On Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 3:29 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Oct 9, 12:09 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sun, Oct 9, 2011 at 8:06 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > On Oct 8, 12:12 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> >> On Sat, Oct 8, 2011 at 1:05 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> 
>> >> wrote:
>> >> >> Of course all the parts of the car determine how it will move! You can
>> >> >> predict exactly what the car will do if you know how it works and you
>> >> >> have the inputs.
>>
>> >> > What you are talking about is either tautological and obvious or
>> >> > delusional. if I send you the owner's manual of my car, you can tell
>> >> > me where I'm going to drive it tomorrow? So what are you talking
>> >> > about? That if you observe a car turning, you can tell which way it's
>> >> > turning or something?
>>
>> >> If you send me the plans of your car and the inputs - which way you
>> >> intend to steer and so on -
>>
>> > *which
>> >                    way
>> >                                you
>> >                                          intend
>> >                                                        to steer*
>>
>> > WHAAAAT?????
>>
>> > Did you think you were just going to slip that in and I wouldn't
>> > notice?
>>
>> > So cool, as long as I give you the schematics of my car and tell you
>> > where I'm going to drive to, you will be able to deduce where I'm
>> > going to drive to? Wow, that's almost better than nothing at all.
>> > There is no way that you are serious. You are trolling me, brother.
>>
>> Quentin responded to this.
>
> I'm not sure what he means. If he is pointing out that we were talking
> about determining where a car was going to go and not about the
> intentions of the driver, then I agree with him. Your entire argument
> is that there must be some physical cause within neuron which
> determines what it does. I pointed out that you cannot determine where
> a car is going to go based on physical observations of the car. You
> then erroneously reached for a deus ex machina by suddenly
> contradicting yourself to say that indeed the car's direction cannot
> be determined by physical observation but in fact you would need an
> anecdotal report from a subjective entity called a 'driver'.

A simple model of a car's steering would involve knowing the gear
ratio between the steering wheel and the front wheels. You could then
predict which way the car will turn given the driver's input. That is
what it means to say the simulation can predict the car's behaviour.
If you simulate a neuron, then you predict what the neuron will do
given certain inputs. The model of the neuron does not include the
inputs.

>> Apart from the philosophical issues there are two scientific issues
>> you misunderstand. The first is what it means to simulate something.
>> It appears you think that the simulation must include the whole
>> universe and not just the thing being simulated.
>
> No, it's just that I understand that simulation is a subjective
> proposition. There is no such thing as an objective simulation. That
> would require that one thing be replaced by another which is identical
> in every way, which is impossible or else it would be the same thing.
> I have a much more realistic understanding of simulation, that it in
> fact depends upon which criteria can be perceived by what audience and
> the degree to which those thresholds of perceptual substitution can be
> exceeded. Since we have no idea whatsoever how deeply inseparable the
> physical underpinnings of the psyche are, there is absolutely no
> reason to arbitrarily assume a particular substitution level.

The simulation is not the same as the object being simulated but it
can come arbitrarily close to any 3-P observable aspect of the
object's behaviour.

>> The second is the
>> belief you seem to have that microscopic events can happen without an
>> empirically observable cause. You cite scientific articles discussing
>> spontaneous neural activity and you think that that is what they are
>> talking about: that the transmembrane voltage in a neuron can just
>> change because the subject wills it.
>
> It's not my belief, it is the scientific consensus. If your beliefs
> that subjective will does not change electromagnetic current in the
> nervous system have any validity, then all you have to do is give me a
> link or two of studies which support this. Since you cannot, I will
> assume that underneath it all, you understand that you are factually
> incorrect but are incapable of admitting it, even to yourself.

The scientific consensus in neuroscience is that there is physical
basis for everything that happens in the brain. A neuron will only
fire if its biochemistry requires it to fire. This is not something
that is stated explicitly because it's too obvious to state, like
saying you think with your brain rather than your liver. Specific
papers look at specific mechanisms behind neural activity. For
example,

http://jp.physoc.org/content/305/1/171.long

investigates cerebellar Purkinje cells in the cerebellum, which can be
spontaneously active. The basic principle behind a spontaneously
excitable cell is that the threshold potential for voltage activated
ion channels is lower than the resting membrane potential.

> How
> else do you explain voluntary action being different from involuntary
> actions? Do you think that when you take control of your breathing
> manually that nothing has changed in your nervous system? That we
> suddenly have a hallucination that we are controlling our own
> breathing?

Voluntary breathing involves signals from the motor cortex, while
involuntary breathing involves the brainstem. In general, if you are
aware of your actions and can modify them according to your
cognitions, the actions are voluntary. This has nothing to do with
whether the underlying neurological events are deterministic. A low
level analysis of someone performing a voluntary action would show the
neurons in his brain firing exactly as the biochemistry dictates.

> Your accusations are empty. Your view explains nothing.

It is the position with minimal assumptions that is consistent with
what we know about the brain and behaviour. It is possible that there
is a non-physical influence on behaviour but there is no evidence for
it.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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