Author Topic: Debate with sense  (Read 6850 times)

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Offline Flisch

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Debate with sense
« on: February 04, 2008, 01:29:30 pm »
Recently I had a discussion with someone, who said that it could be possible for alien organisms to 'see smell' or to 'hear light'.

I on the other hand think, that it doesn't work, because I think that the senses like smell, taste, vision, ... are just illusions. Our visual picture isn't nothing more than light received from various cells combined to one picture after all.
Also, even if it would be possible, where would be the point of having a 3Dimensional picture of your nose with the smells or "vibrating drumheads" due to light exposure?

What do you think? Is it possible? And does it make sense?


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Offline Yannick

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2008, 01:32:27 pm »
How about echolocation? I myself think that the bat's brain forms an image made based on the received sound.

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Offline stuck

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2008, 01:34:15 pm »
Actually, it is a well-documented phenomenon in humans. Certain people's wiring is jumbled up so that they can "see" what they hear. From what I remember, certain musicians have this ability, and a doctor with the condition described seeing a beeping noise as red daggers.

The condition is called syn­aes­the­sia.

http://www.world-science.net/othernews/060907_synaesthesia.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synaesthesia

Offline Huckbuck

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2008, 01:35:22 pm »
Recently I had a discussion with someone, who said that it could be possible for alien organisms to 'see smell' or to 'hear light'.

I on the other hand think, that it doesn't work, because I think that the senses like smell, taste, vision, ... are just illusions. Our visual picture isn't nothing more than light received from various cells combined to one picture after all.
Also, even if it would be possible, where would be the point of having a 3Dimensional picture of your nose with the smells or "vibrating drumheads" due to light exposure?

What do you think? Is it possible? And does it make sense?

You say whats the point? Whats the point of life? Noone as we know it.

Anywayss... When our nose analyses the atoms we sense as smell it translates its analysation of the atoms into impulses sent to the brain. What says that a brain necessarily needs to convert theese impulses to "smell"? Why not translate it to an image? Then we would "see smell". I think it works, and I am ready to debate to death.
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Offline Flisch

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2008, 01:57:51 pm »
Recently I had a discussion with someone, who said that it could be possible for alien organisms to 'see smell' or to 'hear light'.

I on the other hand think, that it doesn't work, because I think that the senses like smell, taste, vision, ... are just illusions. Our visual picture isn't nothing more than light received from various cells combined to one picture after all.
Also, even if it would be possible, where would be the point of having a 3Dimensional picture of your nose with the smells or "vibrating drumheads" due to light exposure?

What do you think? Is it possible? And does it make sense?

You say whats the point? Whats the point of life? Noone as we know it.
To reproduce (clone) the DNA. Cells are merely a hull to spread the genes and to protect it from the harsh environment.

Anywayss... When our nose analyses the atoms we sense as smell it translates its analysation of the atoms into impulses sent to the brain. What says that a brain necessarily needs to convert theese impulses to "smell"? Why not translate it to an image? Then we would "see smell". I think it works, and I am ready to debate to death.
How would the image then look like? Basically it's just one single information: This smell stinks. How do you make a picture of just one single information?

How about echolocation? I myself think that the bat's brain forms an image made based on the received sound.
However, it's still hearing. If you hear a sound nearer to your right ear than your left ear, you can say, that its source must be coming from your right side. You can actually 'locate' it or at least give a more specific direction on where it comes from. Do you call it vision? Some owls for example have their ears located in different heights of their heads, so that they can detect prey much more precisely. Do you call this vision then? Also vision and echolocation work entirely different: Vision creates a 2-dimensional picture without depth. That's why we need two eyes, so that we can see 3-dimensional. (And even that is merely an illusion by overlaying two 2-dimensional pictures.) Echolocation on the other hand creates a real 3-dimensional picture by analizing when which sound came back to the reflection. A sound-part which comes back earlier than the other indicates, that the object it got reflected from is nearer to the animal than the other sound-part.
By the way: Can a 3-dimensional 'thing' be considered as an 'image'?

Actually, it is a well-documented phenomenon in humans. Certain people's wiring is jumbled up so that they can "see" what they hear. From what I remember, certain musicians have this ability, and a doctor with the condition described seeing a beeping noise as red daggers.

The condition is called syn­aes­the­sia.
Isn't that more like an association? If I'm getting told of some event, I'm having a certain picture in my head of this event. Or if I think of a person, I can "see" their face in my mind.
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Offline stuck

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2008, 02:02:13 pm »
No. Follow the links and read them.

Offline Yannick

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2008, 02:03:23 pm »
Yes, it can be seen as an image. Simple by the fact that the bat, who is practically blind can navigate as if he could see in the dark. It's all just an illusion like you said yourself, because it all just depends on how the brain processes it.

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Offline Yokto

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2008, 02:14:17 pm »
Flisch said i should post so....



syn­aes­the­sia is one thing. It is assosisating one sense with a other to put it simple. Some people have smiler experience when seeing numbers from different colors for different number to seeing internal pictures of forms and shapes. Most people are believe to have limited syn­aes­the­sia. Some of it may be culture wile others seems more natural.



Now sensing you world with other sense and gaining a sense of how things are also exist. Most humans have a very limited abilities of this beyond sight. That is simply because out brain works with sight all the time. But we can learn to sense our world in more detail with our other sense to. Best documented cases of this are people who are blind but can still get a picture how the world looks like with there hearing.

And as we all know other sense are more dominant in some animals. Hammerhead sharks are a lot more depended on there other sense the there sight compared to other sharks. Specially there ability to detect electrical currents. Moles use vibrations and bats echolocation.
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Offline Flisch

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2008, 02:18:06 pm »
Yes, it can be seen as an image. Simple by the fact that the bat, who is practically blind can navigate as if he could see in the dark. It's all just an illusion like you said yourself, because it all just depends on how the brain processes it.
Do you consider your hearing as an image?

I define image as a 2-dimensional copy of the surroundings. But maybe I'm confusing it with picture or whatever. :-\

No. Follow the links and read them.
Well, I read it, and I still think, that it's just a kind of association. Just that it's alot more distinctive. However, if it's like it's said in the links, then I must be a synesthete too, since I think of an actual image, when I hear/read/imagine a number. Or I got a special picture/image in my mind, when I'm listening to music. Where's the difference between association and synesthesia?

Warning - while you were typing a new reply has been posted. You may wish to review your post.

@Yokto: So you define image as sensing the surroundings?
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Offline Yokto

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2008, 02:24:48 pm »
I do not define it to tell the truth. It is up to you that made the topic.
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Offline Ultramarine

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2008, 02:48:20 pm »
I do not define it to tell the truth. It is up to you that made the topic.

Yeah he's right about this one.
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Offline Yokto

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2008, 02:50:45 pm »
I do not define it to tell the truth. It is up to you that made the topic.

Yeah he's right about this one.

I am always right.

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Offline stuck

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2008, 03:53:29 pm »
No. Follow the links and read them.
Well, I read it, and I still think, that it's just a kind of association. Just that it's alot more distinctive. However, if it's like it's said in the links, then I must be a synesthete too, since I think of an actual image, when I hear/read/imagine a number. Or I got a special picture/image in my mind, when I'm listening to music. Where's the difference between association and synesthesia?

Well, you might have it, actually. They predict it ranges from one in 20000 to 1 in 28. The best tests, it seems, are those that check if you hold a mental image permanently. I think all people form a mental picture in their mind of certain concepts, but the thing about synesthetes is that it isn't really a mental picture for some of them, more of a direct interference in their optic nerve, for instance.

I think the best instance of this is the guy who can taste sounds. The sound of f, for him, tastes like sherbet. I don't think that you form a mental association of sherbet and f, but rather the wiring gets convoluted.

Offline Oviraptor

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2008, 03:57:37 pm »
You could definitely "see" the world using only smells. However, touch would be a very necessary part of being able to make sens of the smells. In fact, touch is probably the most important sense for all animals (meaning it's always necessary, not that it's always the most developed) that can "visualize" their environment. Picture an organism with olfactory organs spread out along its body. By sensing the differences in each organ, they can get a rough idea of what is around them. But without touch, it wouldn't be very effective. This is because of wind.

Here is a list of pros and cons for different senses for visualizing an environment:

Light: Pros: Very fast. It works well for both very long and very short distances without losing much information. Cons: Very easy to form optical illusions, especially without depth perception.

Sound: Pros: Pretty fast. Work pretty well for long distances, and very well for short ones. Cons: Not as fast as light. Shape has significant effects on what "image" your "brain" will reconstruct.

Touch: Pros: Very Fast. Works very well for very short distances. Gives you a completely undistorted "map" of what you touch (most humans aren't highly attuned to seeing with their touch, so their brains' warp it into "seeing" what you think you are touching). Cons: Doesn't work well at all for long distances (except for vibrations). You nearly always have to touch something for you to have an image of what it looks like.

Electricity Pros: Fast. Works well in water. Good for semi-close distances. Cons: Doesn't work very well outside of water. Only works on things that give of a charge. Because of the nature of electricity, it's better for finding the general direction then creating an image of the world. Touch would be needed to get more then a general idea of your environment.

Taste Pros: Pretty fast. Gives you very detailed information on whatever you taste. Cons: Of no use for making an image without the sense of touch.

Smell Pros: Gives you detailed information on whatever you smell. Cons: Very slow when compared to the other senses. Of no use for making an image without the sense of touch. Even then, smells can only give you a very general view of the world. Touch would probably end up being dominant.

Note: Taste and smell senses differ only in that taste is generally sensing solids and smell is fluids (as used by me).

Or at least that's the way I perceive it. I tried to order them from most to least effective. The bottom three become much more effective when they are combined with touch.

Edit: If anything needs clarifying, ask, because I will otherwise assume you know what I meant.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 04:06:16 pm by Oviraptor »

Offline Yokto

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Re: Debate with sense
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2008, 04:27:34 pm »
There is also the question of active and passive senses. Sonar is a active one for example and if differs a lot form passive hearing. Sight is for most part a passive sense but some creatures can produce light to help them see things. (Like humans with out technology.)
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