On 9/16/2011 11:22 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
On 15 Sep 2011, at 22:22, meekerdb wrote:
On 9/15/2011 11:51 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
On 14 Sep 2011, at 07:27, meekerdb wrote:
On 9/13/2011 10:01 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
On Sep 13, 9:38 pm, meekerdb<meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
On 9/13/2011 4:07 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
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
Of course it's an intellectual construct, but it has predictive power.
I agree. Deferent and epicycle have predictive power too. It doesn't
mean they can't be understood in a greater context with more
explanatory if not predictive power.
And that's what Bruno is trying to do - provide explanations in terms of arithmetic;
which he takes as basic. But explanation is cheaper than prediction.
But comp predicts, given that it predicts the predictable observable. To get more
quantitative results asks for a lot of work and time. But comp predicts all what is
predictible, at different levels or modalities, and it predict in principle much more
given that it gives a glimpse on the complexity of death and all first person possible
experiences. It shows also the abyssal complexity of numbers' epistemologies, and it
frees the universal machine from all normative theories (the usual velleity of "other"
local universal machines).
It is not for practical quantitative prediction, at least not before we get the
physical laws from numbers' theology, but we are interested in fundamental question,
Of course I don't expect you to be able explain why there are three generations of
leptons or tell me what dark matter is. But we need some definite predictions to test
a theory. To just 'predict' linearity or complexity is not very impressive. Physics
is a very well developed field, so it's going to be hard to get from arithmetic to a
Hard? Without doubt. But it is necessary (that *is* the point). I don't know what is
dark matter, or if it exists. But I know that IF I am a machine, then dark matter does
not exist, nor any matter. And I know that addition and multiplication decides all
questions on the *observation* on matter and dark matter in the long run. Necessarily
(that is what has been proved).
But theories of cogitation and consciousness are not well developed; so it is there I
would hope for some real predictions. Here's some interesting observations from a
friend. I wonder if your ideas might explain them.
I insist that I have no ideas. I just show the consequences of mechanism, which is
assumed by almost everyone, with different degrees of explicitness. Did the theory of
evolution predict anything?
It predicted a great deal. It predicted that Lord Kelvin was wrong in his estimate of the
age of the solar system (based on the assumption that the Sun was powered by gravity), a
prediction that Darwin was not bold enough to publish. It could be said to have predicted
genetics. Darwin didn't know about genes, but his theory required some such digital
information transmission. It predicted the unity of biochemistry on Earth.
You must look at the mechanist assumption in a similar way: it shows that the laws of
physics are not a given (like some people believed for biology and species before
Darwin), but that the laws of physics emerge, in a precise way, from the way the
universal numbers relate to each other.
To ask for using mechanism to say something concrete about dark matter, today, would be
like asking if the theory of evolution can explain the action of some plant in the
brain, or the working of my personal computer.
I'll just quickly caveat how far we can extend existing findings, of which there are a
few in the last 4-5 years (see:
www.wjh.harvard.edu/~dsweb/pdfs/06_01_EFC_DLS_ERG_RAS.pdf -- this was done in Dan
Schacter's lab at Harvard; Schacter is a renowned memory researcher; and
www.jneurosci.org/content/27/45/12190.full.pdf -- this was featured in Nature Reviews
in 2007). In terms of memory and confidence, or how memory changes, Elizabeth Phelps
at NYU has done some ground breaking work.
These findings focused on what is happening in the brain during an explicit statement
of confidence in one's answer about some or other semantic statement. The caveat is I
am not sure how far we can extend this to issues or questions for which an answer is
unclear and unavailable, or very difficult to ascertain because veracity may depend on
some type of understanding of conceptual material for which the respondent has limited
knowledge. It is one thing to have confidence that the solution to the integral of cos
x is sin x + C, but another to have confidence that there is a god, or that capitalism
will fail. It seems in the latter two instances the reward system is more important in
neural processing. But in all cases we are looking at the confidence in the belief
that the memory being retrieved is accurate.
During feelings of confidence in which the respondent is correct (high-confidence and
correct), medial and lateral parietal regions are active indicating a role for these
areas in post-retrieval memory monitoring, but, note that limbic regions are also
active for confidence in a recognition decision. In other words, confidence arises as
a result of processing in regions associated with familiarity, on the one hand (and
this is where errors occur), and/or regions that are more closely or directly linked
with the problem at hand - information that is used to solve the problem without so
much digging into our vast data stores.
The second paper goes further and shows the difference between older and younger adults
with respect to high confidence errors, among other things. The interesting findings,
in my opinion, include the fact that the same brain regions (notably though is the
DLPFC which is becoming ever more important as a region of interest in cognitive
neuroscience- in this case it is thought to monitor or modulating decision processes
across cognitive functions) are active during low confidence irrespective of whether or
not a condition of true or false recognition was the case. But during high confidence
different brain regions are active (posterior cingulate in this case) across true
recognition and false recognition.
The conclusion which can be drawn after reading the second paper is that the MTL
(medial temporal lobe, but includes the hippocampus and parahippocampus among other
structures) is involved in high confidence feelings when the respondent is actually
correct (and in the low confidence and incorrect condition), and that frontoparietal
activity is dominant in cases where the respondent is highly confident but incorrect
(but also active in cases of low confidence but correct recognition). There are other
differences which can distinguish the results in parens, but the details are probably
not interesting most here. It is interesting to note however that the activation of
the MTL and frontoparietal regions are virtual mirror images across the high vs low
confidence conditions for true and false recognition - almost like a see saw. We are
dealing with on the one hand direct recollection in correct cases and familiarity in
What is amazing here is that the brain processes high-confidence true and false
recognition very differently, yet the feeling of confidence appears indistinguishable.
It might be interesting to probe this.
The reward system was not a main region of interest in these studies, however, feelings
of confidence are correlated with dopamine release, which necessarily involves the
reward pathways and hence the basal ganglia. The more often one feels correct about
something, especially in the absence of challenge, the more it becomes part of a belief
system - and the more likely a statement fits into a belief system the more likely one
is to be confident in that statement. The confirmation of one's belief system creates
a rewarding feeling associated with these pathways.
It is very interesting, but I don't see why "my idea" should explain those facts.
Because they are about self-reference and true or false beliefs and as such might be
independent of the physical constitution of the brain.
It is *their* approach which are based on "my idea" (mechanism) at the start. They
discuss the aspects of the actual human mind implementation in the brain. It illustrates
my basic postulates. You can't mention a paper based on "my" assumption and discard the
conceptual consequences of that same assumption.
Unless, of course, you have seen a reason to doubt the validity of the UDA argument, in
which case it would be nice if you could elaborate. I did answer your remarks on both
step 6, 7, and 8, but I am willing to explain if it remains something unclear, and I am
willing, at least for awhile to add the 323 principle(*) in the definition of comp, if
that is the problem, although I didn't see any reason to say "yes" to a digitalist
doctor, if the 323 principle was not a consequence of mechanism.
But here too, in our last conversation on the subject, you seem to agree that comp
implies the 323 principle.
No. I didn't. That's what I saw as a tension in the argument. To say the 323 register
is not used is to deny the multiverse interpretation of QM. But I understood that you
regarded the Everettian interpretation of QM as evidence for your theory. If
consciousness is only realized by physical systems, i.e. quantum mechanical ones, then
removing a register may affect that consciousness even though it doesn't affect the
computation (except with very low probability). One might still say yes to replacement of
one's brain with one equivalent as a classical computer because it would also instantiate
those counterfactual possibilities. But an equivalent Platonic function would not.
(*) The 323 principle asserts that if consciousness can be attributed to a computer
running some computation in which the register n° 323 is not used, then the same
consciousness can be similarly attributed to a computer running that same computation,
but where the register n° 323 has been removed from the computer.
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at