On Sep 8, 9:46 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 11:16 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Ion channels open and close in response to neurotransmitters or
> >> voltage changes.
> > A voltage change is nothing but the 3-p view of a sensorimotive
> > change. It arises spontaneously from the 1-p sense of the situation. A
> > crowd wave is caused by individual people standing up and sitting
> > down, but it doesn't explain how and why thousands of people are
> > getting up and sitting down in a self-coordinated pattern. To say that
> > ion channels open and close *in response* to neurotransmitters or
> > voltage changes is to say that they detect electromagnetic and
> > electrochemical conditions in their environment.
> A crowd wave is a good example of what we are talking about. You can
> create one with a simple rule: "stand up when you see the person to
> your left stand up, then sit down again".
Except that's not how we learn to do a crowd wave. Nobody has to tell
us when to stand up or sit down. Even if they did, on a molecular
scale, what is a 'rule' made of and where does it live? We learn how
to participate in a crowd wave by detecting and understanding what's
going on and choosing to participate in it, not by being programmed to
perform an externally prefabricated script. We just make sense of the
situation as it relates to ourselves and respond appropriately. That's
what atoms, molecules, cells, etc all do. It's what makes bodies,
cities, planets, and galaxies. Maybe one guy jumps up and sprays
everyone with water instead. He's radioactive. He doesn't follow the
same general response to the stimulus - he follows a slightly
different motive and expression to the same sense.
> The individuals in the crowd
> don't need to understand anything about what is going on, they just
> need to follow the rule.
That is the same thing. Following the rule requires that they are
1) capable of knowing the rule
2) capable of knowing when the rule applies
3) capable of following the action proscribed by the rule
All of these require sense, or sensorimotive perception to be precise.
> The wave is an emergent phenomenon which you
> can see if you stand back and look at the whole crowd.
It's just as much the individual standing and sitting that emerges as
a phenomenon of the wave. If it was just bottom up and not top down,
the wave would be starting and ending in multiple areas at the same
time and never achieve coherence as a single sweeping wave in one
direction. It's seen by looking at the whole crowd, but without
looking at the crowd, there is nothing to participate in. It would
just be standing up when people around you stand up.
> Similarly with
> neurons: they each follow simple rules, and they are not aware of the
> grand picture, which is the emergent phenomenon of intelligence and
No, because that would necessitate an entity that was not neurons to
"stand back and look at the whole". Since there is nobody here but us
neurons, neurons must in fact facilitate both top down and bottom up
> There is no spirit of the crowd wave directing the
> individuals in the crowd, and there is no spirit of consciousness
> directing the neurons.
Right. The spirit model is a category error because it conceives of
sensorimotive experience or perception as a substance. It's an ideal
monism. To understand my model, you have to let go of that aether-
phologiston-spirit concept and realize that just because there is no
substance associated with perception does not mean that it isn't as
real as a substance - it just works differently - it's a different
topology which arises within and through substance as meaning,
purpose, consequence, significance, charge, motion, energy, etc.
> The low level behaviour completely accounts for
> the high level behaviour.
Not at all. The low level behavior has no meaning by itself. The high
level motive instantiates the low level behavior to a great extent.
> > That they 'respond' is to say they exercise motive participation with
> > their environment which satisfies the conditions of their initial
> > sense. They feel that the chemical conditions of their medium have
> > changed, and if they can make sense of that change in terms which
> > require their motor compliance, then they will, to the extent that
> > they can, move or change themselves to effect the necessary change.
> What? A ligand-activated ion channel opens because it is a protein
> which changes its shape when a small molecule, the neurotransmitter,
> lodges in one of its nooks and changes the protein's shape by pushing
> and pulling at it. If this doesn't happen then the ion channel won't
But those neurotransmitters won't be present unless the high level
experience which is associated with their presence is transpiring. You
can fake it - you can fool the ion channel with drugs, but you can
also manipulate the some kinds of neurotransmitter release using only
> >>The neurotransmitters or voltage changes are, in
> >> their turn, triggered by other neurons firing, which are triggered by
> >> ion channels opening in those neurons, and so on.
> > The fact that different neurotransmitters have different effects on
> > different neurons should be a hint that the chemistry by itself is not
> > unilaterally commanding the brain. The neurons themselves have to be
> > sensitive to particular electrochemical conditions and be able to
> > respond individually and as a group in a synchronized and syncopated
> > manner.
> The structure of the receptor protein determines what neurotransmitter
> it will respond to, as biochemists have known for many years. How do
> you propose that it works?
That's correlation, not causation. The cause and effect of anything is
sense and motive which scales up to perception. The 3-p view of that
electromagnetism, which scales up to relativity. Biochemistry is
electromagnetism within the inertial frame scale of cells and
macromolecules. Sensation is the same thing but from the interior 1-p
perspective. They are essentially the same thing, but existentially
It works because of what molecules are, what cells are, what organisms
and their niches do and the sense of how it all fits together. It has
functional processes and it has essential properties that give rise to
the functions and the need for the functions.
> >> This is all
> >> well-established scientific fact. If an ion channel opened without an
> >> identifiable trigger (and that would include quantum level events that
> >> may be random) that would be a remarkable scientific discovery, and if
> >> it happens all the time as you claim then surely it would have been
> >> observed over decades of scientific research. It would be like
> >> observing that doors open and close due to their own whim, and not
> >> because of the wind or vibrations from passing trucks or any other
> >> identifiable cause.
> > Every time you reiterate this red herring it reminds me that you
> > either don't understand what I'm saying or you aren't listening. If I
> > could, I would put up billboard sized letters here saying, again, I am
> > NOT suggesting anything unscientific whatsoever. You're the one saying
> > that consciousness and free will must be some kind of metaphysical
> > delusion made out of nothing. I am saying that the pixels of this
> > screen need not do anything unusual or unscientific to present an
> > infinite portal of human sense to us.
> Well, I don't understand. Can you clearly state, do the neurons
> respond only to measurable physical stimuli, or do they other things
> as well?
They respond electromagnetically to electromagnetic changes, which
induced AND are induced BY sensorimotive experiences. You can measure
the electromagnetic shadow of the experience, because it's public, but
it's also a-signifying and generic so it tells you little about the
sensorimotive content, which is private, signifying, and proprietary.
> I understand that you think they respond to mental events,
> but if mental events supervene on physical events, then we would only
> observe neurons engaging in predictable, mechanistic behaviour. If, on
> the other hand, physical events supervene on metal events we would see
> neurons doing magical things; for example, we would see ion channels
> opening all by themselves, in the absence of any environmental
> changes. You might not like it, but that's how magic is defined.
You're mixing the scales of the phenomena. On the level of neurons,
there are no human beings. Their behavior contributes to a human
being, like a pixel changing color contributes to an image, but
neurons themselves are not 'responding' to the totality of the
experience of the human psyche at any given moment - rather the 1-p
experience of the neuron itself is a tiny fragment - a monad (like a
pixel of feeling or awareness) which aggregates to macroscopic scale
human mental event.
The idea that this cannot be happening or we would see fantastic
neurological changes under the microscope is to me the same as
insisting that we cannot watch TV programs because each pixel would
have to turn into an actor or a stage prop. The fact is that we have
voluntary control over parts of our body, and through that we exercise
voluntary control over parts of our world and our life. You might not
like it, but that is how our reality is defined.
> >> Why do you think that the feeling your decisions are not determined
> >> means that they are in fact not determined?
> > It doesn't matter whether the content of your feelings of free will
> > are factually not determined since the fact of the existence of those
> > feelings at all makes no sense in a deterministic universe. You can
> > choose to model a deterministic universe that is inexplicably
> > determined to pretend it is not deterministic - which is fine for
> > certain applications and scales physiological-neurological resolution
> > where the image of the human psyche breaks down into granular sub-
> > identity phenomena, but to literally believe that model and hold to it
> > on the macrocosmic level has negative consequences.
> > You would have to constantly remind yourself that you have no choice
> > but to constantly remind yourself that you are a helpless puppet of
> > electrochemical forces. It doesn't fit with the plain common sense
> > realism of our lives wherein we routinely read and write what we think
> > based upon our own human-scale experiences and ideas, having nothing
> > whatsoever to do with serotonin reuptake diffusion gradients or
> > whatever neural correlates are associated with it.
> > The pattern of our lives and experience is the invariance - the
> > continuity of semantic coherence *through* and *in spite of* the
> > neurochemistry. We fight our nature. As the saying goes 'You cannot go
> > against nature, because when you do go against nature, it's part of
> > nature too." A narrowly deterministic view of the universe precludes
> > any sort of experience of any sort of fighting - whatever principle is
> > destined to overcome another principle in a particular local situation
> > will always win, therefore it would be a nonsensical violation of
> > parsimony to insert some theater of ambition where there is no need
> > for it.
> I'm quite happy with a deterministic outlook but even if I were not,
> that has no bearing on whether reality is in fact deterministic. I
> would prefer it not to be raining, but my wish does not affect the
But the fact that you can have a wish at all is not supported by
determinism. It doesn't matter that not all wishes come true - even if
none ever did, the existence of the ability to wish itself is evidence
of subjective participation in the cosmos (even if it's just an
interior cosmos). In my view, we do more than participate in our own
fantasy, we actually impact the fantasies of others, even those who
we've never met long after we're dead. It's a little bit of both -
fantasy and fact. They shape and inform each other. Both play
different roles in 'reality' and neither can exist without the other.
> >> You seem to think that in order to have an adequate model of how an
> >> entity will behave you need to know every input it is going to receive
> >> for the rest of time, but I don't know where you get this idea.
> > It depends what the entity is. If it's a living organism. then you
> > won't know exactly how it's going to behave even if you do know every
> > input it is going to receive for the rest of time. Even the entity
> > doesn't know how it's going to behave. When someone dies, will you be
> > shocked? Calm? Sad? Crying hysterically? Nobody knows. Just like you
> > don't know where I get this idea - I don't know either. Nobody does.
> > No model can predict it. It's the ingression of sensorimotive novelty
> > through the sieve of timespace-massenergy.
> Again, you seem to completely misunderstand the concept of a model. A
> billiard ball does not know the future and does not need to know the
> future. All it needs to do is follow simple rules consistent with
> conservation of momentum when other billiard balls hit it. A model of
> billiard ball behaviour needs to take into account these simple rules,
> and given any initial state of the billiard balls it can predict
> future states. You run the model and see how things turn out, just as
> you hit the billiard balls and see how things turn out.
Which works great for material objects interacting through space. It
is a catastrophic failure for experiential subjects interacting across
time. We have already discredited these ideas in the 20th century.
Behaviorism didn't pan out. Classical mechanics exploded with the
atom. These kinds of models are only appropriate for certain kinds of
phenomena. The human psyche is the exact opposite of those kinds of
> >> It is possible to predict exactly what the TV screen will display
> >> given (a) knowledge of the TV's structure, (b) knowledge of the radio
> >> waves the antenna picks up, and (c) an adequate model for how the TV
> >> responds to radio waves.
> > You're saying here that if we can predict exactly what a TV screen
> > will display if we make a model that is the same TV screen. If you
> > make another TV, and tune it to the same channel as the first, you
> > think that you are 'predicting' what the TV screen will display. Tell
> > me, how does knowledge of how to build a TV and knowledge of what has
> > been on channel 12 for the last year and an adequate model for how the
> > TV receives programs tell me who is going to win the Superbowl next
> > year?
> There are multiple electronic simulation programs available, and with
> little expertise you can draw a circuit and see how it will behave
> without going to the trouble of building it. If you simulate an
> analogue TV circuit, then the program will tell you what the output
> will be given a certain input at the antenna. The simulation won't
> tell you who will win the Superbowl next year but neither will the TV,
> and we are only trying to simulate the TV, not the entire universe.
Why can't the simulation tell you who will win the Superbowl? What
good it it? Why would anyone want to simulate a TV? You may not be
trying to simulate the entire universe, but I am. My hypothesis is
exactly that, the simplest simulation of the entire universe that I
can think of.
> >> example, if the neuron is exposed to a concentration of dopamine
> >> greater than a certain level it will trigger an action potential, so
> >> you know if the action potential will be triggered if you know the
> >> concentration of dopamine in the neuron's vicinity. How a neuron will
> >> respond to dopamine is something that can be determined by
> >> experimental methods.
> > But the dopamine itself is being produced by the neurons. They are
> > controlling the concentration of dopamine. They trigger each other. If
> > anything it's the neurons that are the active agents, and the
> > neurotransmitters being the passive signalling medium.
> Billiard balls hit other billiard balls which go on to hit other
> billiard balls. It can become very complicated but it can all be
> modeled given that you know how a billiard ball will respond when hit.
It's not complicated, it's simplistic. If you put a group of kids in a
room you can't predict which ones will go on to hit other people, even
if you know who will hit who first. A billiard ball model only works
for things that behave like billiard balls. Again, this should be
considered settled science. You can't reduce everything to abstract
positions and velocity when you are dealing with the real world, and
especially with living organisms.
> >>Certainly the model does not know what inputs
> >> the neuron will see tomorrow, but neither does the neuron or the TV!
> > The TV doesn't know, the neuron doesn't know, but the person with the
> > neuron or the TV can have an opinion that might be right. They might
> > be able to predict who wins the Super Bowl or whether their neurons
> > are going to receive a load of caffeine tomorrow morning.
> The person's neurons are each doing their own dumb bit, unaware of the
> grand picture, like the people in the crowd wave.
The people in the crowd wave are perfectly aware of the their role in
creating the wave, and do so intentionally and intelligently with full
awareness of the grand picture. The sense that each neuron makes is
like that, participating in a larger sense - which is why you can
query your memory in natural language. You can just roll a name around
in your mind to see if it picks up any associations. The exterior of
the neuron that you see under a microscope is a different side of the
thing. That's the side that is matter in space and that view exposes a
completely different agenda which is not sensorimotive but
It is a-signifying and generic, but even that is not dumb - it plays a
role in the overall functioning of the electromagnetic integrity of
the biocomputer. It can change huge swaths of neuronal connectivity
all at once, even when it's not reflecting our own sensorimotive
conscious influence. It's doing all kinds of phenomenally
sophisticated electrochemical orchestrations which, although much more
computable and billiard ballable than the peceptual interior, are
still not 100% modelable as a FSM. It's too plastic and spontaneous -
too much growing and dying and interacting with an unpredictable
environment. The model of today cannot anticipate the hormone
disrupting environmental contaminant of tomorrow, etc.
> >> You say: consciousness is fundamental and supervenes on specific
> >> substances functioning in specific ways.
> >> A functionalist may say: consciousness is fundamental and supervenes
> >> on any substance functioning in specific ways.
> > No, I say the fact that specific substances supervenes on (is
> > controlled through) human consciousness functioning in specific ways
> > suggests that all substance may be controlled through sensorimotive
> > consciousness equivalents of different scopes and character (just as
> > chemistry produces effects on different scopes and character). Neither
> > consciousness (EFGH over time) nor substance (A, B, C, D in space) are
> > fundamental, but the relation between them A,B,C,D(ɥ,ƃ,ɟ,ǝ-pɔqɐ)EFGH
> > is fundamental.
> OK, so I say the relationship between consciousness and function is
> fundamental. Why do you think it is better to say that the
> relationship between consciousness and substance is fundamental?
I don't say that the relationship between consciousness and substance
is *more* fundamental than the relationship between consciousness and
function, I say that awareness *is* the relationship between substance
and function, and that when that substance is a human brain, and it
functions to live a human life through a human body, then the
relationship is what we call consciousness.
> (Incidentally, once the relationship between consciousness and
> function is accepted, problems with the physical supervenience thesis
> do become evident, as Bruno frequently points out).
But when consciousness is understood as the relation between substance
and function (ie 'sense') then there are no supervenience problems.
Function is important, but it isn't everything. There is a difference
between a pile of gold bricks and a pile of mud bricks. They have
similarities, sure, but they are also different kinds of things with
different properties and different roles to play in the microcosm and
in the macrocosm.
Is any of this making you question your assumptions at all or are you
completely unchanged in your position?
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