On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 6:16 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Water molecules aren't necessarily dumb, and they don't necessarily
> 'form a wave'. A wave is just one sensorimotive interpretation of what
> water or other kinds of matter in certain states do. It is how we
> perceive a class of events related to those classes of substance.
> There is no actual waveness that physically exists - it's a pattern
> recognition that insists in how we make sense of our perceptual niche
> of the universe.
>
> To say that complex things can result from very simple rules is true
> enough, but it's circular reasoning that distracts from the relevant
> questions: What are 'rules' and where do they come from? How are they
> enforced? Why would there be a difference between simple and complex
> to begin with and what makes one lead to the other but not the other
> way around?

The rules are at bottom the laws of physics. How they are enforced is
not directly relevant to this discussion (although it is something
discussed on this list in the past): we just need to know that things
fall down rather than up, and that the force on them is proportional
to their mass and inversely proportional to the distance between them
and the centre of the Earth. If you believe that such laws are due to
the Earth having a certain basic consciousness there is no evidence
for this, but even if it's true it doesn't change the argument, which
is that the behaviour of the brain and every other object in the
universe can in theory be predicted if the simple rules are
understood. A computer whether it has any consciousness or not is not
aware of the complex behaviour it is modelling, and the neurons in the
brain are the same.

Asking why simple leads to complex rather than the other way around is
not a very meaningful question. One apple is simple; two apples is
more complex. Two apples show behaviour not immediately obvious from
the one apple. For example, they attract each other slightly and move
towards each other as a result. You could say that this behaviour is
due to the system of apples, not the apples alone, but this is just
semantics. What the pair of apples do is contained in the knowledge we
have about the components of the system: their mass, shape, the
gravitational constant, the mass of the Earth, the apples' distance
from the centre of the earth, the composition and elasticity of the
table they are sitting on. If we know all these things we can predict
how the system will behave. It makes no difference if the apples or
the system of apples are conscious: they still do exactly what the
physical laws say they should do. There is no downward influence from
the system on the apples, for that would appear as magic, and we don't
see apples behaving magically.

>> If you are non-deterministic,
>> then nothing determines what you do and you are a slave to the roll of a
>> die.
>
> Only if you a priori eliminate the possibility of free will and sense.
> Then you are left with the options that make no sense and have no free
> will.

If it isn't deterministic, it's random. There aren't any other
possibilities. Some incompatibilist believers in free will are happy
with randomness as the source of their freedom. Compatibilists say the
opposite: if your decisions are determined then you are free in that
you do what you want to do, and what you want to do depends on what
sort of person you are and what your experiences have been; whereas if
you decisions are random they are not based on anything.

> If you select the "Gosper Glider
>> Gun" and set speed to fast, you can see the infinite creation of apparently
>> self-motivated gliders, which travel forever based on the very simple rules
>> of the game.
>
> Actually when I try it that way it goes into a loop after a few
> seconds. What you're not able to see is that these 'patterns' are
> products of our pattern recognition. We project the sense of progress
> onto the pixels. There is no objective pattern there at all. Each
> pixel is a meaningless bit turning on or off in isolation. It doesn't
> even know it's a bit, it's just synched electromagnetic changes in
> semiconductors and a monitor.

That's right. And the same goes for everything else: the components of
the system don't know what's going on, but they create the pattern
anyway. It takes an observer to interpret the pattern as a pattern.
Conscious beings are unusual in that they are their own observer. They
do something, notice that they do it, and this feeds back on their
behaviour.

> Why is that 'simply'? How do you get 'pieces' to 'interact' and obey
> 'rules'? The rules have to make sense in the particular context, and
> there has to be a motive for that interaction, ie sensorimotive
> experience.

It doesn't add anything to physics to say that all interactions are
due to "sensorimotive experience" which can't itself be measured. We
may as well say it is all due to God and God can't be measured.

>> > > >> 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
>> > > >> open.
>>
>> > > > 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
>> > > > your thoughts.
>>
>> > > No, no, no, you can't. Your thoughts supervene on a chain of physical
>> > > events.
>>
>> > My thoughts *are* the chain of physical events. They determine them
>> > and are determined by them.

I thought you said your thoughts are *not* the chain of physical
events. If they are, then they can be predicted to the extent that the
physical events can be predicted.

>> Craig, can you tell me if you disagree with the following description of
>> physical supervience:
>>
>> "To give a somewhat simplified example, if psychological properties
>> supervene on physical properties, then any two persons who are physically
>> indistinguishable must also be psychologically indistinguishable; or
>> equivalently, any two persons who are psychologically different (e.g.,
>> having different thoughts), must be physically different as well.
>> Importantly, the reverse does not follow (supervenience is not symmetric):
>> even if being the same physically implies being the same psychologically,
>> two persons can be the same psychologically yet different physically: that
>> is, psychological properties can be multiply
>> realized<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_realizability>in
>> physical properties."
>
> Yes because it assumes that there is a such thing as two persons who
> are physically or mentally indistinguishable. Even one person is not
> indistinguishable from themselves from moment to moment. Do they have
> the same eyebrow mites crawling around their face? Do they have the
> same quadrillion bacteria in their gut (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
> Gut_flora)?

No, it doesn't assume that, read it carefully. If I say "two things
that have identical structure have identical mass" that doesn't assume
that there are in fact two things with identical structure.

> There is of course a strong correlation between physical and
> psychological phenomena of a human mind/body, but that correlation is
> not causation. Psychological properties can be multiply realized in
> physical properties, but physical properties can be multiply realized
> in psychological properties as well. Listening to the same song will
> show up differently in the brain of different people, and different
> even in the same person over time, but the song itself has an
> essential coherence and invariance that makes it a recognizable
> pattern to all who can hear it. The song has some concrete properties
> which do not supervene meaningfully upon physical media.

It isn't possible to change your mind without changing your brain,
although it probably is possible to change your brain without changing
your mind.

> That's what I've been doing. It's error is that it is based upon
> observations which disprove the existence of the observe. It seeks to
> explain away consciousness by taking order itself for granted and
> minimizing the significance of life, awareness, novelty, creativity,
> free will, teleology, etc. It's looking at only the tails side of the
> coin and saying there is no such thing as 'heads', and the proof is
> that if there were a heads side, we would see it in the tails side.

I assume that we are conscious and that other animals are also
conscious, and that probably computers will eventually be conscious
when they are up to engaging in behaviour as complex as that of
conscious creatures.

>> If thoughts are just electromagnetism,
>
> They aren't. The sensorimotive experience of thought correlates to
> electromagnetism (as time correlates to space and entropy to
> significance) but they are not interchangeable. They are two different
> existential ontologies that share a third essential ontology.
>
>> and we understand electromagetism
>> extremely well, it is perhaps our most solid and best verified of theories (
>> seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_electrodynamics), then what in
>> theory would prevents us from predicting exactly what a particular brain
>> would do in any possible circumstance?
>
> We understand the what and the how of electromagnetism, but to predict
> what a brain would do you need to understand the who and the why of
> sensorimotive perception. With only half the picture, you only get
> half of the predictive power.

So again, as I have said many times and you deny, you are invoking
magic. Electromagnetism is a physical phenomenon that can be measured
and modelled. If it drives the brain then the behaviour of the brain
can be measured and modelled. But if there is something else, not
being electromagnetism or any other measurable physical force, driving
the brain the brain will behave in ways contrary to science, and this
should be observable and widely known.

> If the electron truly were simple, and it had only simple physical
> functions, then it would disqualify the mind from existing. Nothing
> about the physical functions of the brain, neurons, or electrons we
> observe suggest the existence of a mind.

It's no better to say the electron contains a bit of consciousness
that it is to say consciousness results from the electron's
interactions, the functionalist position.


>> An fMRI could not, but a model of your brain and surrounding environment at
>> the level of QED could, unless you think QED is wrong.
>
> Another false dichotomy. If someone in my surrounding environment
> looks at me a certain way, my perception of that presents me with
> feelings and possibilities for interpretations of the look and the
> feelings. QED has no capacity to address phenomena like that and
> therefore fails spectacularly at predicting what I'm going to be
> thinking of, yet does not make QED 'wrong'.

QED and other physical theories are either wrong or magic is occurring
if  neurons fire in a way that cannot be predicted.

>> > This view of the psyche as being the inevitable result of sheer
>> > biochemical momentum is not even remotely plausible to me.
>>
>> Why?
>
> Because it doesn't take into account that there is an experience
> associated with the psyche which is dynamically changing the
> biological momentum from the top down from moment to moment.

But there is no evidence for this over decades of meticulous
biological research.

>> If the atoms always follow these laws, and we can come to know these laws,
>> then in principle a computer programmed to follow these laws can tell us how
>> a particular arrangement of atoms will evolve over time.  Do you agree with
>> this?
>
> No. If bricks always follow certain laws, and we can come to know
> these laws, then in principle a computer programmed to follow these
> laws can tell us how a particular pile of bricks will be assembled
> over time. Do you agree with that? Can you detect the blueprint of a
> future Taj Mahal from the mechanics of how random stones fit together?
> Human consciousness is a specific Taj Mahal of sensorimotive-
> electromagnetic construction. The principles of it's construction are
> simple, but that simplicity includes both pattern and pattern
> recognition. Without one, the other cannot exist and without both
> there can be no evolution of patterns.

Then you are saying that the atoms do *not* always follow physical
laws. If they did, we would be able to predict their behaviour.

>> But you said earlier that no violations of physics occur.  Are you saying
>> that physical systems themselves are unpredictable?
>
> All systems have a physical side, but predictions based upon purely
> physical observations are limited to results which include only
> physical outcomes. The closer you get to your own frame of reference,
> the less predictable and more subjective it appears to be. Physics is
> relative to what you are. It's perception.

So physical considerations will give the purely physical outcome of a
system such as a brain? That's what I have been asking all along. It
isn't possible to look at a physical system and deduce the presence
and nature of its consciousness.

>> Our model of how electrons behave and interact has predicted the anomalous
>> magnetic dipole moment of the electron and the prediction agrees with
>> empirical measurement to 10 significant figures.
>
> That very success is part of the problem. It blinds us to the aspects
> of reality which are not related to physical dynamics of matter in
> space. We have an awesome hammer so everything looks like a nail to
> us.

But it does predict the trajectory of matter in space?

 You can't have it both ways. Either the brain follows physical laws
and its behaviour is predictable or it does not follow physical laws
and it's behaviour is magical.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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