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The term “consciousness” does not meet the scientific criteria

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In psychology and psychiatry one of the most heavily used terms is “consciousness”.
However let’s raise a simple question: is there any laboratory test which can determine if the concrete object X (man/animal/etc) has consciousness or not? What is the exact list of features which would prove that object X has consciousness? How can we be sure that object X has consciousness or not? As for example, does the amoeba have consciousness or not?
The inconvenient truth is that psychologists/psychiatrists are unable to provide the exact list of features which prove that object X has consciousness, psychologists/psychiatrists are unable to provide any experimental test which would enable to determine if object X has consciousness or not.
If you don’t believe that this is true then here is a little exercise for you personally: where is the evidence that you have consciousness? Please provide at least one evidence that you have consciousness, please provide at least one evidence that you are not the agent without consciousness.
Below is the definition of “agent” from Wikipedia, a good example of “agents” are computer game characters. The agent can interact with environment while being without any consciousness, for interaction with environment the consciousness is not needed. When agent without consciousness interacting with environment is observed by the outside observer, the observer might incorrectly conclude that this agent has consciousness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_agent
In artificial intelligence, an intelligent agent (IA) is an autonomous entity which observes through sensors and acts upon an environment using actuators (i.e. it is an agent) and directs its activity towards achieving goals (i.e. it is rational). Intelligent agents may also learn or use knowledge to achieve their goals. They may be very simple or very complex: a reflex machine such as a thermostat is an intelligent agent, as is a human being, as is a community of human beings working together towards a goal.
Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie
A philosophical zombie or p-zombie in the philosophy of mind and perception is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except in that it lacks conscious experience, qualia, or sentience. For example, a philosophical zombie could be poked with a sharp object, and not feel any pain sensation, but yet, behave exactly as if it does feel pain (it may say "ouch" and recoil from the stimulus, or say that it is in intense pain).
Wikipedia

People usually think that it is very easy to prove that “I have consciousness” and they provide a whole bunch of “proofs”, however it is very easy to show that all these “proofs” are incorrect and contain multiple errors.
Here are several typical examples of such erroneous “proofs”.

1) “I can feel pain and I respond to pain, as for example when my finger is cut, I remove the finger and this proves that I have consciousness”.
Let’s rephrase this argument in more scientific way: “my reaction to stimulus proves that I have consciousness”. Let’s raise a simple question: is it really so? Does reaction to stimulus really prove that object has consciousness? We will remind how the fire alarm system works. Fire alarm system has sensors for detecting fire, and when these sensors detect fire or smoke – the fire alarm system reacts instantaneously by sprinkling the water, sounding the alarm and/or accomplishing some other actions. I.e. the fire alarm system has a property of being able to respond to stimulus. However does this mean that fire alarm system has consciousness? As we can clearly see from the example with fire alarm system, “reaction to stimulus” is not the proof consciousness.

2) “I can have emotions/feelings and this proves that I have consciousness”.
“The having of emotions/feelings” – is it really the proof of having consciousness? Ok, then what about computer game characters who have emotions/feelings – does this mean that computer game characters have consciousness? As we can clearly see from the example with computer game characters, “having of emotions/feelings” is not the proof consciousness.

http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Emotion
Emotion is a gameplay feature introduced in The Sims 4. Emotion is a core part of a Sim's simology. Emotion is similar to mood, but is more easily affected by in-game events and social interactions with other Sims. The current emotional state of a Sim is depicted in the lower left corner of the screen while playing. It is also noted that some objects in-game can affect the emotions of some Sims, though the Sim has to already be feeling a particular way in order for an object to affect them emotionally. Sims that are severely emotional can die from their emotions.
There are several ranges of emotions. Sims may reach one stage of an emotion and then progress to a second, more extreme stage of the same emotion. For instance, a Sim that is embarrassed may become very embarrassed. Sims that become extremely emotional may eventually suffer an emotional death.
The Sims Wiki

http://www.carls-sims-4-guide.com/emotions
List of emotions in Sims 4 <...>
Good Emotions: Happy; Confident; Energized; Fine - Neutral State; Flirty; Focused; Inspired; Playful
Bad/Negative Emotions: Angry - not necessarily bad for Criminals or Mischievous Sims; Bored; Dazed - Not necessarily bad; Embarrassed; Sad; Tense; Uncomfortable
Carl’s Sims 4 Guide

http://flylib.com/books/en/2.71.1.2/1/
Part VI: Emotions
Chapter 36. Emotive Creatures
<...>
 -- From Emotions to Artificial Intelligence
 -- Human/Machine Interaction
 -- Emotion in Games
<...>
Chapter 37. Sensations, Emotions, and Feelings
 -- Sensations
 -- Emotions
 -- Interfaces for Communicating Emotions
 -- Portraying Emotions in Games
<...>
Chapter 39. Under the Influence
 -- Designing Artificial Emotions
 -- Finite-State Module Development
 -- Creating Emotions as Finite States
 <...>
Chapter 42. An Emotional System
 -- Hierarchical Architecture Overview
 -- Modeling Feelings
 -- Improved Sensations
 -- Accumulating Emotions
 -- Revealing Emotions with Mannerisms
 -- Mood Hierarchies
AI Game Development: Synthetic Creatures with Learning and Reactive Behaviors
By Alex J. Champandard
New Riders Publishing. November 21, 2003

3) “I can play music and this proves that I have consciousness”.
“The playing of music” – is it really the proof of having consciousness? Ok, then what about people who are unable to play music – are these people without consciousness or not?

4) “I can recognize myself in the mirror and this proves that I have consciousness”.
“Recognizing yourself in the mirror” (a.k.a. mirror self-recognition test) – is it really the proof of having consciousness? Ok, then what about blind people/monkey/etc who are unable to recognize themselves in the mirror – are they without consciousness or not? And what about robots who are able to recognize themselves in the mirror – does this mean that robots have consciousness?

http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/artificial-intelligence/qbo-passes-mirror-test-is-therefore-selfaware
Qbo robot passes mirror test, is therefore self-aware
by Evan Ackerman
IEEE Spectrum. 6 December 2011

5) “I have goals and I achieve my goals and this proves that I have consciousness”.
Let’s raise a simple question: is it really so? Does “having goals and achieving goals” really prove that object has consciousness? Artificial intelligent agents, like for example computer game characters, have goals and they are achieving goals too. However does this mean that computer game characters have consciousness? As we can clearly see from the example with computer game characters, “having goals and achieving goals” is not the proof consciousness.

6) “Machines/computers/robots can only imitate that they have consciousness, however only humans have true-consciousness.”
Let’s raise a simple question: is it really so? Please provide at least one evidence that you are not the imitation of consciousness, please provide at least one evidence you have true-consciousness.
Your claim “I have true-consciousness” is not the proof of having true-consciousness, because the machine can also claim the same statement that it has true-consciousness.

7) The list of “proofs” might be endless, however in every case it is very easy to show that every “proof” is incorrect.


The truth is that you cannot provide any evidence which would prove that you have consciousness. There is no experimental test which would enable to determine if object X has consciousness or not. In other words, there are no scientific criteria to determine if object X has consciousness or not, which means that the term “consciousness” is totally useless unnecessary ballast for describing and modeling of the behavior of living organism.
People who use term “consciousness” are unable to provide scientific definition of the term “consciousness”, they are unable to provide the list of criteria (the list of features) which would allow to determine if object X has consciousness or not. When a man uses a term/word which he is unable to define then it is quite obvious that such man does not understand himself what he is talking about, it is obvious that his speech is meaningless by definition.
The term “consciousness” is unscientific and has nothing to do with science. The term “consciousness” is pure pseudoscience and has no scientific basis whatsoever – you do not agree with that? Ok, in case if you disagree then please go back to our little exercise – where is the evidence that you have consciousness? Please provide at least one evidence that you have consciousness, please provide at least one evidence that you are not the agent without consciousness. And please do not come back until you have at least one evidence that you have consciousness.
It is important to note however that pseudoscientific term “consciousness” is so deeply rooted into society that this makes almost impossible to avoid it when discussing the functioning of the brain. In Neurocluster Brain Model we use pseudoscientific term “consciousness” only for legacy reasons in order to simplify comprehension of material for the reader – sometimes a little inaccuracy saves a ton of explanation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solipsism
Solipsism (/ˈsɒlᵻpsɪzəm/; from Latin solus, meaning 'alone', and ipse, meaning 'self') is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist.
<...>
Psychology and psychiatry
<...> Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud stated that other minds are not known, but only inferred to exist. He stated "consciousness makes each of us aware only of his own states of mind; that other people, too, possess a consciousness is an inference which we draw by analogy from their observable utterances and actions, in order to make this behavior of theirs intelligible to us. (It would no doubt be psychologically more correct to put it in this way: that without any special reflection we attribute to everyone else our own constitution and therefore our consciousness as well, and that this identification is a sine qua non of understanding)."
<...>
Philosophical Zombie
The theory of solipsism crosses over with the theory of the philosophical zombie in that all other seemingly conscious beings actually lack true consciousness, instead they only display traits of consciousness to the observer, who is the only conscious being there is.

Falsifiability and testability
Solipsism is not a falsifiable hypothesis as described by Karl Popper or Imre Lakatos: there does not seem to be an imaginable disproof. <...>
Wikipedia

And by the way, if speaking about tests – in computer science there is such thing as “Turing test”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_test
The Turing test is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. In the original illustrative example, a human judge engages in natural language conversations with a human and a machine designed to generate performance indistinguishable from that of a human being. All participants are separated from one another. If the judge cannot reliably tell the machine from the human, the machine is said to have passed the test. The test does not check the ability to give the correct answer to questions; it checks how closely the answer resembles typical human answers. The conversation is limited to a text-only channel such as a computer keyboard and screen so that the result is not dependent on the machine's ability to render words into audio.
The test was introduced by Alan Turing in his 1950 paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," which opens with the words: "I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?'" Because "thinking" is difficult to define, Turing chooses to "replace the question by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words." Turing's new question is: "Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?" This question, Turing believed, is one that can actually be answered. In the remainder of the paper, he argued against all the major objections to the proposition that "machines can think".
In the years since 1950, the test has proven to be both highly influential and widely criticized, and it is an essential concept in the philosophy of artificial intelligence.
Wikipedia

A lot of scientists write a computer programs which try to pass a Turing test, as for example one of the best human chat simulating program is “A.L.I.C.E.”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_Linguistic_Internet_Computer_Entity
A.L.I.C.E. (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity), also referred to as Alicebot, or simply Alice, is a natural language processing chatterbot—a program that engages in a conversation with a human by applying some heuristical pattern matching rules to the human's input, and in its online form it also relies on a hidden third person. It was inspired by Joseph Weizenbaum's classical ELIZA program. It is one of the strongest programs of its type and has won the Loebner Prize, awarded to accomplished humanoid, talking robots, three times (in 2000, 2001 and 2004). However, the program is unable to pass the Turing test, as even the casual user will often expose its mechanistic aspects in short conversations.
Wikipedia

However let’s raise a simple question: and what about human who fails to pass the Turing test (like for example man with Down's syndrome, an infant, etc)? How we should call a human who fails to pass the Turing test? What word/term we should use for denoting a human who fails to pass the Turing test? If a human fails to pass Turing test then this raises a simple question: “does such human have consciousness or not?”. As we can clearly see from the above examples, the Turing test is unable to determine if the object has consciousness or not. There is not a single scientific tool which would be able to test for the existence of consciousness which means that the term “consciousness” is 100% pseudoscientific term.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvin_Minsky
Marvin Lee Minsky (August 9, 1927 – January 24, 2016) was an American cognitive scientist concerned largely with research of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AI laboratory, and author of several texts concerning AI and philosophy.<...>
He was a critic of the Loebner Prize for conversational robots.
Minsky believed that there is no fundamental difference between humans and machines, and that humans are machines whose "intelligence" emerges from the interplay of the many unintelligent but semi-autonomous agents that comprise the brain. He has stated that "somewhere down the line, some computers will become more intelligent than most people," but that it's very hard to predict how fast progress will be. He has cautioned that an artificial superintelligence designed to solve an innocuous mathematical problem might decide to assume control of Earth's resources to build supercomputers to help achieve its goal, but believed that such negative scenarios are "hard to take seriously" because he was confident AI would go through "a lot of testing" before being deployed.
Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loebner_Prize
The Loebner Prize is an annual competition in artificial intelligence that awards prizes to the computer programs considered by the judges to be the most human-like. The format of the competition is that of a standard Turing test. In each round, a human judge simultaneously holds textual conversations with a computer program and a human being via computer. Based upon the responses, the judge must decide which is which.
<...>
Criticisms
The prize has long been scorned by experts in the field, for a variety of reasons.
It is regarded by many as a publicity stunt. Marvin Minsky scathingly offered a "prize" to anyone who could stop the competition. The criticism was reinforced when Loebner, resorting to word-play, claimed that Minsky's offering a prize to stop the competition made him a co-sponsor!
Wikipedia

We will explain in more detail the essence of the problem.
Suppose we are sending a probe to a distant planet and the task of the probe is to find out whether there are any objects which have consciousness on this distant planet. In order to solve this problem the onboard computer of the probe needs to contain an algorithm/program, which would test the objects on this distant planet for the presence of the consciousness. We need a detailed list of diagnostic features which would allow to determine whether the object X has consciousness or not.

Wikipedia provides the summary of the endeavors of the pseudoscientists trying to define the term “consciousness”:
1) Question: what is the “consciousness”, how can we detect if object X has consciousness or not? Answer: object X has consciousness ONLY IF it has awareness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness
Consciousness is the quality or state of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.
Wikipedia

2) Question: what is the “awareness”, how can do we detect if object X has awareness or not? Answer: object X has awareness ONLY IF it has consciousness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awareness
Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, thoughts, emotions, or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding.
Wikipedia

In other words: 1) object X has consciousness ONLY IF it has awareness, 2) object X has awareness ONLY IF it has consciousness.
It is obvious that these definitions are circular/recursive definitions. However circular/recursive definitions are meaningless by definition and have nothing to do with science, here is one practical example of such meaningless circular/recursive definition: “To define recursion, we must first define recursion.”

And now let’s raise the question: do such “definitions” of “consciousness” provide any help in making of the algorithm/program which would be able to test the objects for the presence of the consciousness?
Obviously, the answer is “no”.
It is obvious that such “definitions” have nothing to do with science; such blabber is simply the claptrap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGekFhbyQLk

Neil deGrasse on consciousness
Length: 1 minute

It is important to note that many people have no clue whatsoever about what the word “scientific” means. This is due to the simple reason.
Universities have huge number of faculties which actually have nothing to do with science. As for example, many universities have “faculty of theology” or “faculty of literature”, and so on. And these “faculties” issue diplomas with academic degrees like “master”, “doctor”, “professor”, etc. And what is the activity of such “professors of theology”, what do they do? They study the superstitious writings called “sacred scriptures” and then debate each other about what did Jesus/Muhammad/Krishna/etc said and who is superior over whom – Jesus is superior to Muhammad or vice versa. They can debate whatever they want, however that is not science, this activity does not meet the scientific criteria. And then such people from universities with academic degrees write books, give lectures, talk on TV/radio, etc – they simply flood the society with their claptrap material. When average common people read/listen to this claptrap material they get the false impression that this material is “science” – and this is due simple reason: the authors of that claptrap material have scientific academic degrees. As the result of this, majority of the population are totally incapable to distinguish science from pseudoscience. As the result of this, they are totally incapable to detect circular/recursive definitions and they are totally incapable to understand that circular/recursive definitions are meaningless by definition. That is a huge problem in society.
The article “What is science and what isn't science?” contains more detailed instructions about how to distinguish science from pseudoscience.

Quite often, the same identical terms/words have different meanings in different fields/professions.
As for example, the same identical term/word “syncope” in various fields/professions has the following meanings:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncope
Syncope may refer to one of the following:
   ● Syncope (medicine), also known as fainting
   ● Syncope (phonology), the loss of one or more sounds, particularly an unstressed vowel, from the interior of a word
   ● Syncopation, a musical effect caused by off-beat or otherwise unexpected rhythms
   ● Suspension, in music
   ● Syncope (genus), a genus of microhylidae frogs
Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncopation_(dance)
The terms syncopation and syncopated step in dancing are used in two senses:
1. The first definition matches the musical term: stepping on (or otherwise emphasizing) an unstressed beat. For example, ballroom Cha cha is a syncopated dance in this sense, because the basic step "breaks on two." When dancing to the disparate threads contained within the music, hands, torso, and head can independently move in relation to a thread, creating a fluidly syncopated performance of the music.
2. The word "syncopation" is often used by dance teachers to mean improvised or rehearsed execution of step patterns that have more rhythmical nuances than "standard" step patterns. It takes advanced dancing skill to dance syncopations in this sense. Advanced dancing of West Coast Swing and the Lindy Hop makes heavy use of "syncopation" in this sense (although swing music and swing dances feature the "usual" syncopation, i.e., emphasising the even beats).
Wikipedia

The same situation is with the word “consciousness”.
In medicine, the term/word “consciousness” means the “neurological/physiological state/condition”.

https://www.researchgate.net/...assessment_of_the_non-trauma_patient
The Glasgow Coma Score is widely used by Paramedics to assess the neurological state of all patients.
ResearchGate

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/arp/2010/241307/
The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a standard means of assessment of the neurological state.
Preoperative Assessment of Adult Patients for Intracranial Surgery
By Vanitha Sivanaser and Pirjo Manninen
Anesthesiology Research and Practice. Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 241307, 11 pages

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow_Coma_Scale
The Glasgow Coma Scale or GCS is a neurological scale that aims to give a reliable, objective way of recording the conscious state of a person for initial as well as subsequent assessment. A patient is assessed against the criteria of the scale, and the resulting points give a patient score between 3 (indicating deep unconsciousness) and either 14 (original scale) or 15 (the more widely used modified or revised scale).
GCS was initially used to assess level of consciousness after head injury, and the scale is now used by first aid, EMS, nurses and doctors as being applicable to all acute medical and trauma patients. In hospitals it is also used in monitoring chronic patients in intensive care.
The scale was published in 1974 by Graham Teasdale and Bryan J. Jennett, professors of neurosurgery at the University of Glasgow's Institute of Neurological Sciences at the city's Southern General Hospital.
GCS is used as part of several ICU scoring systems, including APACHE II, SAPS II, and SOFA, to assess the status of the central nervous system, as it was designed for. The initial indication for use of the GCS was serial assessments of patients with traumatic brain injury and coma for at least 6 hours in the neurosurgical ICU setting, though it is commonly used throughout hospital departments. A similar scale, the Rancho Los Amigos Scale is used to assess the recovery of traumatic brain injury patients.
Wikipedia

When medics talk about “consciousness”, they mean the “neurological/physiological state/condition” and such meaning of the term/word matches the scientific criteria.

When religious adepts, who mimic “scientists”, talk about “consciousness”, they mean the object called “consciousness” (“one that is looking at the screen”, “one that hears/sees/feels/etc”) – this meaning of the term/word does not meet the scientific criteria, this is pure pseudoscience.

http://henry.olders.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/1982/03/Olders-1982-3445.pdf
no satisfactory explanation exists for how an individual is consciously aware of what he perceives.
F.H.C. Crick (1979) recounted his difficulty in attempting to convince an intelligent woman of this problem. She failed to understand why anyone thought there was a problem, feeling that she probably had somewhere inside her head something like a little television set, until he asked, "So who is looking at it?"
Biology and psychiatry: some missing pieces in the puzzle. Academic Seminar
By Henry Olders, M.D. Jewish General Hospital. Institute of Community &Family Psychiatry. 26 March, 1982

http://www.nytimes.com/1982/01/24/magazine/how-the-mind-works.html?pagewanted=all
Perhaps the most intractable of the old problems of the mind has been the question of the homunculus. Who or what is that? Let me quote Sir Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double helix, who now is doing research in neurobiology. Writing in Scientific American, he tells of trying to explain to an intelligent woman why it was puzzling that we perceive anything at all: ''She could not see why there was a problem. Finally in despair I asked her how she herself thought she saw the world. She replied that she probably had somewhere in her head something like a little television set. 'So who,' I asked, 'is looking at it?' She now saw the problem immediately.''
How the mind works
By Morton Hunt. The New York Times. January 24, 1982

It is important to note that: 1) the “physiological state” called “consciousness” and 2) the object (“observer”) that has the name “consciousness” – are two different things.
Quite often, the same identical terms/words have different meanings in different fields/professions – the term/word “consciousness” is exactly such a case.

We will remind that religious adepts, who mimic “scientists”, publish articles/books/theses/etc about “consciousness” at industrial scale in which “consciousness” is meant as an object that can be transferred (“transfer of consciousness/mind into another system”, etc.).
Moreover, extremely illiterate religious adepts even claim that “consciousness is located inside quantum microtubules”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_consciousness
Artificial consciousness (AC), also known as machine consciousness (MC) or synthetic consciousness <...>, is a field related to artificial intelligence and cognitive robotics.
Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_uploading
Whole brain emulation (WBE) or mind uploading (sometimes called "mind copying" or "mind transfer") is the hypothetical process of scanning mental state (including long-term memory and "self") of a particular brain substrate and copying it to a computational device, such as a digital, analog, quantum-based or software-based artificial neural network. The computational device could then run a simulation model of the brain information processing, such that it responds in essentially the same way as the original brain (i.e., indistinguishable from the brain for all relevant purposes) and experiences having a conscious mind.
Mind uploading may potentially be accomplished by either of two methods: Copy-and-Transfer or Gradual Replacement of neurons. In the case of the former method, mind uploading would be achieved by scanning and mapping the salient features of a biological brain, and then by copying, transferring, and storing that information state into a computer system or another computational device. The simulated mind could be within a virtual reality or simulated world, supported by an anatomic 3D body simulation model. Alternatively, the simulated mind could reside in a computer that's inside (or connected to) a (not necessarily humanoid) robot or a biological body.
Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind
The quantum mind or quantum consciousness hypothesis proposes that classical mechanics cannot explain consciousness. It posits that quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum entanglement and superposition, may play an important part in the brain's function and could form the basis of an explanation of consciousness. It is not a single theory, but a collection of hypotheses.<...>
Criticism
The main argument against the quantum mind proposition is that quantum states in the brain would decohere before they reached a spatial or temporal scale at which they could be useful for neural processing. This argument was elaborated by the physicist, Max Tegmark.
Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Hameroff
Stuart Hameroff (born July 16, 1947) is an anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Arizona known for his studies of consciousness. <...>
Hameroff was inspired by Penrose's book to contact Penrose regarding his own theories about the mechanism of anesthesia, and how it specifically targets consciousness via action on neural microtubules. The two met in 1992, and Hameroff suggested that the microtubules were a good candidate site for a quantum mechanism in the brain.
Wikipedia

It is interesting to note that a lot of pseudoscientists claim that high level of intelligence (or the possession of “consciousness”) is needed in order to possess abstraction capabilities, however it is very easy to disprove this claim.
We will remind that all organisms are able to distinguish “food” from “non-food”.
However “food” and “non-food” are abstract objects.
And that means that all organisms have abstraction capabilities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstraction
Abstraction in its main sense is a conceptual process by which general rules and concepts are derived from the usage and classification of specific examples, literal ("real" or "concrete") signifiers, first principles, or other methods. "An abstraction" is the product of this process — a concept that acts as a super-categorical noun for all subordinate concepts, and connects any related concepts as a group, field, or category.
Conceptual abstractions may be formed by filtering the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon, selecting only the aspects which are relevant for a particular purpose. For example, abstracting a leather soccer ball to the more general idea of a ball selects only the information on general ball attributes and behavior, eliminating the other characteristics of that particular ball. In a type–token distinction, a type (e.g., a 'ball') is more abstract than its tokens (e.g., 'that leather soccer ball').
Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstract_and_concrete
Abstract and concrete are classifications that denote whether a term describes an object with a physical referent or one with no physical referents.
<…>
Examples of abstract and concrete objects
Abstract Concrete
Tennis A tennis match
Redness The red coloring of an apple
Five Five cars
Wikipedia

Below is the classical typical example of pseudoscientific claims about “consciousness”.
Pseudoscientists Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi claim that “any system with integrated information different from zero has consciousness”.
In other words, pseudoscientists Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi claim that CD-ROM disk and USB flash drive do have consciousness. It is quite obvious that pseudoscientists Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi do lack neurons in the brain areas responsible for logical thinking.

http://www.wired.com/2013/11/christof-koch-panpsychism-consciousness/
Where does consciousness come from? We know it exists, at least in ourselves. But how it arises from chemistry and electricity in our brains is an unsolved mystery.
Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he might know the answer.
<...>
Koch: There’s a theory, called Integrated Information Theory, developed by Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin, that assigns to any one brain, or any complex system, a number — denoted by the Greek symbol of Φ — that tells you how integrated a system is, how much more the system is than the union of its parts. Φ gives you an information-theoretical measure of consciousness. Any system with integrated information different from zero has consciousness. Any integration feels like something WIRED: Ecosystems are interconnected.
A Neuroscientist’s Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious
By Brandon Keim. Wired. November 14, 2013

“Consciousness” is the hallucinatory object that exists only in the imagination of the religious adepts, and this hallucinatory object has nothing to do with science for a very simple reason – there is no laboratory test which can determine if the concrete object X has consciousness or not. In other words, there are no scientific criteria for determining whether the object X has consciousness or not.
“Consciousness” is the hallucinatory object similar to hallucinatory objects like “chakras”, “astral cord”, "energy egg", all sorts of subtle bodies (etheric, astral, mental, buddhic, atmic, and so on), etc.
The arguments about the existence of the “soul/spirit” and the arguments about the existence of the “consciousness” – both are identical, there is no difference between them.

The article “What is science and what isn't science?” contains more detailed instructions about how to distinguish science from pseudoscience.


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