Science show on consciousness, with Alan Moore




You say enhanced I saw made laughable by the insane babbling of writer with an overblown ego and a tendency of pulling facts and theories out of his ass.


I want a show on consciousness, with Daniel Dennett.


Not a fan, then?


Of his writing, yes. Of listening to him endlessly prattle on about bullshit theories about society and consciousness, no. I’m not one to listen to crazy people jsut because they have talent in other fields.


C’mon, give it a break – it does quite well for a human/yeti hybrid…


This episode of TIMC was less objectionable than most. I enjoy listening to Moore pontificate. What annoyed me was the citation of the Eagleman study, which tested the possibility that human perception “speeds up” under stress. They used a visual tool to measure this and didn’t get a result.

For over 100 years we’ve taken advantage of the time-perception limitations of vision to entertain ourselves. When films get exciting, people don’t suddenly notice how jerky things are, so why should our perception of numbers get any more discerning while falling? 120Hz CRT refresh rates (as opposed to 60Hz) were a thing because even very sensitive persons were “fooled” by that relatively slow frequency.

Eagleman tested sight because that’s how he remembered his childhood fall from the roof, but our auditory senses are much more discerning in the moment. Perhaps the idea that the effect is visual is a fallacy. Experienced mechanics, for example, are able to discern subtle misfiring and other transitory (not periodic) phenomenon that are too fast to see on the screen of an old non-recording scope. Touch may be quicker as well (though more delayed from travel through the PNS), using similar processing. Smell not so much. That’s probably a quality/emotional thing rather than a space/time thing.

But in the several years since this flawed study came out has anyone tested other senses or even mentioned the fact that Eagleman was attempting to measure something that isn’t really measurable? Even though our vision can’t keep up, our brain may speed up it’s survival processing and we may be able to measure it using auditory or kinesthetic cues (same sense widgets) rather than visual. As one of the monkeys on the show mentioned, we create memories more quickly in those circumstances. Something really is going on when we’re in physical danger.


Yes. Adrenalin. Lots of it.
AKA epinephrine, adrenaline, or 4,5-β-trihydroxy-N-methylphenethylamine.
It is a hormone and a neurotransmitter. Among functions in the body like regulating heart rate, blood vessel and air passage diameters, metabolic shifts, the release of adrenalin is a crucial component of the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system.
Fight-or-flight is sort of hardwired in our reptilian brain. The adrenalin rush helps to make a fast decision whether to tackle an acute threat or to run away from it. Very usefull in actual physical danger when there is no time to sit down, have a nice cup of tea and think about the problem.
Not so usefull in modern time situations like ‘my boss is yelling at me’. See also: stress related illness/disorder.


I should have been more specific. There is something going on with perception, due to stimulus (adrenaline etc.), which changes the way it works. It is measurable in the creation of memories and could maybe be measured more fundamentally through using perception of auditory or kinaesthetic cues.


My guess is that one thing (among who knows how many others) that happens is that some of the filters and funnels in our internal reality-to-perception-interface are bypassed.


I like his idea that what he calls ‘bardic magic’ has become PR/advertising. And as a kid born long enough ago to buy the first 2000AD with his pocket money, I can forgive one of its most eminent figures a pass. Plus, well, I did a lot of acid too, y’know?


It’s strange that you should have drawn this conclusion from the podcast in question as in fact a lot of the discussion that takes place is driven by the concepts that Alan introduces.
Many of the points made and branches of the conversation are extrapolations on or more scientific restating of his points.


While interacting in our day-to-day life, we need to act or react to bodily processes and the happenings in the world, sometimes instantly, to provide us beneficial outcomes.

Consciousness is designed by the evolutionary process to allow data from such interactions that requires judgmental power to become available for making decisions, thereby benefiting from the capability of making free will decisions. To understand how interactions are continuously scrutinized for the requirement of judgmental power and how free will decisions are made, visit


I once heard this basic idea from Paul Churchland: that the adaptive utility of consciousness begins with assessing ambiguous sense-data.

I’ve found Thomas Metzinger very interesting on the fusion of philosophy of mind with neuroscience and experimental psychology; a lot of what was mentioned in this discussion, I read discussed in much more detail in Metzinger. What I found most appealing about Metzinger’s theory is that it goes a long way towards explaining the centrality of narrative in culture. In Metzinger, consciousness is above all a matter of constructing simulations of worlds, and comparing them; ordinarily, we can easily keep track of which one is the primary simulation, the real one, through an innate awareness of the processes of our body.

Moore talked a bit about the feature of consciousness that allows us to identify with alien beings. I would have liked to hear more from him on that train of thought.

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