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Previous: 27.4 Awareness in animals and plants Up: 27. Consciousness Next: 27.6 Parapsychology

27.5 Timing issues

Experiments in measuring electrical signals from the brain have recently cast doubt on the role of consciousness in making decisions in humans. Experiments by Libet et al. (1983) found that onset of an electrically observable cerebral process (the readiness potential, or RP) preceded the appearance of the subject’s awareness of the conscious wish to act, by at least 350 msec. That appears to indicate, Libet claims, that the volitional process is initiated unconsciously.

The scenario and subject consciousness used in these experiments has been examined in more detail by Batthyany (2009), who shows that the subjects were asked to be a state of intention to make a random finger movement at some later time. That first intentional state, even if it did not yet include a specific decision, was therefore existing for some period of time before the final result. With theistic science, we know that states of intention are states of love or desire to act, and that the persistence of such states must be maintained by patterns of neural activity. We can surmise that these neural patterns can be detected, as very plausibly of the form for which Fingelkurts et al. (2010) cite experimental evidence, and are hence very likely to be what Libet has measured.


Previous: 27.4 Awareness in animals and plants Up: 27. Consciousness Next: 27.6 Parapsychology

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