The Science of thoughts?
Hello everyone, I came upon this site when I was using google to look something up about a Geology paper I got back today. First of all, it's a pretty simple high school class and one question on the paper that tried to make the student emphasize the difference between what is matter and what is not. The question went sort of like this -
Is your brain matter? Are your thoughts and ideas also matter, please explain why or why not.
I answered the first part obviously and the second part, although I knew what the question was going for, I decided to make a point about thoughts also being matter. I expressed this in the small answer by talking about how thoughts and memories are stored in molecular proteins in the brain and that this makes them obviously matter. I got a half point off (out of 4, she did kind of recognize my argument) and it sparked a debate at the end of class with her.
I plan to write a small paper and give it to her since we don't have the time to debate in class and I was wondering if anyone could help me a few of my points. My two points are thoughts ARE quantifiable, and thoughts ARE matter/not just the electrical impulse.
She asked if I considered the electrical impulses in a computer to be matter, and I said no, so she went on to say that I can't call thoughts matter because they are electrical impulses in the brain. I disagree that a "thought" is just an electrical impulse. What I know of thoughts is that they are steeped in human conscience, every thought I have is bound to be more developed than a simple electrical impulse, as it also holds my perceptions of things and my senses, which places the thought as matter because it has to be developed in the brain to what you are thinking, and not just a simple electrical impulse.
Such as how one bit, just one binary string is never the entire "thought" but just a tiny section of a packet of information that builds something much larger. Not to mention that in the simplest of terms, bits are so quantifiable they make your head hurt (Behold the IP address). These simple electric impulses sent through the computer carry vast arrays of info in just 1's and 0's, but are virtually worthless without the hardware (Brain matter) and what it can do, such as memory latches in a RAM stick that hold strings of data like molecular short term memory, to the "writing" of this data to a magnetic disk to be read later such as the processes of forming long term memories in the brain.
I've yet to look into how the brain actually makes a thought and memory, but I've read articles which try to place a brain's storage based on molecular processes in the brain.
One other matter around the idea is one another teacher brought up. She'd compare my assertion of thought to be matter, to me having to be able to quantify the thought. She'd keep using an old idea of weighing someone at death to try and find the weight of their soul, and comparing my simple scientific idea to Phrenology, and was honestly pissing me off.
The more I think about this specific idea though, logically, thoughts would have to be quantifiable. They are specific biochemical functions in the brain and are no less subjective to varying factors than say, a physics equation. I can't think of any actual example to give with the basest idea of quantifying thoughts but to a degree I think of an fMRI machine. These can basically be used as virtual lie detectors because they can see exactly what parts of your brain you're using to form the thoughts you're turning into speech, and even get a plain idea of what you're thinking based upon pictures you're being shown.
I contend that anything you ever actually THINK of, is the result of complex biochemical processes in the brain based upon perception. I am not comfortable saying that the complex abilities we have put together to be able to think, is no different than shooting a signal into your leg muscle to kick.
If anyone can tell me more about how the brain makes thoughts/memory or if you have any scientific studies or peer-reviewed literature, that would be great