1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured How Could Consciousness Transcend the Brain?

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Almighty God, Dec 1, 2020.

  1. Almighty God

    Almighty God Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2020
    Messages:
    91
    Ratings:
    +57
    The most important idea in pretty much every religion is that consciousness transcends the physical brain, and as a result, can somehow persist beyond the death of the physical body. But, neuroscience has now essentially eliminated this idea.

    We don't yet know how the brain produces subjective, conscious experiences, but we can say with near certainty that subjective, conscious experiences are dependent upon the brain to occur. How could you say that consciousness transcends the brain when damaging certain parts of the brain (through traumatic injury or stroke, for example) damages and alters consciousness? Other examples: if one's brain is traumatically injured, it is possible to lose consciousness. If blood rushes away from the brain too quickly, a person's consciousness is either partially or completely eliminated until the blood returns to the brain (this is the cause of fainting). If a person is given a chemical anesthetic that interacts with the brain chemistry, consciousness can be temporarily eliminated. Or, if a person is given certain drugs, the state of consciousness can be reduced or altered (alcohol is an obvious example--think about how much conscious perceptions change when drunk).

    All of this is OVERWHELMING evidence that having a working, living brain is necessary in order to be conscious, and, essentially, refutes the claims of all religions (although some creative objections based on unfounded magical concepts could probably still be made). The only attempted refutation of this that I have seen anyone give is that the brain is analogous to a radio that receives the radio waves of consciousness. But, my question would then be, even if that is true, how can one receive these signals WITHOUT a brain? Hypothesizing some non-physical consciousness receiver does not really solve the problem when there is no evidence that such a thing exists, particularly because it never comes into play when a person loses consciousness in the scenarios alluded to above.

    So, the bottom line is, I don't see how consciousness could transcend the brain. I WISH it could and HOPE I am wrong. But I don't see how I could be.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  2. paarsurrey

    paarsurrey Veteran Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    Messages:
    18,278
    Ratings:
    +2,142
    " consciousness transcends the physical brain"

    Kindly quote from Quran in this connection please. Right, please?
    Also, please let us know as to what one understands from the natural words "transcend" , "consciousness" and the "physical brain". Please give one's own understanding not from a lexicon. Right, please?

    Regards
     
  3. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Ānanda
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2016
    Messages:
    11,708
    Ratings:
    +17,008
    Religion:
    Advaita Vedanta
    Can you please post studies that have arrived at this conclusion?

    Also, I think it's worth noting that there are differences in how consciousness is understood and defined between the western and eastern paradigms.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
  4. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy New Year!
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2019
    Messages:
    5,233
    Ratings:
    +7,382
    Religion:
    Buddhish
    Sorry, do you not think consciousness persists beyond physical death?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Almighty God

    Almighty God Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2020
    Messages:
    91
    Ratings:
    +57
    What is the need for studies? We already know it's possible to lose consciousness when the brain is damaged. Maybe you've never fainted, been knocked unconscious, or been under general anesthesia. But, I can assure you, it is a fact that consciousness can be clearly manipulated by manipulating the brain.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  6. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy New Year!
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2019
    Messages:
    5,233
    Ratings:
    +7,382
    Religion:
    Buddhish
    Not just manipulated, caused to cease. And of course, we have zero evidence of any consciousness separate from a living brain.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Ānanda
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2016
    Messages:
    11,708
    Ratings:
    +17,008
    Religion:
    Advaita Vedanta
    Because that's how neuroscience works.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  8. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Ānanda
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2016
    Messages:
    11,708
    Ratings:
    +17,008
    Religion:
    Advaita Vedanta
    What kind of evidence? Subjective or objective? If the latter, can you please tell me what apparatus has been created to measure consciousness?
     
  9. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy New Year!
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2019
    Messages:
    5,233
    Ratings:
    +7,382
    Religion:
    Buddhish
    Both subjective and objective. Objective measures of consciousness include MRI/fMRI, and direct subject report (is the subject speaking, alert and oriented, etc.).

    That said, if you have some other, convincing evidence of consciousness separate from a living brain, I'd be fascinated to see it.
     
  10. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Ānanda
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2016
    Messages:
    11,708
    Ratings:
    +17,008
    Religion:
    Advaita Vedanta
    An MRI measures changes in water flow/volume in tissue. And fMRI measures changes in blood flow in tissue. Neither measures consciousness.

    So there is no apparatus that measures consciousness in the brain. How can we know that there is any consciousness outside the brain?
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  11. Hermit Philosopher

    Hermit Philosopher Selflessly here for you

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2010
    Messages:
    343
    Ratings:
    +207

    Dear AG

    I like your post. It’s a fascinating subject, I think!

    Consciousness seems to require the registering, storing, analysing and synchronising of data to accumulate into an ever growing source of reference and information, but that may be all that is required.

    Once enough data is processed into enough complexity, consciousness could actually emerge. Together with emotions and eventually perhaps even empathy.

    I’m thinking that the “data processor” need not necessarily be an organic brain. Today we’d be prone to think of a computer or the future of AI (God, as a massive cosmic ICloud where all worldly experiences are stored, perhaps) but our understanding of things is always limited to what we can imagine and it is debatable whether we can imagine what we cannot somehow relate back to in our own reality.

    God could be an unimaginable sort of “data processor”. (not an organic brain maybe ...I don’t think God is a brain, but hey, who knows!) :).

    Humbly
    Hermit
     
  12. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    Messages:
    30,627
    Ratings:
    +10,154
    Religion:
    Process of Spiritual Healing
    Once can't. There was a study done (I heard it on a TED TALK) on prayer. Researchers told say three patients in the hospital that the religious (four different religious practitioners-layman, priests, etc) will pray for them. The other three patients, they said they weren't being prayed for. As the religious prayed, the people who said they were prayed for symptom's improved while the other side they stayed the same. So, the prayer (connection and dialogue with one's higher consciousness, I guess) only worked when the people knew they were prayed for. In other words, higher consciousness and the workings of it only existed and was observed by confirmed bias and pre-existing belief. It's a mind thing. MRIs shown the differences in the brain scans to those who prayed and those who believed receive those prayers.

    If higher consciousness was separate than the brain, brain scans wouldn't pick up prayer. They would be communing with something (inside them or outside) that has no influence on their physical self just their "spiritual" self.

    I was told on RF actually that consciousness is separate from the mind. So, when one has amnesia or goes unconscious their consciousness still exists-but I guess is dormant. So, I guess it is like a car/body engine turned off but the person/consciousness or soul, is still there. But if consciousness can only be experienced in experience and practice, what can actually experience the experience and practice when the body and mind has shut down.

    I don't know what is meant by "transcends" the brain, though. That's a good question I wish could be explained more outside the Western perspective.
     
  13. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy New Year!
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2019
    Messages:
    5,233
    Ratings:
    +7,382
    Religion:
    Buddhish
    They are indirect measures, but measures nonetheless. We can observe how changes in the brain affect consciousness, by asking subjects what they experience under different brain conditions, particularly when we ourselves change those conditions. And we can predict what a person's change in consciousness will be based on how their brain changes. This is the process in science for determining causation.

    How can we know that there's consciousness anywhere? How do you know consciousness exists at all?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. cladking

    cladking Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2018
    Messages:
    1,766
    Ratings:
    +269
    Religion:
    not applicable
    Consciousness does transcend the brain. It is the entire body.

    The mind can believe anything including the perception that it is out of the body.

    Whether or not a "soul" exists is something you'll need to ask a dead person but one thing for sure; you're not really dead until you are forgotten.
     
  15. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    54,405
    Ratings:
    +24,202
    Religion:
    Love
    There have been near death experiences where someone knew what was being said in another room while his body was apparently dead. The general field of NDEs has many cases of consciousness functioning with no brain activity. This is not scientific proof that consciousness exists without a brain but it is one possible explanation.

    Another case is reincarnational studies. There have been people who interview young children with a birthmark. The child says that he had gotten killed by something such as a spear in that area in a previous life. The investigators go to where the child said he'd died and find people who confirm that someone had died there with that wound. Again not scientific proof but one to keep in mind.
     
  16. Almighty God

    Almighty God Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2020
    Messages:
    91
    Ratings:
    +57
    Has there ever been a documented NDE occur in a person with no brain activity at all? I doubt it. And just because no brain activity was detected does not mean there was none. How would you explain the fact that damaging the brain damages consciousness?

    Reincarnation is another topic--I have never seen any good evidence for it and most of the stories claimed to be evidence for it have turned out to be lies.
     
  17. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    5,402
    Ratings:
    +4,418
    Religion:
    none
    I find it hard to talk about consciousness as it seems to be a word without a definition but no matter how you define consciousness there is a definition on transcendence that says "independent of".
    I.e. if we can transfer to or create consciousness (however you define it) in a computer, we have consciousness transcendent from a brain.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. FocusedIntent

    FocusedIntent Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2017
    Messages:
    35
    Ratings:
    +21
    The only reason you don't understand how consciousness could "transcend the brain" is because you don't know what you are and you have the false belief that the brain creates consciousness. It does not. There is not a single scientist on the planet who could ever explain how physical matter could give rise to something completely unphysical like the conscious experience you are having while you read this.

    You are a luminous ball of conscious energy, that is what you are. Your physical body and especially your brain is a receiver of consciousness. If your brain, the receiver, is damaged than your consciousness becomes limited in how it can operate your vessel.

    Just like a remote controlled car if the remote control (the brain) is damaged. I (the consciousness) am pressing the buttons on the controls, but the car (your body vessel) is not responding.

    Your consciousness can't be damaged, but it is true that while you are inhabiting a vessel you are not accessing your full consciousness. Some are actually accessing far less than others.....
     
  19. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy New Year!
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2019
    Messages:
    5,233
    Ratings:
    +7,382
    Religion:
    Buddhish
    Do you have any evidence for your opinions?

    How did you determine that scientists won't ever be able to explain how the brain gives rise to consciousness?
     
  20. gnostic

    gnostic The Lost One

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    17,428
    Ratings:
    +5,015
    Religion:
    Pi π
    Evidence, FocusedIntent...where are your evidence?

    I only see YOUR CLAIMS that consciousness is outside and independent of the brain and body, but no evidence for YOUR CLAIMS.

    So until you present some evidence you are merely expressing personal opinions and personal belief.
     
    #20 gnostic, Dec 4, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
Loading...