On Oct 4, 2:11 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:

> The ion channel only opens when the ligand binds. The ligand only
> binds if it is present in the synapse. It is only present in the
> synapse when the presynaptic neuron fires. And so on.

It's the 'and so on' where your explanation breaks down. You are
arbitrarily denying the top down, semantic, subjective participation
as a cause. There is no presynaptic neuron prior to the introduction
of the thought of gambling. The thought is the firing of many neurons.
They are the same thing, except that the reason they are firing is
because of the subject choosing to realize a particular motivation (to
think about something or move a mouse, etc). There is no neurological
reason why those neurons would fire. They would not otherwise fire at
that particular time.

>This whole
> process is associated with an experience, but it is a completely
> mechanical process.

Starting a car initiates a mechanical process, and driving a car
executes a mechanical process, but without the driver choosing to
start the car and use the steering wheel and pedals to correspond with
their subjective perception and motivation, the car doesn't do
anything but idle. You cannot predict where a car is going to go based
on an auto mechanics examination of the car. I can argue this point
all day, every day. I can give you different examples, describe it in
different ways, but I can't make you see what you are missing. I know
exactly your position. You think that if you look at atoms they cannot
do anything except what we expect any generic atom to do, and since
everything is made of atoms, then everything can only be an
elaboration of those probabilities. I get that. You don't need to
restate your position to me ever again. You are quite clear in what
you are saying. I'm telling you that it's medieval compared to what
I'm talking about.

You aren't seeing that atoms respond to their environment - they have
charge and make bonds, and that the environment can change on a macro
scale for macro scale reasons just as well as the macro scale can be
changed for microcosmic reasons. They are the same thing. Just as I am
choosing these letters to make up these words because I have a
sentence in mind that I want to write, not because my fingers have no
choice but to hit these keys to satisfy some chemical or physical law.

>The equivalent is my example of the door: it opens
> because someone turns the key and pushes it. If it had qualia it may
> also be accurate to say that it opens because it wants to open, but
> since we can't see the qualia they can't have a causal effect on the
> door.

Someone turns the key and pushes it because they want to. It is their
qualia that has a causal effect on the door and *nothing else*. The
intentionality of the subject *uses* the neurons of the brain, which
use the afferent nerves down the spine, which uses the muscle tissue
to contract, which moves the arm connected to the hand that holds the
key and articulates the turning and opens the door which satisfies the
sensory>motive>motive>motor>motor>motor>sensory chain of custody. The
door opens because the person sees the door (visual sense),
understands how it works and that they have the key (cognitive sense),
wants to unlock it (motive intent, emotional sense), is able to use
their brain, spinal cord, arm, hand, and key as a single coordinated
instrument (motive>motive>motor>fine motor>motor extension) to satisfy
their desire to feel and see that the door is open (sensory) and to
pass through the door (motor).

Yes, I understand that you can look at it the other way and say that
since it it the brain that stimulates and coordinates the arm, and it
is the brain's activity that causes that, and that the neurons in the
brain cause that, and that the ion channels, membrane potentials,
neurotransmitter molecules, and atoms that cause all of that, then you
should be able to calculate from the positions of all of that
microcosmic phenomana that the door will open. But it doesn't work
that way. The microcosmos doesn't know what a door is. It has a very
complex job to do already in it's own biochemical level of the
universe. Just as we have no direct awareness of what our DNA is
doing, our tissues don't know who we are or why we want to open the
door. Only we know that.

> If they could we would see the door opening by itself and we
> would be amazed. It's the same with the neuron: if the associated
> qualia had a causal effect on matter we would see neurons firing in
> the absence of stimuli, which would be amazing.

The qualia is the stimuli. Why else do you think it's there? What
would be the point of qualia if not to exert an influence on the
choices we make?

> Again, it's not that it's wrong to say that the neurons fired in the
> amygdala because the person thought about gambling, it's that the
> third person observable behaviour of the neurons can be entirely
> explained and predicted without any reference to qualia.

They cannot be predicted any more than an auto mechanic can predict
where a car is going to go. They can explain the mechanism's
superficial function, but they can't make sense of the purpose - the
sense or motive. We can find only what and how and where in the
neuron, not the who and the why and the when. You need all six to
really 'explain' or predict.

>If the
> neurons responded directly to qualia they would be observed to do
> miraculous things and it may not be possible to predict or model their
> behaviour.

They do respond directly to qualia. Some people do feel that life and
free will is miraculous, that's up to you - because you can choose
your opinion and your brain will follow your lead. You are not only a
puppet of your neurology, not completely, or you could not even
question it in the first place because non-determinism would be
inconceivable. It's not inconceivable to me. It's a clear and obvious
as these letters I'm choosing to type here and you are choosing to


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to