Are We Just Machines?

OK, I was listening to a podcast a while ago, and I heard some thing quite surprising! What one researcher said is that our brain prepares us to do something 7 seconds before we actually think of it. WOW! So basically, our brain is ahead by 7 seconds. To me and some people it rally challenges the concept of free will, are we really just machines that work on instinct, of course, if our brain was really in control, how could we start to research about this. If our brain is so much ahead of us, would it really let us figure it out, or do we actually control our brain. Will it get to the point where our brains develop too much and start to control us, causing us to do things against our will? Scary thought isn't it? Just think, 7 seconds ago you were ready to read this!
One more thing, Goodhart posted this link, anyone interested in this topic should read it.

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2005/02/18

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kelseymh8 years ago
Machines? Absolutely. Our bodies, from the individual cells right up to large-scale systems like the skeleton and muscles, operate on well-defined principles of physics and chemistry, which can be described in physical terms of forces, potentials, reaction paths, etc.

"Just" machines? What does that mean, anyway? That you could "build a person" out of parts and have it function the way we do? Certainly not. Our bodies are extremely complex systems with multiscale nonlinear feedbacks (homeostatis, proprioception, etc.) that maintain it in a very long-term dynamic equilibrium completely unknown among the "devices" we are able to construct with our current technology.

The mind-body "problem" has been floating around the nebulous and more or less content-free world of philosophy for 200 years. It's only in the past decade or two that we have even begun to consider the possibility of addressing it directly and experimentally.

As with most real science (geology, astronomy, biology), the results are challenging to our unstated but closely held assumptions about our special, unique, and vaunted position in the universe.

If you believe in a self-consistent Universe governed by physical laws, it is almost inescapable that the mind (consciousness) must be built on top of the material substrate of the brain. This sort of work with functional MRI and MRS observations of "intention" and "planning" (fraught with statistical and systematic biases) is merely revealing the details of that connection and construction.
and, not only that, but it is much more random then anyone ever thought....Emergence
XOIIO (author)  Goodhart8 years ago
I found that very informative. I too found it surprising of how random intelegence can be. Anyone reading this topic should listen to it.
Goodhart XOIIO8 years ago
Are all 3 parts still there? I hada difficult time connecting so was unable to verify
XOIIO (author)  Goodhart8 years ago
I'm not sure what you mean by 3 parts, the "movie" was around a hour long though.
Goodhart XOIIO8 years ago
Movie? Hmm, I thought I had gotten the link to the Radio broadcast out of NYC on Emergence....which was about 3 hours long I thought (yes, I listened to all of the one I am writing about, and then again, as background as I worked on something else ;-) It was very interesting to me.
XOIIO (author)  Goodhart8 years ago
Well, there were some other parts lower down, i don't know if those are then?
Goodhart XOIIO8 years ago
which parts did you like the best ?
XOIIO (author)  Goodhart8 years ago
I enjoyed the part with the fireflies as well. i also enjoyed the talk about ant guts! ( yum!)
Goodhart XOIIO8 years ago
ants are a bit on the sour side (in case you hadn't had any), at least the ones I have had were ;-)
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