Our body can be controlled by external forces in the universe

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010



For a man who thinks he's a robot, Professor Patrick Haggard is remarkably cheerful about it. "We definitely do not want freedom," says leading British neurologist "Not in the sense that we think.". It's a way to an interview to begin.


We are at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Queen Square in London, the center - if you like - Brain Research UK. Professor Haggard demonstrate "transcranial magnetic stimulation, a technique that uses magnetic coils his brain and body control to get one of his research assistant, Christina Fuentes, a paddle-shaped loop near. His head, moving it slightly" If we succeed, it can cause anything .. "She pressed a switch and activates the coil with a single click. shaking hands Professor Haggard." It's not my doing, "he assured me," it. "

The machine can not force something very complex Prof Haggard to do - "You can not have me sign my name, he said, almost with regret - but at a time, Christina is able to index up slightly move as a tutor . It is a very fine control of the brain, especially in command of a body part. "It's quite a detailed map of the wiring of the brain to the body that you can build," he said.

I look like Christina controls Professor Haggard fingers like a puppet. The mechanical nature of this concern. A chart on a screen showing his muscle activity plotted by time, 20 milliseconds after clicking the button, it is an attractive and drop jump, like a heartbeat on an EKG. That 20 milliseconds is the time it takes for the signal to travel along nerves. The conduction time is less than my jaw muscles, more than my leg muscles, "he said, like many of us recognize, the process is less efficient with age .. "The older I get, the curve gradually moves to the right on the chart"

The idea that our body can be controlled by an external force is amazing. "It is absolutely beyond my control," says Professor Haggard, his muscles continue to move. "I do not, I'm Christina. Just a machine, and its exploitation."

What this means in terms of free will? "We have no free will, in the spiritual sense What you see is the final step of a machine There are many things that happened before this stage plans -.. goals, learning - and that is why we do things more interesting than just wagging fingers But there is no ghost in the machine "..

The findings are shocking, if we are part of the universe and its laws to obey, it is difficult to see where free will comes in. What we think is freedom, "he said, is product complexity." An amoeba has an inlet, an outlet when you connect with a chemical, he swallowed. In another, he recoils.

"If you see a green light, it could mean that the accelerator button, but there are many cases where it is not as mean as the motor did not move, for example, the same stimulus me. Sometimes accelerator to be free but sometimes the horn We are not a people outlet one input, .. we have to face a world in disorder of inputs, a wide variety of products that I think "free" refers to the complexity of this arrangement. "

Gradually, we learn more about the details of this complexity. This, says Professor Haggard, has profound consequences: philosophically, morally, and - most disturbing - is legal. "We understand that the brain areas responsible for the impulsive behavior, and what bits are responsible for inhibiting this behavior. There is a brain network linked all the things you must do to retain.

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