Question on two hypotheses - (Sep/19/2011 )
What are your thoughts on the conservation of feelings hypothesis and the single-cell-mind hypothesis?
“Many of the proposed experiments concerning the Conservations of Feelings hypothesis and Single-Cell-Mind hypothesis seem solid as a first attempt to ground the proposals in empirical science. From a philosophical perspective, the ideas seem sound as a potentially coherent scheme for understanding human behavior.”
Praveen Shanbhag, Stanford University
“Intuitively, I can empathize with the Conservation of Feelings Hypothesis as the key to everything.”
John Crossley, University of Southern California
“My general take on "OfGrandeur.com" is that the initial philosophical/psychological thoughts that motivate this are very reasonable. The single-cell-mind biological hypothesis could conceivably be true.... Think it would not be a bad thing for someone to try the suggested experiments.”
Jane S. Richardson, Duke University
Coming to a biology forum for a philosophical discussion? Or, perhaps just spreading it around for homework answers (same post on different forums)?
I apologize if I am coming off the wrong way. Please forgive me if I am not following the appropriate protocol on these forums. I honestly appreciate your contribution and your time. Here is more information for those who have not read the original source of the work.
“By most accounts, the mind is assumed to correlate with the integrated activity of large populations of neurons distributed across multiple cortical and subcorticalbrain regions. Nonlinear dynamic mechanisms are then invoked to provide for the "binding" of the dispersed neuronal activity into a unified stream of consciousness. By this view, activity within any single neuron correlates with merely a fragment of the total conscious experience; it is only through the integration of these fragments that a single whole-brain consciousness is assumed to emerge. The most immediate implication of the single-neuron theory is that it provides a novel way of tackling the “binding problem,” the problem of accounting for the apparent unity of conscious experience.”
Steven Sevush, University of Miami
The single-cell-mind hypothesis suggests one cell in each human is central to “mind” and specifically a gene in a specific chromosome in that cell. This cell is responsible for “binding” to form a single-unified-mind. Various sections in the human brain bind the activity of different large populations of living cells with DNA. Think of the chain of command in a military. At the top of the chain of command, in a human brain, there is only a single-unified-mind cell. This single-unified-mind cell binds the result, of the other binding in the brain, to give humans, what some prestigious scientists define as, a mind. If you destroy this unified-mind cell in a human, then you unbind and kill the mind for the human. Without a unified-mind, a human will gradually decompose.
A less-evolved multi-cellular organism may not have a single-unified-mind, but instead could have a couple minds, each in a different cell and each the mind for a vital group of cells in the organism. Killing any of these mind cells will result in the death of a multi-cellular organism. The difference between humans and other less-evolved multi-cellular organisms is the layers of binding. Less-evolved multi-cellular organisms do not perform enough binding to have a unified-human-mind.
Taken further, each living cell, with DNA, in each human has a primitive form of a bound mind. This primitive mind experiences, what some prestigious scholars define as, feelings. However, living cells, with DNA, likely perceive their form of feelings different from how a human-mind cell perceives feelings. Living cells, with DNA, living in a human, contribute to the overall consciousness of the human mind, but only a single-mind cell, in the brain, binds the second to final version of this overall consciousness into a unified-human-mind.
If this hypothesis is valid, then every multi-cellular organism must have one or a few of these mind cells. Each mind cell is vital to the survival of the multi-cellular organism. Each mind cell is responsible for binding the feelings of specific other living cells with DNA. If one of these mind cells die, then the living cells, with DNA, this mind cell was responsible for binding, will gradually, decompose. The effect is a chain reaction resulting in the death of the multi-cellular organism.
To test this hypothesis we need an organism in which the genes in a single-cell can be identified out of all the cells in the organism's body, and ideally one in which it is the same cell in each individual. The first point suggests an organism very small and simple, the second point suggests an organism whose cells have a specific cell lineage, so we can tell exactly where each cell in the adult came from. Caenorhabditis elegans fits both criteria. It is also very well studied and many-grouped DNA do the genetic manipulations required.
Experiment 1) Determine if one chromosome from the parent DNA strands, from the egg, always survives in a neuron. This can be done by growing a generation in a medium that labels the DNA, then hatching eggs in a medium that does not contain the label. Only DNA deriving from the egg DNA will therefore be labeled. There is a caveat to this. Some of the cells in all organisms die before the organism reaches adulthood, and the DNA in them is broken down and the bits used to make new DNA in other cells. Any label in the DNA will be distributed to that new DNA. So this is not a completely black-and-white experiment. It is recommended to use tritiated thymidine as a label. Putting in enough bromodeoxyuridine to detect at the single-cell level could perturb the cell's metabolism, and so invalidate the results. So label a generation of cells with high specificity tritiated T, collect eggs, germinate and grow in an unlabelled medium. When adult, kill them, fix and slice them, and do autoradiography to see where the chromosomes end up. If the hypothesis is correct, one specific chromosome will always end up in a neuron.
Experiment 2) You have now identified a chromosome and a neuron. The next bit is much harder and you will need a serious c. elegans geneticist to make it work. Conceptually, though, this is what you do. You make a construct that is under the control of a cell-specific promoter for the cell you want to target, and a tet repressor system, with a DNAse open reading frame downstream. In the adult, induction with tetracycline should induce the construct in that one cell only, make DNAse within the cell, and blow the cell's DNA away. As a control, you make the same construct specific for a couple of other neurons. With luck, removing the DNA will not kill the cell outright, although the cell will die after a while because it will no longer be able to repair itself. As a further control, you could induce apoptosis in that cell and in the other, control cells, killing them entirely. The hypothesis says that removing the DNA from that one critical cell will radically alter the organism's behavior and even survival. Destroying the DNA in other cells will have a much less profound effect. Killing the whole cell will have no worse an effect, whereas killing other cells will have a worse effect, thus:
Where '1' is 'hardly notice it' and '10' is 'catastrophic result.'
-------------------‘Mind cell’-------Other nerve cell----Other nerve cell 2
Chop up DNA---------10------------------3-------------------1
Kill whole cell---------10------------------5-------------------2
“Here is a citation relevant to the "C. elegans" part of the hypothesis:”
“Halfway along each posterior excretory canal is a small cell, probably secretory in function, that sends processes anteriorly and posteriorly along the canal: Laser ablation of these cells in young L1's has an unexpectedly dramatic effect: the animals take on a starved appearance, and die before becoming adult. Although the excretory canals are interrupted at the site of ablation, and consequently their posterior sections disappear, they can be seen to regenerate in the course of the next 24 hours. In any case, it is known that individuals in which the excretory system has been destroyed are capable of becoming adults (Singh and Sulston, Nematologica, 24, 63-71,1978). Similarly, the other adjacent cells (V3, P5\/6, hsn) can be ablated without killing the animal. Therefore, it appears that the canal associated cells are essential to the survival of C. elegans. The mutant vab-87 (E1017) matures into an adult whose anterior half appears normal but whose posterior half is thin, pale and uncoordinated. Nomarski examination shows that all the tissues of the posterior half look starved\; the canal associated cells are displaced into the head, and sometimes one of them seems to be missing. These cells are difficult to distinguish from neurons in L1's, but in older larvae they enlarge and can be recognized. One animal was found whose posterior half was of normal size\; subsequent Nomarski examination showed that one of the canal associated cells was in the wild type position. Although various other cells are displaced in E1017, these observations suggest that its principal character results from the abnormal position of the canal associated cells.”
Cori Bargmann, Rockefeller University
Of course, these experiments can also be performed in drosophila, and that would be a more validated approach toward studying the fate of DNA in a multi-cellular organism, and drosophila geneticists have a catalogue of behavioral studies performed after manipulation of genes. Drosophila is a better model for man than c. elegans, but as a start c. elegans are simple, small and inexpensive.
At least one chromosome from a c. elegan zygote is the “mind DNA”. This DNA ends up in a nerve cell. One could test this by doing combined anti-BrdU staining and chromosome-specific FISH on the worms. The former would tell you whether a cell had “parental DNA”, the latter which chromosome that DNA was in (if you could get high enough resolution in the technique). To get the resolution needed (to be able to see if the “FISH” probe that said “this is chromosome 2” was in the same place as the BrdU that said “this is sperm DNA”) you would have to do it on fixed, sliced worms. It would be a heroic experiment, but the result would be like this:
Chromosome number (just 4 for convenience)
worm 1----nerve cell 17----nerve cell 2----skin cell 7------muscle cell 7
worm 2----kidney cell 31---nerve cell 4----muscle cell 8---gut cell 12
worm 3----muscle cell 6----nerve cell 3----nerve cell 9----gut cell 1
This would suggest that the DNA in chromosome 2 always ended up in a nerve cell. Of course, unless it was the same nerve cell each time, you could not then zap it with DNAse. There might be a way round this, but it would depend on the result.
The conservation of feelings hypothesis is far more complex and requires several pages to explain. The reason why several pages are necessary is because of term definition. However, Antonio Damasio.'s definitions of emotions and feelings are congruent with the definitions used to explain the conservation of feelings hypothesis.
Damasio: The distinction between emotion and feeling is very important because most of the time we confuse the two. Most of the time if you analyze your language, and I analyze mine, because I think I am better now but I used to do the same thing. You very often talk about emotion but you mean feeling or vice versa. So I am not trying to be pedantic and tell you that your using language incorrectly, although most of the time we are. But let me tell you what the concepts are and these are research concepts. And I think they are very valuable to orient research. So an emotion is really about action. The best definition I can produce for you of emotions today, and this is based on our understanding of the problem. Is that it (emotions) is a collection of automated actions that are aimed at a particular effect that will have importance for the regulation of life. That automated package of actions, you can call it an actions program, is something that has been installed in your brain at birth, obviously under the influence of a genome with the enormous effect of many millions of years of evolution and is going to serve as like a little packet of rapid intelligence to make you solve a problem without you having to think about it. So for example if there was some cause of alarm and we would be under threat in this room, you know perfectly well what you would have, you would have a reaction to fear and you would act on it. Typical reactions of fear include freezing in place or running away from the source of threat, but whatever they are or whatever the program is, that is engaged, it is going to be a program of actions. Some of the actions are very visible, for example in the face being in terror, you have a posture that is of fear, but then there are other things that happen, you have your heart rate that goes up, and you have blood pressure that goes up, and you have your hypothalamus spritzing cortisol into your entire organism. And therefore changing your whole aspect of the economy of the interior of the organism. All of these are actions. Some are at the level of the endocrine system, some are at the level of the muscular skeletal system, some are at the level of the visra, and some are at the level of behavior we engage in. Like I said, freezing or running away from the source. All of this exists in many species, not just in humans, in fact most non human species, for example when you think about birds or you think about mammals they have these reactions, in fact you can go all the way to invertebrates and find examples of exactly the same thing. You can have a snail have a reaction to fear that is similar to all of this. We know perfectly well that the snail does not have a brain besides a very organized group of neurons, the snail is unlikely to have a mind, let alone consciousness, let alone a sense of the culture. So obviously what we are dealing with is something that is evolutionary biological intelligence that is prepared to make an organism do the best it can without having to think about it that much. Now we have this program in us, and we have it not just for fear, but we have it for sadness, anger, for joy, we have it also for a variety of emotions, that we call social emotions. For example embarrassment, shame, contempt, compassion, admiration, pride, and guilt. All of these exist as prepackaged arrangements in the biology of your brain. What we then also have is this marvelous thing, because we have a mind. And on top of it we have a mind that is consciousness because we have a sense of self. We also have the possibility of having a perceptual take of what is happening in us. So when you have a feeling of fear what that means is that your mind is representing what has changed in your organism while you are in the emotion of fear. And it is also because in humans things are very complex. We also have a number of thoughts and scenarios that you bring up and a number of cognitive strategies that you can engage. But the feeling part is sort of the capping of the process and it is something that exists in us, but it does not necessarily exist in very low species.
David Brooks: Just to make sure I understand this, if I am driving down the road, a car is coming at me, I swerve, I slam on the breaks. My heart is palpitating, I feel breath coming in and out, And it is usually after I am sitting on the side of the road, that suddenly this conscious sense of fear comes over. That comes later. So it’s a two stage.
Damasio: It is a two stage. It is very good that all of this gets engaged without you having much control over it because if you did. If you were really pondering, what should I do? You probably would react in a much more slow fashion and of course there will be a cost to that. The reaction is really happening largely at a non-conscious level although it can very rapidly become conscious as well. The distinction between emotion and feelings are so important because emotion by definition to begin with is non-consciousness. It was non-consciousness throughout evolution and it is still by and large non-consciousness and we learn about it through feeling. It is when we feel the emotion that we know that we had it. Feeling is sort of the sea level that goes from this end of the water operation. Which is this very rich operation of the non-conscious brain and the operation that suddenly emerges into consciousness.
A semi-explanation of the conservation of feelings hypothesis is (conservation laws apply to what Damasio defines as feelings). The conservation of feelings hypothesis appears to be similar to the conservation of electrical charge. The conservation of feelings hypothesis is the statement of universal conservation of feelings. Similar to electrical charge, feeling has a “reservoir”. This reservoir upholds the conservation of feelings hypothesis. This explanation doesn't do the conservation of feelings hypothesis justice, but I don't think it would be effective to copy and paste 15 pages from the book on these forums.
You can read the original source for these hypotheses on Scribd for free, in non-flash format, without having to go to ofgrandeur.com. All you have to do is Google (Scribd ofgrandeur) and it is the first link. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my abilities, but reading the original source could answer your questions faster. Thank you for your time.
Sorry, we just get a lot of posts similar to your first one above that are either spam or someone looking for answers to their homework.
So, what is your (Mr Takowsky) point about these two hypotheses, other than getting the book publicised?
For thousands of years humans unknowingly used religion as a coping mechanism to deal with the sadness and pain experienced while living. When family and friends die, many people need to believe they will reunite with family and friends in an afterlife, because, as many of us know, the loss of someone we love can negatively affect our functionality and make it difficult to cope with living. Religion is a vital coping mechanism for most people; however, the percentage of total humans who adhere to a religion is decreasing.
Consider this: what percentage of scientists, do you believe, use religion to cope with life? In addition, do you believe this percentage is increasing or decreasing? Moreover, whom do we look to as role models in this modern age?
TIME magazine recently featured a headline-making story “What If Hell Doesn’t Exist” by Pastor Rob Bell, a well-known religious leader who initiates congregational conversation rather than typical doctrinal teachings. Bell supports an interesting perspective and one following the lead many people and groups believe today which is: the percentage of people who still buy into Hell and Heaven is rapidly decreasing. You can read Bell’s TIME magazine article at http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...065080,00.html.
Some people may believe we are living in the worst of times because of dwindling allegiance to religions. However, are these really the worst of times? The way I see it: we have greater security in acquiring healthy food than in a majority of our history. We have made tremendous advances in curing and controlling diseases. We are capable of using clone organs to replace our own organs. We have advanced technology resulting in access to less-biased news. There is more transparency in how our governments and economies operate. Many countries of the world are becoming interconnected and unified, resulting in greater harmony and sympathy between diverse cultures. As a whole, there are more options available to flee prejudice and join like-minded communities. We also have improved life expectancy. Moreover, I believe my improved life expectancy is not a reward for “abandoning God”, rather I see it as a reward for being a member of a society not abandoning me.
People learn religious tolerance in the public realm, but behind the scenes religions often teach followers there is only one truth, theirs. In addition, religions indirectly preach the hundreds of other religions must therefore teach false truths. One question: what do some religions claim are the consequences of following a false truth? Most profess the loss of supposed benefits such as going to Heaven, reaching enlightenment, reuniting with a creator and loved ones etc.
Number of followers for the most populated religions in the world:
Christianity— 2,000,000,000 - 2,200,000,000
Islam —1,500,000,000 - 1,700,000,000
Hinduism— 800,000,000 - 1,000,000,000
Buddhism —800,000,000 - 1,000,000,000
Billions of people believe they are following the only truth. Let us keep in mind each religion divides into hundreds to thousands of sects. Each sect continuously makes overall changes, to their respective teachings, reflecting the changing times in modern societies. Why do religions not have unanimous support for all of their ideologies and doctrines? Even stranger: religions are conforming to their followers and the changing times. Do you believe it should be the other way around? The big question then comes into play: if religions taught the absolute truth, why is there room for compromise and/or diverse opinions?
Do you believe Gandhi is in eternal Hell for not accepting Jesus as his lord and savior? Does a murderer or rapist, who finds Jesus seconds before his execution on death row, go to Heaven? Does "God" give more favor to Catholics or Protestants? What is the difference in God’s favor between a devout Catholic and an occasional believer? What are the requirements for entry into Heaven or Hell and what is this belief based on? Regardless of your answer, you should be aware the answers to these questions lead to beliefs promoting conflicts and divisions among humanity.
Many devout practitioners of religion do not have a firm grasp on all of their beliefs and choose to label full review of their beliefs as sinful, pointless, succumbing to a lack of devotion, a sign of weakness, the work of the Devil, etc. Please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNDZb...layer_embedded for an additional perspective. In light of a lack of consensus and an inability to empirically-test the validity of specific claims, it is reasonable to conclude there is no Heaven or Hell and we all go to the same place when we die. That said: it takes courage to challenge supposed eternal damnation without fear.
Reasonably claiming: people who believe they can influence the type of afterlife they will go to, believe in a fantasy helping them cope with life. If there is a fair/just intelligent designer, it did not create a world where some people start life with a 0% probability of entering, a supposed, utopia at death or start life with a 100% probability of entering, a supposed, dystopia at death.
We need to move on and not allow the fear of Hell or promise of Heaven to distort our realities. We should not allow religion to damage our cultural relationships or hinder us from reaching our potential. Humans should not succumb to lifestyles dividing us, but conform to lifestyles uniting us. Faith is not only a personal issue in societies where everyone has an equal vote.
The only things affecting concrete laws of physics are other laws of physics; based on all of the empirical evidence available. In the real world, there is no peer-reviewed evidence of a grand-decision-maker who can defy any law of physics. Even if a supernatural force created the universe, this is far different than saying a supernatural force can actively alter the laws of physics.
Even though this is so, we have not discovered and classified every law of physics. My research has led to evidence supporting the existence of what some people consider an "active God". However, this “active God” is not a supernatural force, but is instead a conservation law affecting feelings. I call this conservation law the conservation of feelings hypothesis. This conservation law directly influences our motivations. Please review the Hard-science Summary section located at ofgrandeur.com for empirical data and scholarly analysis supporting these claims.
Many scientists believe adherence to a religion is the result of ignorance, but if a conservation law governs feelings, then religion plays a hard-science function in preventing the violation of this conservation law.
Introducing the conservation of feelings hypothesis into the equation makes a decreasing percentage, of adherents to religion, alarming.
Throughout human history, science alone did not serve as a suitable coping mechanism for most humans. For example, science alone is not always the best motivator for keeping a farmer, who hates his life circumstances, alive. However, the belief in going to a utopia after death, and the requirement of not committing suicide to reach that utopia, is the ideal motivator for keeping a farmer alive and willing to cope with life circumstances. If the conservation of feelings hypothesis is valid, religion has served as the “training wheels” keeping human civilization intact until we were ready to understand this conservation law.
Consider this: the strength of a person's motivation to adhere to a specific belief or faith depends on the feelings he will experience while following this belief or faith.
When a religious person prays all night for an improbable, but favorable, outcome to occur and it occurs, it is reasonable to understand why he believes there must be some “entity” listening and causing miracles to occur. Might it be possible miracles are, in reality, the result of laws of physics functioning normally and motivation compelling people to focus on improbable results? Aside from what people read or learned by some other means, has anyone witnessed a miracle or had a super natural experience this proposed reality cannot explain?
A conservation law affecting feelings may seem supernatural, but if you follow the hard-science data and scholarly analysis at ofgrandeur.com, you will see justification for this conclusion. It is reasonable to assume selective analysis or empirical data contributed to the conclusions presented in this book, at that site, especially when most people only have enough motivation to read a few pages. However, if the conservation of feelings hypothesis is valid, this lack of motivation does not come from a lack of time, but instead is the result of an inability to cope with understanding the rules governing our lives. This inability to cope with the truth, removes a person’s motivation to understand the truth or travel a path leading to the truth. In this proposed reality, people do not have control over their motivation, but instead their motivation is subject to upholding this conservation law.
It is also reasonable for some hard-science academics to see the words “feeling” or “motivation” and flee because of the stigma associated with these topics as unscientific due to an inability to measure either. However, one of the main functions of consulting with thousands of prestigious scholars, in every relevant field of expertise, was to perform the due diligence required to uphold the standards promoted by the hard-science academic community.
If the conservation of feelings hypothesis is valid, our motivations guarantee we will cope with life circumstances. If a person would lose the ability to cope with her life circumstances by rejecting non-empirical backed beliefs, and only accepting empirical fact, then she would find no motivation to change her non-empirically backed beliefs for empirical fact. Even if the scientific community invalidates a specific belief, if people depend on this belief to cope with life, they will find the motivation and selective evidence to support this belief. Motivation forces people to change their beliefs regardless of their desires. Without full control over our motivations, we do not have what many people consider free will. If a conservation law governs motivations, is it just for humans to have different afterlives with different surpluses of pleasure and pain?
As a recap: what many people have come to label as God or a “power of God” is in reality a conservation law. Taken further, God does not have a free will and God does not choose how to respond. Life is impartial. God does not choose who will suffer and who will not based on their religion. God cannot levitate a rock in a way violating any valid scientific law, but God could motivate you to be at a specific location where a rock is falling naturally, due to the laws of physics, and as a result, you have an emotional response to this rock falling. If a conservation law governs motivation, then observance of improbable circumstances can be demystified.
Gradually people need to transition away from beliefs in a supernatural force actively violating laws of physics. These beliefs result in conflicts among humanity and elude peer-reviewed verification.
If the conservation of feelings hypothesis is valid, one religion is suited for one person, and a different religion can be more suitable for another person. The suitability of a religion depends on if its teachings help a person cope with life.
People do not face eternal damnation for being devout followers of the “wrong” religion, or the “wrong” sect in the “right” religion
The unified-mind cell, in humans, provides the entire mind for a human. For example, think of every living cell, with DNA, as a hard drive with the ability to store information. Every living cell, with DNA, including the unified-mind cell, has the exact same size hard drive. Common living cells, with DNA, use about .001% of their hard drive space. Nerves, in an arm, use about .01%. Common neurons, in a human brain, use about .1%. The unified-mind cell uses 50-100%. What fills up a hard drive? All of the constant stimulation from other living cells, with DNA, or non-living matter. When a living cell, with DNA, receives additional constant stimulation, its mind becomes more complex and it uses more of its hard drive. When a living cell, with DNA, receives less constant stimulation, its mind becomes less complex and it uses less of its hard-drive.
Destroying all of the living cells, with DNA, sending stimulation to a unified-mind cell, will make the unified-mind cell’s mind as complex as other living cells, with DNA, with similar amounts of stimulation. Destroying the stimulation removes the complexity of the unified-mind cell's mind.
As another example, think of the mind for every living cell, with DNA, as a 500-meter-by-500-meter, inflatable bouncer. Every living cell, with DNA, including the unified-mind cell, has the exact same size bouncer. Think of constant stimulation from another living cell, with DNA, as a person jumping on one specific area of the bouncer. The unified-mind cell is unique because it has a very organized chain of command providing it with stimulation. Think of the unified-mind cell as only coming into direct contact (synaptic connection) with 100,000 people, each strategically placed on the unified-mind cell’s bouncer with their own area on the bouncer. In addition, each of the 100,000 people, on the unified-mind cell’s bouncer, has their own bouncer; however, only 100 to 10,000 people are on each of these bouncers. Moreover, the surface-area on each of the 100,000 bouncers is mostly empty. Each of the 100,000 people, on the unified-mind cell’s bouncer, jump on the unified-mind cell’s bouncer based on the stimulation of their own bouncer. This chain of command continues until we reach the stimulation for common living cells, with DNA. A common living cell, with DNA, at the bottom of the chain of command, receives very little stimulation and its mind’s complexity is limited. As you can imagine, the binding process, in humans, is very organized. Synaptic connections, action potentials, electrotonic potentials, and ion pumps all play a part in the binding process between living cells, with DNA.
Ah, so spam then...