star has that is better than consciousness. It just doesn't make sense to me to look at a star and somehow perceive ourselves as better or different than that dumb object because we think.

Better? What does that mean in this context? How do you compare a consciousness to a 'supreme state of existence', for value or otherwise? Who can perceive both, to perform such a comparison?

Hate to be unpoetic, but how is a star anything more than a big ball of burning gas? I don't feel humans are 'better' than stars. The only loosely related comparison I can think of is complexity: there is more to know about humans than about stars.

>Who can perceive both, to perform such a comparison?

Our fourth dimensional overlords.

It's really tough to go anywhere with this conversation because it quickly hits the limits of what our consciousness can express. I feel that our consciousness is missing something that would allow us to understand why the big ball of burning gas exists on a higher plane of existence than us. This is of course completely impossible to justify.

Yes, our reasoning platform is not made to deal with this kind of stuff, but it's fun, in a perverse way, to see where can it take us.

Kinda like passing a bitmap image to an audio player, or passing it through a mp3 compressor and loading the resulting data in an image viewer, trying to discover anything interesting in the output.

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