On Oct 23, 2011, at 6:23 AM, John Mikes <jami...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Stathis,
> you wrote quite a 'study' to Craig. May I extract some sentences for my 
> reflections?
> (I delete the entire discussion here)
> John M 
> ================================
> On Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> 
> wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> --
> Stathis Papaioannou
> ===============================
> How do my vocal cords know to produce output relating to the newspaper? There 
> must be *some* causal chain, otherwise it would be magic....
> "Do they indeed? because we don't know about anything else to do the job (so 
> far)?  BTW "MAGIC" is a pretty good word.

Notice that I have made no claim about the exact process involved. If I learn 
that there was an earthquake in China then in some way there must be a causal 
connection between the earthquake and me; otherwise how could I know about it?

> ------------------------------
> If the rest of my brain receives the normal electrochemical stimuli from the 
> replaced part how could it know that anything had changed?
> You would have to say that the visual cortex has some non-physical influence 
> on the rest of the brain, but no such effect has ever been observed. What has 
> been observed is that neurons fire in response to the
> electrochemical signals from the other neurons with which they interface.
> "Does it KNOW at all?"IMO the brain is a TOOL acting for "mentality" 
> (whatever that may be) in ways explained according to our so far detected 
> conventional sciences.
> How did they explai electrical, or EM phenomena BEFORE Galvani? or atomic 
> fission before M. Curie?
> ---------------------------------

We may not know all the physics behind the brain but we know there must be some 
physics, even if undiscovered. The magical theory of consciousness says that it 
is not due to physics or computation but to non-physical processes - a soul.

>  If there is a physical cause then we can explain why and predict when a 
> neuron will fire; if there is not we can't....That is contrary to science, by 
> definition.
> A 'physical' cause? Are we omniscient to know them all? I agree: that would 
> be contrary to (conventional?) science, not only by definition.

It may be a physical cause we don't yet know, but that is not the same as a 
supernatural cause. The history of science is that the number of things 
considered unexplainable, and previously magical, is diminishing all the time.

> ----------------------------------------------
> You claim the putative non-physical influence is ubiquitous in living cells, 
> so it would not be unreasonable to expect that it would have been observed, 
> overturning all of science. But it has never been observed.
> Right on
> ----------------------------
> The choosing and understanding, everything to do with consciousness, 
> cognition and free will, is *as a result of* the mechanistic neural activity. 
> That is the conventional
> scientific view.
> It may well be. I am still at a loss how the physical (electrical) or tissue 
> measurements can explain mental effects (incl. consciousness, free will, 
> emotions etc. as they occur. The "hard problem" is still hard.

It is still hard but *nothing* would offer a satisfactory explanation. If you 
say the explanation for consciousness is x someone can still ask, But why 
should x be associated with consciousness?

> -------------------------
> to other parts: "observable" in our poor understanding and explanatory power 
> of the so far discovered knowledge?
> Explained by those incomplete causes we SO FAR think we detected? We have a 
> very poor view of nature, the infinite complexity and epistemologically we 
> get enrichment all the time.
> Would you abide by a "science" that ignores the 'rest of it' we may learn in 
> the future and explains everything on the level of today's total informative 
> knowledge-base?
> Please, pardon me for my agnostic view I proudly believe in the power of
> "I dunno".

Saying "I  dunno" is OK. It's the scientific way. Saying "I dunno, so it must 
be magic" is not OK.

-- Stathis Papaioannou

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