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Thread: Is our core identity the dna molecule itself or is it more accurate to say it comes from our brains?

  1. #1 Is our core identity the dna molecule itself or is it more accurate to say it comes from our brains? 
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    I've been struggling with this question and I would appreciate a response.


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    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    If you mean personality, I would suggest it comes from the brain in conjunction with the accumulated life experiences that you have.


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    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    If you mean personality, I would suggest it comes from the brain in conjunction with the accumulated life experiences that you have.
    Yes but the layout of the brain (and pretty much everything else) is mostly decided by DNA ^-^ So lets say both ^-^
    "the cake is not a lie, you just won't get any" - girl on the next floor
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    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    While true, I used the wording I chose as every ones brain is different and thus results in a different base pattern for the personality, but I dont really thing its attributable to the DNA in the way the OP seemed to be suggesting.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    If you mean personality, I would suggest it comes from the brain in conjunction with the accumulated life experiences that you have.
    My first thought was about my 2 year old and she is a little tornado. As she adds to her life experiences I'll let you know if her personality changes but I assume I'm in for it for the rest of my life .
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    Just like physics, it's a case of relativity. Every observer sees a different reality.
    To a mosquito, your identity is a piece of food, to suck blood from. To a human, you are someone to interact with. To a super-intelligent alien, you are just a primitive life-form.

    To the universe as a whole, you are just a miniscule event that is totally meaningless.
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    For me the DNA gives guidelines, for example like a cook recipie... It is written boil one egg, but is not written which pot to take, how much water, how much time before the egg is boiled... everyone choose their path according to the objective to boil an egg but everyone choose slightly different pathway to cook it.
    The size of the pot and how long the egg must boil is determined by the environment (this includes experience too). So let's say in your DNA is written that you'll have a brain that will support more aggressivity than someone but is not said that you will become aggressive.
    So at the end to tame your question our core identity is determined by both at first by the DNA which gives the general architecture of the system (the recipie) and after by the environment (how your recipie can be applied to the rest).
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    The Ductile Helix: "Jumping Genes" May Influence Brain Activity: Scientific American

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...ture10531.html

    Line-1 and Alu retrotransposons have been shown (very recently in the case of Alu - yesterday!) to be responsible for plasticity of the DNA of neuronal cells, which apparently may influence brain activity as well as development. Retrotransposons insert theselves into DNA regulatory regions and are able to disrupt and alter gene activity.

    from the linked article:
    Each neuron is likely subjected to a unique combination of insertions, leading to a genetic variability within populations of cells.
    The full significance of this "genomic plasticity" is still not clear, but the authors suggest that it could influence brain development and behavior. It may, for example, partly account for the differences in brain structure and behavior between identical twins, and could even affect thought processes by subtly influencing the changes in nerve cell connections that occur with experience.
    In terms of 'core identity' or personality i would suggest these things rather than DNA molecules.

    Bit of speculation; given the link between primate genome evolution and retrotransposons - i.e we have abnormally high quantity of them - and this latest study that seems to show they are very significant in brain function, maybe these are one of the 'stealth driver' that produced human intelligence?
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    Even at the basic levels, such as lefthanded vs righthanded brain wiring, one's DNA does not dictate ( many identical twin pairs differ in handedness). Understanding Genetics: Human Health and the Genome

    At the higher levels determining "personality" and so forth, firing patterns that use the wiring as mere substrate, DNA is a vague and removed influence. The influence is there, especially as a constraint or influence on the experiences likely to accumulate, but it does not specify.

    In US males, there are clear and physically measurable differences in hormonal response to glancing personal insult that correlate with political history and geography: in the old Confederacy we find "honor culture" quick to take offense, in the old Union we find bemused dismissal and no personal sense of affronted "honor". There appears to be no consistent genetic component to this.
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  11. #10  
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    It depends what you consider yourself to be.

    heres a few food for though questions;

    Q1- If each atom in your body is extracted and replaced by another atom(of the same type) and then all the original atoms are reassembled exactly as you were, which one is you?

    If this process was applied to someone you love, which one would you acknowledge as the real person and what status would you give the other?

    Q2- If a cell with your original DNA is extracted, and a clone is made with your 'real' dna, and your own dna is modified by a virus that changes your appearance and makes minor changes to your neurons but keeps your memories and most of you cognitive functions intact, is the growing child like clone with your real dna more you than you?

    Q3- You are tied in an operation room on an airplane, your brain is to be transplanted onto an other's body, and that guy's brain implanted in your body, but if theres a problem after the operation and theres one parachute, which one would you rather save, your brain in someone elses body, or your body with the "right" dna in the gonads?

    Q4- Your brain is scanned down to the molecular level and a complete simulation is created, hormones, stimulus, the whole 9 yards, so that the computer simulation of you, thinks hes you, and realizes hes artificial but still goes on the net chats, and learns new things by watching videos and eventually may interact with people in virtual worlds. Then you learn you have a disease that will make you brain dead. But you have to choose if your brain dead body should be hooked to machine so you can still convert oxygen into carbon dioxide in a vegetative state, OR, choose to let the simulation of you continue to exist, learn and interact with people. Which would you choose the intelligent virtual you or the brain-dead+authentic-dna you?
    Last edited by icewendigo; November 11th, 2011 at 03:06 PM.
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  12. #11 Is our core identity the dna molecule itself or is it more accurate to say it comes from our brains? 
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    1) They would both be me, but would diverge as two twins from that moment on. Same as an egg that splits in the womb to produce two identical twins, who diverge after that point.


    2) No, you are the real you. You are what you are, including all the events that happen to you. A clone is just a twin.


    3) My brain. Just as I would lose a leg to keep my "self" alive, I would just as soon lose all the rest. My mind is my real "self".


    4) This means I die. I wouldn't want the body to be kept alive if I'm brain dead. The simulation is just a kind of twin, it wouldn't affect my decision.
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