Craig, do the neurons violate the conservation of energy and momentum? And if not, then how can they have any unexpected effects?


On Sep 29, 2011, at 6:43 PM, Craig Weinberg <> wrote:

On Sep 29, 10:31 am, Stathis Papaioannou <> wrote:

There *is* a strictly neurological reason for the 3-P observable
behaviour. If we limit ourselves to talking about that, do you agree?

I would say no, because I would not describe something like 'gambling'
as strictly neurological reason in the sense that I think you intend
it. Of course all of our feelings and perceptions are neurological
experiences in the broad sense, but that's just because neurological
structures feel and perceive.

If a thought can
cause a movement in the absence of a physical event, for example if
ligand-dependent ion channels open and trigger an action potential in the absence of the ligand, that would be observed as magical, like a
table levitating.

The thought *is* a physical event, it's just the subjective view of
it. It's many physical events, each with a subjective view, but
together, rather than forming a machine of objects related in space,
the experiential side is experiences over time which are shared as a
single, deeper, richer experience stream over time.

But you can't see the thought. Restrict discussion for now to the 3-P
observable behaviour of a neuron being investigated by a cell
biologist. From the scientist's point of view, the neuron only fires
in response to stimuli such as neurotransmitters at the synapse
(depending on what sort of neuron it is).

No, you can see in that brain animation that the neuron fires whenever
it needs to /wants to. It's actions aren't inevitable or scheduled in
some way, it's responding directly to the overall perceptions and
motives of the person as a whole as well as all of the congruences and
conflicts amongst the subordinate neural pathways.

Do you see that if the
thought makes the neuron do anything other than what the scientist
expects it to do from consideration of its physical properties and the physical properties of the environment then it would be observed to be
behaving magically?

Only if the scientist knew nothing about neurology. What the neurons
do, collectively *is* thought. It's no different than how bacteria use
quorum sensing to make collective decisions. I understand why you
might assume that neurons are passive receptacles to some kind of
neurological law, but that is not the case. They are living organisms.

Look at how heart cells synchronize:

They communicate with each other. They do things as a group. Neurons
are much more complicated and unpredictable. They are able to do what
they want to do, not just what they have to do.

You are not answering my question. Why does there need to be
'understanding' at all? You are saying that neurology causes something to occur: understanding. What do you mean by that. What is it? Magic?

It's something which cannot be reduced to something simpler.

Irreducibility is just a characteristic of it. Saying that doesn't
explain what it is.

Again I don't think you understand what would happen if you replaced
part of your brain with a qualia-less component that had the same
third person observable behaviour. Perhaps you could tell me in your
own words if you do.

What would really happen is that it could not have the same third
person observable behavior. If someone is deaf, you cannot observe
their lack of hearing by observing them, unless you intentionally try to test them. If you replace someones eyes with eyes which only see in
the x-ray spectrum, then the visual cortex would pick it up in the
familiar colors of the visible spectrum. If you replaced the visual
cortex with something that processes optical stimulation in the eyes
invisibly, then the patient would see nothing but would develop
perceptual compensation from their other senses very rapidly compared with someone who went blind suddenly. They would have to learn to read
their new optical capacity and it would not be visual, but it would
enable them eventually to behave as a sighted person in most relevant

The replacement part reproduces the 3-P behaviour of the biological

I think that's a mistake to begin with. Does a plastic plant reproduce
the 3-P behavior of a biological plant? If you don't know what the
behavior is, how do you know that it's possible to reproduce it by
other means? You're just assuming that it is like a metal washer that
can be replaced with a plastic one, but we have no reason to think
that this is anything like that.

This means the rest of the brain also has the same 3-P
behaviour, since it is subjected to the same 3-P environmental
influences from the replacement part (that is what was reproduced,
even if the qualia were not). So the subject behaves as if he has
normal vision and hearing and believes that he has normal vision and

It's jumping to a conclusion based on an incorrect assumption. I've
already outlined exactly what I think would happen in the different
replacement scenarios. None of them involve the subject immediately
behaving as if they could see without seeing. It's a blatantly
simplistic and overly theoretical proposition to see this replacement
idea as illuminating. It's a bad example. It's not even good science

You may object that the rest of the subject's brain does not behave
normally since it lacks the input from the qualia. But if the qualia
affect neurons directly, over and above what you would expect from the qualia-less physical activity, that would mean that magical events are

The qualia affect the experience of the neuron's interior. Whether
that translates into some motive output behavior depends on the
neuron's interpretation. You are not seeing that there is constant
interaction between the sensorimotive interior and electromagnetic
exterior - sometimes it's the sensorimotive inducing the
electromagnetic, and sometimes it's the other way around. You can't
always tell which is which from the outside or the inside.


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