addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Is consciousness the ultimate expression of evolution?

  • Jul 20, 2013 · 6:00 PM

In the course of time and evolution, does the human race - and consciousness, specifically - represent the ultimate expression of biological development? If not, what else does? And what do you think is next for our planet? Will humans evolve beyond consciousness? Will we create a artificial substitution for it, in much the same way that we have artificial limbs and organs? And are other species next in line to achieve it?

I've heard and read some terrific pieces on the subject of consciousness (see below), and this discussion is not intended to be one focused on the nature of consciousness itself. I am more interested in the role it plays in our development and evolution. I'm no expert on it, so I hope some of you fellow Deep Thinkers are.

Decoding 'the Most Complex Object in the Universe' - Science Friday

Being a sandpiper - Aeon Magazine

If you have more information about the topic to post, please do it here and on our Facebook page. I think this will be a fascinating meetup!

 

Yes, we're heading back to the venerable IHOP, but they do treat us well and their private room in back is perfect for us. I sincerely hope you can make it, and I look forward to seeing the gang!

Todd

Join or login to comment.

  • Frank W.

    New Ted talk today about consciousness:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/john_searle_our_shared_condition_consciousness.html

    Go to Ted dot com and search for John Searle. It is actually on the home page right now.

    July 22, 2013

    • Frank W.

      Yes. I didn't really agree with him but it was worth while anyway. I need to watch Dennet's talk again. I agree with him.

      July 25, 2013

  • Shane B.

    Wow! So sorry I missed it - when is the next one?

    July 23, 2013

    • Todd K.

      Should be scheduled by next week sometime. Stay tuned!

      July 24, 2013

  • Todd K.

    Great insights from everyone!

    July 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was nice to hear a couple different definitions of consciousness and intelligence. I enjoyed the exchange of ideas. Every expression was respectful yet independent. The discussions that took place after the meetup was great too. I will definitely attend again.

    July 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    So many thoughts and plenty of respectful discussion. This is quite an exceptional group. I enjoyed it.

    July 21, 2013

  • Christina

    Great meeting!!. I enjoyed meeting all of you :)

    July 20, 2013

  • Al S.

    This best describes my out of body experience;
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoscopy

    I learned a lot and enjoyed the company.

    In Google, the search for "Is consciousness the ultimate expression of evolution?" places Deep Thinkers on the 1st page, at least for me.

    July 20, 2013

  • Larry S.

    Great (as Usual). Stimulatinng conversation and examination of a multitude of new ideas and concepts

    1 · July 20, 2013

  • Todd K.

    Just saw this today and will be referencing it for tonight's discussion, if you have time to watch it:
    http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60241001

    1 · July 20, 2013

  • Jennifer L.

    I keep missing your gatherings and look forward to attending my first discussion. The topics are always stimulating and member comments worth the read.

    July 20, 2013

  • dori

    This sounds like a diverse and creative group. Would love to join in person but I live in the OC and am too lazy to drive on weekends. Enjoyed the discussion blog and posts. The topic reminds me of a program at UCSC called history of consciousness, which emphasizes links between the humanities, arts, philosophy, science, and social activism. Based on those links, then discussion might follow how developments in those fields parallel or reflect the evolution of human consciousness.

    July 19, 2013

  • Joe

    This is interesting, just too far for me at that time.
    I consider consciousness to be the ability to sense and determine NEW information. All life senses and determines an amount of engrained information (genetics, neurons or whatever it is). The extent at which a brain can sense and determine, NEW information, is what differentiates between higher and lower subconscious' or a conscious.
    Subconsciously, beings only want what they perceive comforts them. A conscious however (something I 'think' only we have) allows the being to actually understand the outside information objectively. It lets them (us) deal with reality where no other being is capable.
    If other beings could understand and manipulate reality, trust me there would be some crazy crap going on in the animal kingdom. Since it's same old same old though, it's safe to say they can't.

    July 19, 2013

    • Al S.

      To "manipulate" reality "manus" (Latin) are required. And having an opposing thumb in order to grab a tool or other things. No other species other than humans has hands with opposing thumbs. Some simians may evolve and develop opposing thumbs over thousands of years. Other mammals, wales and dolphins, may have very large and complex brains and perhaps do understand reality and even be conscious. In a not too distant future, computers may also understand reality and may be able to "manipulate" reality and perhaps become conscious. I don't believe that consciousness is a uniquely human characteristic but rather a consequence of a qualitative jump in brain capabilities combined with sensory input and language.

      July 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, cannot get there.

    July 19, 2013

  • Susan

    Speaking of Avian brains - if anyone has any interest, check out my friend, Dr. Irene Pepperberg's research on Avian intelligence, and her work with Alex, an African Grey who was able to show an understanding of the concept of zero, could count, + much, much more. Check out the Alex Foundation.
    But more on topic - this sounds like an excellent meet-up, Todd, and I am so sorry to have to miss it. ENJOY!

    July 19, 2013

  • Stefano

    I think we should start the conversation by defining what is intended by consciousness.
    I am pretty sure we all have our own personal concept of what consciousness is but I think we should have definition that can be agreed upon by everybody
    I think it's a necessary step in order to avoid big misunderstanding.
    Granted, it will be a very generic definition. But, for example, are we going to consider the emotions part of the consciousness or are going to limit ourselves to the rational part of the mind?
    I'd like to know what everybody thinks about this.

    July 15, 2013

    • Todd K.

      I would remind everyone that this is not a discussion about the nature of consciousness, but instead about how - or where - it falls into our understanding of the conventional definition of evolution. It might be a better idea to find the currently-accepted definition of evolution.

      July 15, 2013

    • Stefano

      That is a good point.

      July 15, 2013

  • Alan

    A few strawman assertions: 1) Consciousness can exist without suffering, but suffering can not exist without consciousness. (Unfortunately, I can not define suffering either.) 2) Consciousness is none of its FUNCTIONS, like seeing a tree or learning calculus or feeling emotional pain with your girlfriend breaks up with you--even I personally have been able to meditate with awareness but no thoughts or feelings and no awareness of any THING in particular. You can take any of the functions of consciousness and succeed in implementing the same function in an unconscious machine, I would argue. (This is the famous philosophers' "Zombie Problem.")

    1 · July 15, 2013

    • Alan

      "I think therefore I am," or "I take a crap, therefore I am." (They both say exactly the same thing.) These quotes would be meaningless, useless tautologies which define and explain nothing; give no information whatsoever, if not for our intuition that consciousness is somehow NOT any of its functions, but something more that is behind those functions, which functions could be equally well performed with NO consciousness. In fact, one great question of many evolutionists is, why did consciousness need to appear on the scene in order to evolve successful survival mechanisms?

      1 · July 15, 2013

  • Al S.

    Great subject matter

    July 14, 2013

  • Larry S.

    I will be joining you even if I am unconscious!

    July 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great questions. What will control our evolution more ? Consciousness or technology?

    July 13, 2013

  • John G.

    Neuroanatomist's Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's description of her altered conscience during her own massive stroke. Her vivid presentation in 2008 (link below) became the second most viewed TED talk ever.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTrJqmKoveU

    July 13, 2013

20 went

Our Sponsors

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy