Hey Craig,

On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 6:39 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> You have
>> misunderstood what spontaneous neural activity means.
> There is no misunderstanding. It's not even controversial, you're just
> plain denying the uncontested facts. Don't you think that if there
> were any other term besides 'spontaneous' that could be used they
> would have used it? Look at the animations. (http://www.youtube.com/
> watch?v=uhCF-zlk0jY)  Can you not see exactly what that is with your
> own eyes? Your impression of neurology being reducible to a passive
> chain reaction running through the brain is not even wishful thinking,
> it's factually incorrect.

Actually, Stathis's interpretation is the one shared by most of the
neuroscientific community. By and large most scientists do not take
seriously the idea that the behavior of neurons and other cells is
explainable in terms of anything except physical processes. Your
interpretation of 'spontaneous' specifically, and of subjectivity in
general, is on the fringe. That doesn't mean it's wrong, but you are
talking as if your view is well-accepted and obvious to everyone, when
it is anything but. I echo Stathis's challenge to email the authors
and ask them yourself what is meant by 'spontaneous'. The video itself
doesn't really add anything to the conversation, although it is pretty
awesome, so thanks for linking to that.

Your account demands an explanation of how something like "will" can
exert influence on physical things like neurons; that is what Stathis
keeps pressing you on. You cannot say both that will causes changes in
neurons, and there is no magic involved. So, how does will cause
changes in neurons, specifically?

> The only physiological difference is that the signal originates from a
> different part of the brain. Your view has no way to explain why I
> feel that I am in control of my breathing when the signal comes from
> one region, and why I feel nothing when it comes from another,
> especially since they both have the same effect on the same organ. It
> would be redundant to have two separate regions of the brain do the
> exact same thing except one is regular and another comes with 'extra
> zesty metaphysical subjective illusion sauce'.

But your view has no way to explain the difference between voluntary
and involuntary action either - not without an explanation of how will
causes changes in neural behavior. At least with Stathis's
(mainstream) account you can hypothesize about brain architecture, for
instance distinguishing between areas of the brain associated with
self-reflection (neocortex), where the decision to breathe would
originate, and other areas of the brain associated with automatic
functions that are not directly influenced by the former regions. It
is not well understood at all. But invoking a magical cause like
"will" just because the problem is difficult to conceive of otherwise
isn't even wrong, to use your phrase.


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