Re: Consciousness is information?

From: Kelly <>
Date: Sat, 2 May 2009 00:22:33 -0700 (PDT)

On Apr 29, 2:26 am, russell standish <> wrote:
> What extra information do you have in mind? I'd gladly update my
> priors with anything I can lay my hands on.

So changes to neural structure and the concentrations of various
chemicals within neurons and around neural synapses is known to change
conscious experience in humans. Ants have neurons that work along
similar lines as human neurons. Surely this must affect the
probability that is assigned to the question of whether ants are able
to experience things like pain in a similar way that humans do. It
certainly seems to me to be significant.

So how does this extra information show up in your assessment of ant

Again, it seems to me that SSA arguments are better than nothing. But
their usefulness fades quickly as more sources of data become
available. They might be a good first stab at answering a question,
but ideally will never be the final word.

For instance, why would I believe your argument over something like

Fish Feel Pain, Study Finds

When you hook a fish, does it hurt? Yes, a new study suggests.

Some researchers have previously concluded that fish react to painful
stimuli without actually feeling pain in the conscious way humans do.

In the new study, researchers gave morphine to one group of fish, and
injected the other group with a placebo (saline). Then the fish were
treated to burning sensations that were expected to be painful but
which did not damage any fish tissue.

Both groups reacted the same, by wriggling.

However, the fish that had been on morphine later went on about
business as if nothing had happened. The fish that had gotten the
saline were wary after the test.

"They acted with defensive behaviors, indicating wariness, or fear and
anxiety," said Joseph Garner, an assistant professor at Purdue

"The experiment shows that fish do not only respond to painful stimuli
with reflexes, but change their behavior also after the event," said
Janicke Nordgreen, a doctoral student in the Norwegian School of
Veterinary Science. "Together with what we know from experiments
carried out by other groups, this indicates that the fish consciously
perceive the test situation as painful and switch to behaviors
indicative of having been through an aversive experience."

A study last month indicated that crabs feel pain, too.

Garner and Nordgreen published their results in the online version of
the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Garner figures the morphine blocked the experience of pain, but not
behavioral responses to the heat stimulus itself, either because the
responses were reflexive or because the morphine blocked the
experience of pain, but not the experience of an unusual stimulus.

"If you think back to when you have had a headache and taken a
painkiller, the pain may go away, but you can still feel the presence
or discomfort of the headache," Garner said.

"The goldfish that did not get morphine experienced this painful,
stressful event. Then two hours later, they turned that pain into fear
like we do," Garner said. "To me, it sounds an awful lot like how we
experience pain."

Then again, scientist don't fully understand pain in humans. It is
felt when electrical signals are sent from nerve endings to your
brain, which in turn can release painkillers called endorphins and
generate physical and emotional reactions. The details remain unclear,
which his why so many people suffer chronic pain with no relief.

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at
Received on Sat May 02 2009 - 00:22:33 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:15 PST