On Sun, Jun 17, 2007 at 03:47:19PM +1000, Colin Hales wrote:
> 
> Hi,
> 
> RUSSEL
> > All I can say is that I don't understand your distinction. You have
> introduced a new term "necessary primitive" - what on earth is that? But
> I'll let this pass, it probably isn't important.
> 
> COLIN
> Oh no you don't!! It matters. Bigtime...
> 
> Take away the necessary primitive: no 'qualititative novelty'
> Take away the water molecules: No lake.
> Take away the bricks, no building
> Take away the atoms: no molecules
> Take away the cells: no human
> Take away the humans: no humanity
> Take away the planets: no solar system
> Take away the X: No emergent Y
> Take away the QUALE: No qualia
> 
> Magical emergence is when but claim Y exists but you can't
> identify an X. Such as:


OK, so by necessary primitive, you mean the syntactic or microscopic
layer. But take this away, and you no longer have emergence. See
endless discussions on emergence - my paper, or Jochen Fromm's book for
instance. Does this mean "magical emergence" is oxymoronic?


> 
> You can't use an object derived using the contents of
> consciousness(observation) to explain why there are any contents of
> consciousness(observation) at all. It is illogical. (see the wigner quote
> below). I find the general failure to recognise this brute reality very
> exasperating.
> 

People used to think that about life. How can you construct (eg an
animal) without having a complete discription of that animal. So how
can an animal self-reproduce without having a complete description of
itself. But this then leads to an infinite regress. 

The solution to this conundrum was found in the early 20th century -
first with such theoretical constructs as combinators and lambda
calculus, then later the actual genetic machinery of life. If it is
possible in the case of self-reproduction, the  it will also likely to
be possible in the case of self-awareness and consciousness. Stating
this to illogical doesn't help. That's what people from the time of
Descartes thought about self-reproduction.

> COLIN
> <snip>
> > So this means that in a computer abstraction.
> >> d(KNOWLEDGE(t))
> >> ---------------  is already part of KNOWLEDGE(t)
> >>       dt
> 
> RUSSEL
> > No its not. dK/dt is generated by the interaction of the rules with the
> environment.
> 
> No. No. No. There is the old assumption thing again.
> 
> How, exactly, are you assuming that the agent 'interacts' with the
> environment? This is the world external to the agent, yes?. Do not say
> "through sensory measurement", because that will not do. There are an
> infinite number of universes that could give rise to the same sensory
> measurements. 

All true, but how does that differ in the case of humans?

> We are elctromagnetic objects. Basic EM theory. Proven
> mathematical theorems. The solutions are not unique for an isolated
> system.
> 
> Circularity.Circularity.Circularity.
> 
> There is _no interaction with the environment_ except for that provided by
> the qualia as an 'as-if' proxy for the environment. The origins of an
> ability to access the distal external world in support of such a proxy is
> mysterious but moot. It can and does happen, and that ability must come
> about because we live in the kind of universe that supports that
> possibility. The mysteriousness of it is OUR problem.
> 

You've lost me completely here. 

> RUSSEL
> > Evolutionary algorithms are highly effective
> > information pumps, pumping information from the environment into the
> genome, or whatever representation you're using to store the solutions.
> 
> COLIN
> But then we're not talking about merely being 'highly effective'
> in a target problem domain, are we? We are talking about proving
> consciousness in a machine. I agree - evolutionary algoritms are great
> things... they are just irrelevant to this discussion.
> 

No, we're talking about doing science, actually, not proving
consciousness. And nothing indicates to me that science is any more
than a highly effective information pump finding regularities about
the world.

> RUSSEL
> > Bollocks. A hydrogen molecule and an oxygen atom held 1m apart have
> chemical potential, but there is precious little electric field
> 
> I am talking about the membrane and you are talking atoms so I guess we
> missed somehow...anyway....The only 'potentiation' that really matters in
> my model is that which looks like an 'action potential' longitudinally 
> traversing dendrite/soma/axon membrane as a whole.
> 
> Notwithstanding this....
> 
> The chemical potentiation at the atomic level is entirely an EM phenomenon
> mediated by QM boundaries (virtual photons in support of the shell

I never said it wasn't an EM phenomenon. Just that chemical potential
is not an EM field. The confusion may arise because your head is full
of ionic chemistry (for which chemical potential is for all intents
and purposes identical to the electrical potential between the ions),
but there are two other types of chemical bonds - the covalent and the
hydrogen bond. Both of these types of bonds occur between neutral
molecules, for which the only electric field is the rather weak van
der Waals interaction.

> RUSSEL
> > You're obviously suggesting single neurons have qualia. Forgive me for
> being a little sceptical of this suggestion...
> 
> There are so many good reasons to hold them accountable ..... Read the
> recent book by Jon Edwards...In any event - I hold the FIELD accountable.
> The fact that it happens to be delivered by astrocytes/neuron membranes is
> incidental. If you have to be skeptical about something, please be
> skeptical about the right thing for a good reason!

Neurophysiology is not my field. I await the announcement of the Nobel
prize committee awarding you a prize for this discovery with
interest. In the meantime, I'll just go back to my evolutionary
agents, and retain my scepticism about your claims.

Cheers


-- 

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Mathematics                              
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