On Sep 1, 4:49 pm, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 9/1/2011 1:23 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
> >>> Whether or not afferent and efferent nerves are fundamentally
> >>> different kinds of cells or just playing different roles in the
> >>> nervous system isn't important. If they are the same that only makes a
> >>> stronger case for me, since there would then be no biochemical
> >>> determination of that role.
> >> But there would be a structural determination their role; one depending on 
> >> what other
> >> cells they were connected with.  On the neural network computer model of 
> >> the brain it is
> >> these connections and their strength that are analogous to the hardware 
> >> and the software.
> > To explain why a neural network would arise organically though, you
> > would have to cite some way for the larger network structure (which it
> > sounds like you are saying is an abstract, metaphysical construct made
> > of 'connections') to arise independently of the component cells and
> > determine their roles for them.
> Why would have to do that?  Evolution works by random variation.

Random variation of what? DNA. Random variations of patterns of ping
pong balls don't evolve.

> There doesn't have to be
> an abstract, metaphysical elephant to determine the evolution of elephants.  
> I'm not
> saying the neural network is abstract.  It's concrete.  It's what evolved.

Concrete in what way? What is a 'connection' made of? What is it
exactly that's evolving? You want neural networks to be concrete, but
they aren't - they are conceptual models that can be applied to
interpret behaviors of concrete phenomena. They could not be more

> > The abstraction of 'calculation' is
> > the active agent, while the cells are interchangeable passive
> > variables which would execute the calculation just as well whether it
> > were made of bowling balls or ice cream sandwiches.
> I didn't say any of that.  You're making stuff up.

I'm clarifying the implications of your position. You have to choose
whether you think that cells know in some way what they are doing or
whether a disembodied process of calculation is telling cells (and
everything else in the universe) what to do (without knowing itself
what that is). If there's another option, I'm open to that.

> >> When the brain is active, it is processing information
> > But that's not all it's doing, It's also experiencing life as a human
> > being, which is not found in any 'information' being computed.
> Sure.  The question is whether the neural network model of the brain which is
> instantiating the same behavior in an android is also experiencing life as a 
> human being
> or something similar.

The model can't instantiate anything, it's only the actual parts that
make up the android that can instantiate a behavior, and since those
parts cannot be the same as those of a non-android, the behavior
cannot be exactly the same, even if they may appear superficially to
seem the same to us.

> >> and at the abstract level of
> >> computation the neural network computer performs the same computation and 
> >> is functionally
> >> equivalent at it's input/output.
> > I'm saying that computation can only emulate 50% of the input/output.
> > The other 50% arises from private sensorimotive perception and is not
> > computable, but rather it chooses how to interpret some of the input
> > and decides what to output.
> That's the interior qualia; which is neither input nor output.

Qualia determines input and output because qualia is the experience
which is being input to and output from. There is nothing else there
to go in to or out from. Just as your understanding of this sentence,
it's English words and visible characters, is predicated upon your
ability to subjectively understand English and receive optical
stimulation through your eyes. Your response is predicated on your
ability to make sense of it, to feel that sense and compare it with
your own cognitive sense and formulate an appropriate output through
the aperture of your personal motives. No a-signifying template is
going to reproduce that process just by correlating inputs to outputs
and arriving at some deterministic algorithm to stand in for
subjective meaning.

> > Input/Output supervenes on this middle
> > layer of private interpretation, which, I think is what is enhanced
> > through qualitative morphological synergies
> > (molecules>cells>organisms>brains...).
> "Qualitative morphological synergies"??  Doubletalk.

Not intentionally. Morphological synergies, I'm talking about how
groups of molecules equal a cell, but not in the obvious mechanical
sense. Since the molecules have a private, qualitative experience,
then the cell also has a private qualitative experience which is
synergistic - more than the sum of it's molecules, and morphological -
related to the properties of the form of the cell and how it differs
from a group of molecules which are not acting synergistically as a

> > A molecule has a relatively
> > narrow middle layer, a cell has more degrees of freedom (more qualia
> > to feel and more 'time' to feel it in, more time and teleological
> > depth of field to project 'will') than a molecule, an organism has
> > more than a cell, a brain has more than an organism with no brain,
> > etc.
> Fine. I'm not addressing that.  Maybe it's true.  But it's also true that the 
> artificial
> brain can cause the android to behave as a human.

If by behave as a human you mean behave in a way that fools people
into assuming it's human, then sure. Even a voicemail can fool a
person that way for a couple of seconds. A mannequin can behave as a
human standing still would.

> >>   Whether it instantiates the same qualia (or any at all)
> >> is a different question.  Since we know that whatever functions can be 
> >> computed by finite
> >> things (including brains and computers) can be computed in this way, we 
> >> infer that it is
> >> possible to make an artificial brain that will produce the exact same 
> >> responses as a real
> >> brain and in a suitable robot/android will produce human like behavior.  
> >> Of course the
> >> question of its qualia (if any) remains open.
> > I understand why it's compelling to assume that it is possible to make
> > an artificial brain that would emulate a natural brain, but it's based
> > on a critically flawed model of what the brain is. Consider the brain
> > to be the physical shadow of the self. Duplicating the shadow of a
> > palm tree, is not going to suddenly cause a palm tree to be conjured
> > into existence. Yes, the shadow is the same exact shape but it doesn't
> > behave the same way, even though it seems like it should since we've
> > meticulously modeled the way the shadow sways with elaborate
> > algorithms. You assure me that we have studied every possible change
> > to the shadow and it should therefore produce the exact same responses
> > as the real shadow.
> You keep saying that you assume nothing contrary to physics and chemistry; 
> but your
> examples and analogies are contrary.  A shadow is a dependent phenomena.  If 
> you want to
> predict what a shadow will do you have to predict at the level of the objects 
> making the
> shadow and the light sources.

Right. The objects in this case are subjects though. That's the
metaphor. Your brain is a meat shadow of your experience of your
entire life. If you want to predict what a brain will do you have to
predict at the level of the subjects making the electrochemical
patterns. The patterns by themselves, and the brain itself is
completely meaningless without the subjective sense. It's just a
slippery blob that glows interestingly but meaninglessly under an MRI

>  In your analogy the brain is a mere shadow and though you
> avoid the word you assume that there is a soul of which it is the shadow.

Not 'a soul', but a person. A living human being made of human
experiences through that nervous system.

> The brain is a
> physical object and if it's time evolution is determined by the laws of 
> physics and
> chemistry,

Evolution can't really be said to be physical or chemical. It's
biological at the absolute minimum (really ecological). Carbon dioxide
doesn't evolve another species of molecule. Evolution occurs as a
consequence of changes within a single molecule, DNA. Without the
biology of the phenome, those changes in the genome would be
meaningless molecular variations.

> without reference to a soul, then your analogy is wrong - it is not like a
> shadow.  If it is like a shadow then it's behavior must differ from that 
> predicted by
> physics and chemistry and in spite of your denials are you assuming a 
> violation of know
> physics by an immaterial mind or soul.

Physics and chemistry have no predictions about the brain's behavior.
There is no physical law which makes human brains an inevitable
consequence of organic chemistry. We can only look at what has evolved
biologically and understand what it is in physical-chemical terms, but
those terms by no means explain what the brain is for.

What you are telling me is that either color television is magic or it
has to show up on a black and white TV. I reject that false dichotomy.
Physics and chemistry alone are not sufficient to understand the
relation between the self and the brain. Any presumption that they
could be represents a fanatical reductionism propped up by circular

> > The problem is that the shadow is not what is determining the motion.
> > It's the palm tree in it's environment of wind, rain, birds, etc. Same
> > thing with the brain, although it's bi-directional. We are influenced
> > by our brain and vice versa, so we are each other's shadow side. Our
> > feelings and experiences alone determine how our brain will behave in
> > part, and that's the part that cannot be emulated by computation
> > without being able to live our life from our subjective point of view.
> > The other functions that the brain is doing could maybe be deduced
> > from the status of the rest of the body and emulated with greater
> > success, but that too may be a naive reduction of the brain's
> > relationship with the body.
> > That's not to say you can't make a recording of the brain activity of
> > someone and have some success playing it back on another - just as a
> > computer playing an mp3 of a Mozart symphony doesn't need to know how
> > to emulate the activity of a philharmonic orchestra, but they are two
> > very different things. The computer is not it's own user. The brain
> > is.
> >>> You're not answering my questions though.
> >>> I know we have different feelings about different things, I'm asking
> >>> you why anything has any feelings at all, and is a feeling a physical
> >>> thing or not?
> >> There are different ways of answering a "why?" question.  In this case, 
> >> one answer is that
> >> feeling is a physiological response to the environment.  We have such 
> >> responses because
> >> they are, or were, advantageous in survival and reproduction and hence 
> >> selected in the
> >> evolutionary process.  This explains why we have lots of tacticle sensors 
> >> on our surface,
> >> where we can react to things, and not so many in our digestive tract where 
> >> our responses
> >> are limited.  Feelings are physical, but they are not things (i.e. 
> >> objects) they are
> >> changes in things, e.g. hormones released into the blood stream.
> > That doesn't explain anything. Again, our stomach digests things, our
> > immune system handles much more complex and important tasks related to
> > our survival and reproduction without our feeling anything. There is
> > no mechanical advantage, nor is there *any* possibility that feeling
> > can arise from physical evolution. As you say, they are not objects,
> > so they cannot evolve. 'Changes' in hormones in a blood stream don't
> > just decide that they are a 'feeling'. There is no 'they'. A change
> > isn't a thing that feels. It's only the cells themselves, or the
> > tissues they make up that could possibly feel these changes. The
> > appeal to 'changes' and 'responses' as sense agents is metaphysical.
> The need for agents to sense feelings is metaphysical - it is spiritualism.

And the idea of feelings without an agent to feel them is somehow less
metaphysical? That's funny. Or, I guess I should say - there is
funnyness...somewhere. Or nowhere? Anywhere?

> >> But you are presumably asking about feelings as emotions: thoughts of joy 
> >> or sadness or
> >> satisfaction or anxiety.
> > No, you had it right before. I'm asking about sensation and the
> > interpretation of sensation (which I call feeling). Interpretations of
> > what I call feelings are what I would call emotions, and the
> > interpretation of emotions are what I call thoughts.
> >> These are the same physiological changes sensed at the level of
> >> consciousness in humans and put into an inner narrative.  Evidence for 
> >> this is the fact
> >> that various drugs can produce these feelings independent of other changes 
> >> in the environment.
> > There is a physiological side of emotion and an experiential side,
> > just like everything else. You can manipulate emotions
> > physiologically, and you can manipulate physiology emotionally. It's
> > bi-directional: bottom up AND top down.
> Really?  Can you will yourself to be sad, happy, satisfied?  I don't think so.

Of course you can. If you imagine something terrible happening to
someone you care about, you will yourself to be sad. Some people do it
for a living, they are called actors. Sorry to be snide, I don't mean
it to you personally, I'm just responding to the lameness of substance

> >> What are the implications of this for the robot/android whose artificial 
> >> neural network
> >> brain produces human like behavior?  Well it's obvious that a silicon 
> >> based brain won't
> >> respond to LSD or oxycontin like a human one.  And similarly the silicon 
> >> brain will
> >> respond to an EMP that an real brain won't even notice.
> > Right, which is why we know from the start that a silicon brain can
> > never emulate ALL of the behaviors of a natural brain.
> >> The question then is whether this
> >> shows the artificial and human brains instantiate different qualia even 
> >> when their
> >> behavior is the same or only when there are these different responses to 
> >> the environment.
> > It's not that the inability to respond in the same way as a natural
> > brain equals different qualia, but it certainly should be an indicator
> > that it very well could, especially if we think that qualia is related
> > to electrochemical processes. Mainly we have no reason to imagine that
> > a silicon brain has any other qualia beyond that inherent in it's
> > physical manufacture and operation.
> We have an excellent reason to imagine that.  Namely the same reason we 
> imagine other do;
> as we did for millenia without knowing what was inside of them (or ourselves).

We imagine others do because they are walking around in the same
bodies we are. We can have sex with them and make babies. What does a
baby silicon brain look like? Not as cute probably.

> > It doesn't learn to feel like a
> > person, just as your computer doesn't learn how to see you through the
> > monitor. It's not alive. It has as much qualia as a shoe.
> Unsupported and unreasoned assertions.  Dogma of spiritualism.

So you think that your computer is looking at you through the monitor
and will learn to recognize your face eventually? Somehow my pointing
out the absurdity of that is spiritualism??


(either) a concrete network of evolved random variations and
deterministic molecular connections (or) a magical immaterial soul,
(but not at all) "Craig".

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to