On Aug 26, 8:39 pm, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>   I'm well aware that a cell is made of molecules and that it is their
> structural and dynamic relations that constitute the cell.

My point is that the molecules relations constitute the cell but not
the cells relations.

  I understand
> perceptual frame of reference:  If I stand a different place I see a
> different scene.  What's that have to do with cells and being
> "meta-molecular"?

But every place you stand will only give you different scenes of
phenomena that exist on a human scale. There's nowhere that you can
stand that you can see molecules or cells or the phenomena which
directly informs their existence. Our only views of their places and
scenes are as a satellite image would be to our individual lives, only
much more removed since we know what all the little blue ovals are in
people's backyards.

> > Most of
> > what a cell does makes sense in pure chemical terms,
> But not all (according to you).  And that's the question.  What part
> doesn't?  How can this part be detected?

It's not something physical that eludes detection, it's just a matter
of understanding that a stem cell doesn't have any purpose on a
chemical level in developing into different kinds of tissue in the
body. It only makes sense from the top down, because the body needs
these various tissues and organs. The molecules don't need to do that
for any chemical purpose, they could just do what every other
inorganic molecule does and just melt and freeze, crystallize,
evaporate, etc. It doesn't need to become an esophagus. Why would
there be a purely chemical reason to become an esophagus?

> > like most of what
> > an animal does makes sense in purely cellular terms. It has absolutely
> > nothing to do with defying physics or chemistry, it's that the
> > reliable, predictable levels of physical reality are routinely
> > manipulated to serve the purposes, whims, and fantasies of meta-meta-
> > meta organic entities.
> Which is it?  Does being manipulated by organic entities entail doing
> something other than predicted by the laws of physics and chemistry?

No, it's using the laws of physics and chemistry to accomplish it's
own purposes. They are using each other to express the order and sense
that they make in relation to each other; the part to the whole, with
each whole being just a part of a larger order and each part being
it's own whole in it's own private context.

> >>> The unpredictable behavior of a cell doesn't arise out of
> >>> complexity, it arises out of a higher order of simplicity that organic
> >>> molecules facilitate.
> >> "Higher order simplicity"??  More magic or more poetry?
> > Do you consider cells and bodies magic or poetic? What about higher
> > order simplicity sounds like witchcraft to you?
> All of it.  What's the operational definition whereby I can recognize
> and measure simplicity and order it as higher and lower?  It is a
> thing?  A substance?  A property...of what?  A relation?

It's a scale relation. If you were to look at a single cell as a
mathematical function of each of it's atoms, it would be incredibly
complex, yet at a certain point, if you zoom out from that complexity,
the whole thing is encapsulated as a single simple entity. If you zoom
out from that, on a larger scale you see that the cells of the
pancreas are incredibly complex biology with tissue replacement and
differentiation of metabolic roles, etc, but if you zoom out from that
scale you get relatively simple organs within an even simpler body.
It's just like a sperm with arms and legs. Each time you zoom out or
in from any phenomenon on any scale in the universe there is this same
pattern of increasing complexity collapsing into a dramatic simplicity
on another scale - a different perceptual-relativity inertial frame.

> >>   You seem to be
> >> agreeing that complexity is not sufficient to make cells unpredictable.  
> >> So in principle the complex behavior of the cell could be predicted even
> >> at the molecular level.  You are claiming this prediction would fail
> >> because of ...what?
> > No. You're equating simplicity with microcosm. That's what I mean by
> > higher order simplicity and perceptual frames of reference. You can't
> > predict how a baseball game will turn out by looking at nothing but
> > the trajectories of baseballs in previous games.
> But you could do it by looking at the microstates of the players in the
> present game plus various environmental states.  No one has suggested
> that you could predict the behavior of a neuron or a brain by looking at
> past brains or neurons.

Oh, so you are saying you mean that your artificial neuron is going
emulate a specific natural directly neuron in real time, and not run
on a model of the behaviors of past neurons? Like a remote control
neuron that sends sensory input to a natural neuron and receives
motive output from it?

>Why do you bring up such strawman arguments?

You asked me why predicting a neuron's behavior from a model of
molecular behaviors would fail, and I told you. It's not a strawman,
I'm pointing out that the behavior of a molecule, like the trajectory
of a baseball over all many baseball games is insufficient to base an
artificial neuron or an artificial baseball stadium on. You have to
know the game behind those trajectories and the sense of the cell as a
whole to be able to actually replace the cell entirely.

> > That is exactly what
> > substance monism suggests by insisting that the macrocosm can always
> > be predicted by scaling up the microcosm. I didn't think that kind of
> > mechanistic view is even taken seriously anymore, even in the hard
> > sciences. All that went out the window in the 20th century.
> Fortunately it's the 21st century now.  Who told you the macrocosm
> couldn't be predicted by synthesis of the micro?  I must have missed
> that in physics class.  If you're relying quantum randomness then please
> say where Tegmark went wrong in his paper showing the brain must operate
> classically?  If you're relying on classical chaos theory then your
> argument is with Bruno who assumes everything can be simulated in digits.

I didn't say that the macrocosm couldn't be predicted by synthesis of
the micro, I said it can't *always* be predicted by scaling up the
microcosm. If you could then there would be no classical limit, and
everything would either behave like weird probabilistic events winking
in and out of 'existence' or it would behave like tiny indivisible
particles clattering around the nucleus like a seeds in hollow nut.

All of the great scientific ideas of the last century have
increasingly described a universe of holistic interaction and
relativity rather than strictly linear cause and effect logic. There
is no hard material universe of objects anymore, it's all charged
fields and empty space...virtual particles, superposition, etc.

> > The prediction fails because it's basing the prediction on the wrong
> > thing. What we think about has an effect on our body on a systemic
> > level. The neurons behavior is caught up in that like we're caught up
> > in weather systems. We make brain hurricanes happen just by thinking
> > about something we enjoy or hate.
> And how do you choose what to enjoy and who to hate?

It's not a choice, it's the interference pattern between the sense
that you make at any particular moment and the sense that a complex of
thoughts and images make to you. If you are in a bad mood, the memory
of something someone said might make you hate them. Conversely, you
can deliberately think of something that someone said to change your
mood. It could be the same thing that the same person said even. If it
were only up to the biochemistry, we would not ever be able to change
our own mood intentionally. Nobody would be able to cheer anyone up
because they are not biochemically connected.

> > Those make floods and blackouts the
> > tissues of our gut and sweat glands. It's no big voodoo - it's the
> > ordinary way that we function and experience our lives.
> And it supervenes on the processes of our body and brain.

Sometimes it does, other times the processes of our body and brain
supervenes on our conscious thoughts and intentions. Sometimes it's
both at once.

> >>>>>   Similarly with an artificial neuron, for the purposes of this
> >>>>>   discussion we are interested only in whether it stimulates the other
> >>>>>   neurons with the same timing and in response to the same inputs as a
> >>>>>   biological neuron would.
> >>> Even if you could create an artificial neuron which could impersonate
> >>> the responsiveness of an natural one, it wouldn't matter because it
> >>> still doesn't feel anything.
> >> How do you know it doesn't feel anything?  How do you know it doesn't
> >> feel exactly the same as the neuron it replaced?
> > Because there is no reason to imagine it would. How do I know that a
> > ventrilioquist's dummy doesn't feel anything? Because I know it's a
> > manufactured artifact that has no living tissue in it. Same reason a
> > semiconductor array has no feeling. I don't *know* know it has no
> > feeling, but I think that whatever it does have is likely on the
> > microcosmic level rather than a higher order simplicity, and I think
> > that because of that it's likely not to be very similar to the
> > feelings of a conscious Homo sapien.
> >>   How do you know the
> >> feeling of either the neuron or the artificial neuron has an effect on
> >> what you would feel?
> > Because we can feel it when we use transcranial magnetic stimulation
> > or a taser to change the electromagnetic conditions of our neurons.
> But a microcircuit based artificial neuron would also respond to those
> stimulations and it could even be designed to respond (provide the same
> output) to them as a biological neuron.

Responding is only half of the battle. A dummy responds to a
ventriloquist, but that doesn't mean it should be able to replace him.
If you have a brain full of artificial neurons, then it makes a
difference if there's nothing inside that feels what it is that is
being responded to.

> >>   We know from operations on the brain that
> >> electrostimulation may evoke memories, the sound of a melody, and other
> >> qualia.  The subject never says, "That felt like electrostimulation." or
> >> "That didn't produce any feelings."
> > You could have electrostimulation to a lot of parts of your brain and
> > you wouldn't feel it. Only areas relevant to your perception and
> > cognition would end up being experienced in real time by you. I think
> > that the perceptual frame determines whether the stimulation is felt
> > as blind electric shock or a sound or a memory, but it's not really
> > debatable whether changes to neurons affect how we feel and how we can
> > act. That's why we care about neurology, because brain cancer and
> > spinal cord injuries aren't a sometimes bad thing, there is an
> > established correlation.
> > Could artificial neurons be used to repair a severed spinal cord?
> > Sure. If the rest of the spine is healthy then you can use a
> > prosthetic to telegraph the connection from brain to body across the
> > gap. Maybe you can even replace the whole spinal cord, because that's
> > how a person feels and moves their body, but if you replace the brain,
> > you have replaced the person themselves.
> What if you just replace the spinal cord and each neuron in the brain it
> directly connects with?

Then you would be paralyzed. With neuroplasticity you might be able to
reimprint yourself so you could throw your limbs around with certain
combinations of intense emotions or something, but I think that your
ordinary access to your body would no longer be directly available.


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