On Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 7:16 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I have said many times already, if you think that I am talking about
> something thay contradicts physics then you don't understand what I'm
> talking about. Some people do, but you don't. Thats ok, not everyone
> is interested enough to try to understand it, but if you are I suggest
> you read my info at s33light.org first.

There's a lot there to digest. It is hard to understand, and honestly
I barely have enough time to participate to the limited degree that I
do here. And frankly if you made a more compelling case for your ideas
here I would be more interested.  But your argumentation, what I've
read of it anyhow, has been somewhat contradictory, not to mention
hostile.

>> It just means these
>> circuits are firing, and there is no well established tiheory that
>> predicts that activity.
>
> Right. That was my point. Stathis denies this and insists that physics
> predicts this activity and that it is no different from a leaf in the
> wind.

I think we are talking past each other. There is the behavior of
neurons at the single-neuron level. That is fairly well understood.
Nothing about the spontaneous activity you referenced really
challenges anything about our understanding of single-neuron function.
You may disagree, but you would be disagreeing with the mainstream.

Then there is the behavior of large ensembles of neurons. This is an
emergent phenomenon and is not well understood. Spontaneous activity
is described at this emergent level. In fact, there may be multiple
levels of emergence in the brain, each characterized by a unique set
of dynamics. It is hard to say, because the complexity involved is
mindblowing. But the fact that we have observed activity at this level
of the brain that confounds us is hardly news. It just reinforces the
brute fact that we really don't know how the brain works. And this
says almost nothing about the nature of will or consciousness.

>> The brain is an incredibly complex non-linear system. Almost all of
>> its behavior can be characterized as "without obvious linear cause".
>>
>
> Again, I agree completely. That is the opposite of Stathis' position.

I doubt that Stathis would agree with that. Again we must distinguish
between single neuron dynamics, which are fairly well understood (and
can be roughly modeled in terms of linear dynamics, but only if you
don't care about precision), and large scale dynamics of ensembles of
neurons, which are not all understood in terms of any kind of linear
analysis. I would be surprised if Stathis disagreed with this
description.

>> OK, then all you're really saying is that will supervenes on a lower
>> level (atomic) than what the majority believe (the level of neurons).
>> Electromagnetism is computable and therefore you are saying comp is
>> true.
>
> Close but no. Will and electromagnetism are the same thing but viewed
> from opposite perspectives. Our personal will correlates to many
> regions of the brain at once. Electromagnetic changes on a neuron or
> molecular level correlate to subconsious and unconscious micro-motive
> wills.

That is just hand-waving. There is no way to refute it and there is no
explanatory power. Why did Bob kick that tree?  "It was his
electromagnetic dynamics, i.e. his will."  "It was God's will". They
both have the same explanatory power.

Also, why is will, in your account, confined to regions of the brain?
If will and electomagnetism are the same thing, where are the
boundaries?  Why not the entire brain (even the parts we know to
control involuntary behaviors)?  Why not the entire body?  Why not the
air I breathe in and out, and my shit and piss, pardon the language?
All of that can be modeled in terms of its electromagnetic dynamics if
you go micro enough.

>>
>> If you want my explanation, will is a psychological epiphenomenon.
>
> Which means you are relying on metaphysics. I don't.

You wanted an alternative explanation. I was not offering it to argue
it. Only to show that there are alternative explanations in which
"will" is something that is not contradicted by the laws of physics.
Perhaps it is wrong. Who cares.

>> We
>> don't actually will our behavior, not from a single "command and
>> control center". Our bodies and minds simply behave, according to all
>> sorts of instinctive, conditioned, and even contemplative impulses,
>> and our egos tell the story of it as if there was a single source of
>> all of our impulses.
>
> Partly true yes, but it makes no sense for ego to exist at all. We
> have both voluntary and involuntary ranges of experience.

So you don't believe in egos?

>> We say, "I ate the pie", but really, our eating
>> the pie can be more accurately described as a desire to satiate
>> hunger, and/or a desire to experience pleasure, or in some situations,
>> a learned response to the desire to reduce anxiety. Will is a story we
>> tell about ourselves, but it is just a narrative that unifies many
>> disparate impulses. This is evident when we behave in a way we can't
>> explain... "I don't know why I snapped at her."
>>
>
> Yes but why and how would such an unnecessary narrative exist?

That is for you to answer, unless you are asserting that you don't
participate in such a narrative yourself.

>> To be more specific about breathing: our diaphragm is controlled by an
>> ancient part of the brain that we do not have conscious access to
>> (meaning, there are no inputs from this ancient circuit to the higher
>> levels of the brain where self-reflection is processed). When we take
>> control of our breathing, a higher-order layer of the brain (the
>> cortex) exercises control of the diaphragm by supervening on that
>> ancient circuit (those higher levels manipulate the ancient circuit).
>> I'm aware there's a lot of holes in this account. I'm offering it not
>> as a precise or robust theory but as a possible explanation - one that
>> allows for the feeling of will but without invoking any magic. It is
>> very counter-intuitive because the illusion of a single "I" is so
>> strong, the ego having been conditioned in us at such a young age, but
>> there is some evidence for this explanation.
>
> If consciousness were mere epiphenomenon there would be no reason for
> more than one area of the brain to control breathing.
>
> Craig

That is an argument from ignorance. Just because you can't conceive of
a reason, doesn't make that a valid argument.

Terren

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