On Sep 13, 11:03 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

That doesn't mean anything. The laws of physics are the rules. That's
why I say it's circular reasoning. I ask you what is a rule, and you
say it's at the bottom of laws, but laws are just another word for
rule. There is no bottom, because there's nothing there. It's an
intellectual construct.

> How they are enforced is
> not directly relevant to this discussion (although it is something
> discussed on this list in the past)

To me this clearly means "Pay no attention to the man behind the

> 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.

No, that's just what you need to know. I need to know what up and down
are, what's a force made of, what is proportionality and inverseness
made of and where does it come from. I think that my model provides a
sound basis from which to examine those questions scientifically. All
of those questions that 'we' don't need to know the answers to.

> 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.

So the behavior of the Taj Mahal's construction can be predicted if
the simple rules of bricklaying are understood. Wherever there are
bricks there will be Taj Mahals eventually?? Not compelling
intuitively. No evidence. Just a radical overconfidence in theoretical

 >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.

I agree with that. So what is aware of the complexity?

> Asking why simple leads to complex rather than the other way around is
> not a very meaningful question.

Announcing that a question isn't meaningful is not a very meaningful

> One apple is simple; two apples is
> more complex.

More complex to who? Does a second apple make the first apple any more

>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.

All of which has nothing to do with what makes an apple an apple. What
predicts how the apple will taste? What predicts whether the apple
will be someone's favorite fruit? You're just avoiding the question of
what complexity actually is and spiraling off into repeating the same
19th century bunk materialism argument that 1+1 must = rich Corinthian
leather sooner or later.

>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 are no actual physical laws. There are only our observations of
the patterns we can observe which share physical characteristics. The
idea of 'laws' is a way to understand how the universe makes sense,
but there aren't ghostly metaphysical police departments making sure
that matter does one thing and not another. If we only pay attention
to physical phenomena, then we have nothing to say about subjectivity.
Physics doesn't predict comedy or tragedy. That doesn't mean that
comedy and tragedy are illusions or magic. It just means they are a
different kind of phenomena than a billiard ball or many many billiard

> 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 we had never seen an apple tree grow out of the ground from a seed,
then it would be indistinguishable from magic as far as any physical
computation would anticipate. There is downward influence on
everything. The planet affects weather, weather affects crops, crops
affect our diet, diet affects civilization, civilization affects
domestication, domestication affects our diet and health, health
effects our consciousness, consciousness effects what we decide to
eat, etc etc. Each link contributes upward and downward influence. The
further the influence is from our perceptual-relativistic niche, the
more is seems deterministic and mathematical. The closer it is to our
native subjective frame of reference, the more we perceive it to be
natural, living, familiar, and finally...us.

> >> 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.

Says who? Is your opinion on this determined for you or is it random?
What is determining it if not you? Have you no control of it

>There aren't any other
> possibilities.

Oh, well if you put it scientifically like that... As long as we're at
it, can we state that arguments from authority are the basis of
scientific curiosity? How about 'Ignorance is strength.'?

>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.

What if your decisions are based upon your own choices which arise out
of experience, randomness, and actual, legitimate, personal volition.
You know, exactly how it has always seems when we're not actively
struggling to disprove it with tortured reasoning and sophistry.

> > 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.

So far so good.

> 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.

I agree with that too. However in order to 'notice' anything, you have
to have awareness of some kind to begin with. Consciousness is an
awareness of awareness. Awareness itself has to have the property of
being able to feed back on itself. A ping pong ball does not have that
property, nor do a trillion ping pong balls in a giant box.

> > 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.

Sensorimotive experience can be measured. You just might need to put
things into your brain to do it. The point is not to add to physics,
it's to expand physics so that it encompasses the full phenomenology
of the actual cosmos.

> >> > > >> 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.

They are not the *result* of physical events, but they are embodied by
physical events. The brain as a whole is made of a zillion micro
physical effects. The experience of a person as a whole is made of a
zillion sensorimotive micro experiences. They do not correlate one to
one, a thought to a neuron firing or a neurotransmitter molecule to a
feeling, but are instead complementary expressions of the overall
phenomena. Like a pattern of pits on a CD and a song correlate to a
common sense, the pits themselves are not translatable into a song
without a living human psyche to listen to it being played on a CD

> >> 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.

'two things that have identical structure' doesn't mean that  you are
talking about 'two things with identical structure'?

> > 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.

Electromagnetism is the physical end of a phenomenon that we have
partially modeled.

>If it drives the brain then the behaviour of the brain
> can be measured and modelled.

We have only measured and modeled the most primitive, literal examples
of electromagnetism. We have not yet scratched the surface of how it
scales up to human perception.

>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.

That would be true if I were an idiot and had not considered that
already many times. I get what you're saying. You don't understand
what I'm saying. Unfortunately that means it's up to you to understand
me if you care to.

> > 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.

Then that means it's no worse either? It makes a difference because
the functionalist position is a wild goose chase for the Philosopher's
Stone of a formula for exporting our consciousness into inanimate
objects. My way explains why light and life and awareness seem elusive
to us and unlike other material processes.

> >> 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.

I don't know why you keep wanting to hear the same objection over and
over, but what you're saying is completely bogus. It's no different
from saying that if understanding how a TV set works doesn't predict
the winner of the Super Bowl ten years in advance, then there must be
magic occurring.

> >> > 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.

Are you saying there is no evidence that we can manipulate our own
brain chemistry consciously? Since emotions are essentially (but not
existentially) the same thing as physical events in the brain, if you
assume that the physical events are primary, then your study will
reflect that. When a person decides to think about something that is
associated with a certain emotion, neurotransmitter events takes place
in the brain (in different regions, some simulataneously, some in
chain reactions). There is no evidence to suggest that the
neurotransmitters in the patients brain could cause the doctors brain
to suggest to the patient that they think of something which would
precipitate that brain event or emotion. We are not just biochemical
puppets. Our biochemistry responds to our feelings and thoughts as
well as causing us to respond to it's collective experiences and
conditions. I don't see how you can deny that with any sincerity.

> >> 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.

No. That's what you're saying. I'm saying that physical laws are
observations about simple, literal, objective phenomena. Not
everything can be addressed meaningfully by the laws of physics. It's
not a universal tool of understanding, it has a specific, limited
efficacy. If we understand what physicality actually is, and what
makes it possible to even consider the idea of anything other than
physicality, then we could realize that predictibility is one of the
qualities which diminishes the more you look at the other end of the
continuum of sense. Matter acts predictably on the outside, less so on
the inside.

> >> 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.

The brain is too close to our own frame of reference. We know too much
about what's going on from the inside view to be able to predict to
any meaningful degree of precision. We can predict generally how a
healthy brain should function, but not the idiosyncratic patterns of
how any particular person's brain will function over time. If you
could predict how the person's life will go minute by minute, then
sure, you could get a pretty good idea, but then you have to predict
the entire universe.

> >> 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?

Sure, if it's just on the general level of 'matter'. If you want to
predict the trajectory of a serotonin molecule in a brain, you might
need to know what a person is thinking about. Serotonin in a brain
acts differently than serotonin by itself in a vacuum. There is
nothing in the molecular structure of serotonin which indicates that
it should have a role in something like a human brain. What is
meaningful about serotonin cannot be described in purely in terms of
it being a bonded group of atoms. It's a physical agent but it's also
a chemical, biological, and neurological agent.

>  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.

You can have it a third way. The brain has behaviors which can be
described adequately with physical observation, and it has behaviors
which can only be described meaningfully in other ways.


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