On Oct 24, 9:38 pm, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 2:15 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Are you seriously suggesting that I can talk about an actual event without 
> >> there be a causal chain between the event and the sound that comes out of 
> >> my mouth?
>
> > You can talk about anything you want though. If I talk about a
> > backache it doesn't mean that there is a connection from my back to my
> > vocal cords. If I talk about the dark side of the Moon it doesn't mean
> > there is a causal connection between my larynx and the unlit lunar
> > surface. I don't understand why the A connected to B and B connected
> > to C implies A connected to C directly.
>
> If I correctly read something put in front of me there must be a
> causal connection between the paper or screen and the sound that comes
> out of my mouth. The causal connection is through a chain of neural
> connections.

No. That's a logical fallacy. If I go to France and then I go to the
Moon, that does not mean that there is a causal connection between
France and the Moon. It's indefensible to claim otherwise.

>
> >> They are connected to each other through a network of neurons in which the 
> >> output of a downstream neuron is dependent on the inputs of the upstream 
> >> neurons. This so that the behaviour of the organism as a whole, controlled 
> >> by its nervous system, is dependent on its environmental inputs; otherwise 
> >> it would quickly die.
>
> > You know that a lot of simple organisms don't have nervous systems,
> > right?
>
> > "• Eukaryotic, single-cell protists
> >  • Move through environment via coordinated motion of cilia on the
> > outer surface
> >    But no nervous system!"
>
> I was of course referring to organisms with nervous systems, but even
> the ones without must alter their behaviour according to environmental
> inputs or they will not survive.

They do alter their behavior, but without a nervous system. Your claim
that  a nervous system evolved out of survival necessity is false.

>
> >http://web.pdx.edu/~zelickr/sensory-physiology/lecture-notes/OLDER/L1...
>
> > As far as I know, there is no 'downstream' neuron in the larynx that
> > depends on an upstream 'input' from the optic nerve or vice versa.
> > Blindness does not cause people to lose their voice and laryngitis
> > doesn't cause loss of vision.
>
> Indirectly, the larynx must be connected to the optic nerve or we
> wouldn't be able to describe what we see. Is that not obvious?

Indirectly everything is connected to everything. The foot is
connected to the ass indirectly too. So what? Indirect connection is
meaningless in this context. The larynx doesn't talk to the retina.

>
> >>If this sensitivity to environmental inputs did not require a causal 
> >>connection between neurons then why has the nervous system evolved at all? 
> >>>Why don't the muscles just make decisions and contract on their own?
>
> > Tissues and cells do make decisions, contract, move on their own (see
> > PDF above - eukaryotes). Think about carnivorous plants
> >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymnLpQNyI6...no nervous system 2,
> > nervous system 0.
>
> Their cells respond to environmental inputs. If they did not they
> would display random behaviour and would die.

You rhetorically asked why muscles don't just make decisions and
contract their own, and now you are agreeing with me that cells
actually do make decisions on their own. Your position has been that
without a nervous system's functionality, organisms could not survive.
Now your position has morphed into my position of sensemaking on the
cellular level. Of course cells respond to environmental inputs. That
is what I think sensorimotive experience is.

>
> >> Yes, we assume that that is so. If the visual cortex is missing the visual 
> >> qualia are missing. However, if neurons in the motor cortex controlling 
> >> >speech get the same inputs they normally get they will produce the same 
> >> outputs, so the speech produced will be the same.
>
> > Sorry, I find this is a bizarre misinterpretation of physiology. Motor
> > neurons do not determine the content of our speech. They are just the
> > mechanical conduit for the cognitive areas of the brain to express
> > itself verbally. If the visual cortex is missing, the cognitive areas
> > get no new visual experience, therefore they can't accurately report
> > on that - not by speech, writing, gestures, etc. Nothing would be the
> > same.
>
> Motor neurons controlling speech describing what the person is seeing
> must get input indirectly from the retina, processed of course in
> complex ways by the intermediate neural tissue.

"intermediate neural tissue"?? Haha, you mean *the brain*? It's sort
of like saying "the gas pedal must get input indirectly from the
windshield, processed of course in complex ways by the intermediate
hominid tissue." You are inverting the orientation of subjectivity,
making the means into ends and the ends into means. Motor neurons
don't control speech, they facilitate control for the cognitive
regions of the cortex. The cortex is what is experiencing input from
the retina and sending output to the larynx. The only control is
coming from the intentionality through the cortex. Everything else;
the motor neurons, their ion channels, the charge across their cell
membrane, reflect that intentionality. They do not direct it in
voluntary initiatives.

>The motor neurons
> controlling my hands as I type this must be receiving input from your
> brain, albeit relayed through multiple electronic and biological
> stages. Otherwise how could I possibly respond to what you are saying?

If that were the case then your hands would continue to respond to
what I was saying if you were decapitated. Again, if I get a letter
from France and I write a letter mentioning that fact to someone on
the Moon, it does not mean that the Moon is receiving input from
France. Neither France nor the Moon knows anything about you or your
letters. I understand what you are saying though, and I agree, yes,
sensorimotive experience propagated much differently from physical
substance. It hops from node to node as an imitated or remotely
redirected first hand experience. Experience is shared. That sharing
informs the subject. The event which informs the subject can be
reconceptualized as 'data', 'information', or 'inputs' but that is a
second order logic which has no reality or explanatory power, but is
useful for computation. Physically though, there is no magical
substance that leaks out of my brain and into your fingers.

>
> >>It must be this way given the principle of no magical influences (to which 
> >>you claim to subscribe). For if the qualia produced an effect on the 
> >>>neurons separate to that of the physical factors, which are replicated by 
> >>the artificial neurons, that would appear as a magical influence.
>
> > 2. Qualia routinely has an effect on neurons. That is what voluntary
> > action is. Whether or not it appears as magical is a matter of
> > interpretation.
>
> > Look at 
> > this:http://www.domain-b.com/technology/biotech_pharma/20111019_communicat...
>
> > '''This was a real surprise," says Tyszka. "We expected to see a lot
> > less coupling between the left and right brain in this group - after
> > all, they are missing about 200 million connections that would
> > normally be there. How do they manage to have normal communication
> > between the left and right sides of the brain without the corpus
> > callosum?'''
>
> > I feel confident that it is only a matter of time before science will
> > have to model the nervous system in something like the way that I'm
> > suggesting.

Then your confidence is misplaced. It's going in the other direction.

>
> But the authors are not claiming a non-physical influence. The
> challenge is to find what mechanism is responsible for the
> coordination of the resting state activity in these brains:
>
> http://submissions.miracd.com/ismrm2011/proceedings/files/431.pdf
>
> "Over 80% of neurotypical BOLD resting state networks identified by group
> PICA are preserved in adult AgCC subjects suggesting that compensatory 
> networks
> established during brain development play a major role in this
> condition. Further work is
> required to identify the role of the remaining RSNs both unique to and
> absent in AgCC."

Nobody is claiming a non-physical influence. What the findings show is
that even the most obvious functions of the brain do not seem to be
tied exclusively to the presumed neural mechanisms. The more that we
learn, the more that the 'labeled lines' model falls apart. I'm only
trying to show that your idea of neuroscience is not supported. I'm
not trying to say that my ideas are established science, only that
they do not contradict any scientific observations.

>
> >> You cite neurobiological research but you reject the most basic scientific 
> >> principles of that research, which is that a neuron depolarises its 
> >> >membrane in response to physical factors that have been known for 
> >> decades, and not seriously disputed. How the ensemble of neurons >behaves, 
> >> how this gives rise to intelligence, is still not well-understood, but how 
> >> an individual neuron behaves is well-understood, and whether it >fires or 
> >> not is a function of its internal state and the inputs it receives. A 
> >> neuroscientist would just have to show one example of a neuron doing the 
> >> >opposite of what science would predict and he would be famous.
>
> > A neuron depolarises it's membrane in response to electromagnetic
> > factors like charge and voltage. These phenomena are what we see when
> > we look outside of our perceptual frame of reference. On the inside,
> > they are nothing but primitive kinds of feeling and acting. The
> > feeling is the depolarization. It is the same thing. There is no
> > depolarization without a feeling (not a human feeling of course, but a
> > neuron's feeling) and there is no feeling without a depolarization -
> > at least as far as we know for sure. NDE's and phenomena like
> > hysterical blindness suggest there may be more to it than that.
>
> Whether there is a feeling associated with neuronal activity is
> separate from the question of whether the neuronal activity is
> determined by the observable physical factors. If something
> unobservable, the qualia, causes something observable, membrane
> depolarisation, then that would appear like magic.

No it would appear exactly as it does, as depolarization. You aren't
getting it. Depolarazation is what a neuron's qualia looks like from
our technologically extended point of view. To the neuron it's a
feeling. You keep imagining that physics demands some sort of schedule
or timing for neurons to fire but the necessity of neurons to respond
to their environment (just as you agreed cells must respond to their
environment or die) would demand independence from any kind of
deterministic schedule. How do you reconcile these contradictions you
insist upon?

>
> >> If the physical state of the neuron plus the inputs it receives do not 
> >> determine whether it will fire then the neuron behaves in a manner 
> >> contrary to >physics, like a table levitating without any force on it. The 
> >> worst thing is not that you make the claim that this is how the brain 
> >> works but that you >repeatedly contradict yourself by saying this is how 
> >> it works but it isn't contrary to the physics.
>
> > You are not understanding that the physical state of the neuron and
> > the subjective experience of the neuron are the same thing. You aren't
> > reading what I am writing. Your model of one supervening on the other
> > is false. Sometimes interior sense drives exterior events, sometimes
> > exterior events drive sense, but they are only opposite ends of a
> > single process. This does not contradict physical observation in any
> > way.
>
> I don't think it is right to say that the physical state of the neuron
> and the subjective experience are the same but even if it is, then the
> neuron's behaviour should be deterministic and computable, since all
> the physical processes in neurons of which we are aware are
> deterministic and computable.

A single neuron may well be quite deterministic, just as an atom by
itself is deterministic. If you scale up from atom to atoms, it is
still pretty deterministic. From cell to cells or neuron to neurons
however is very different, just as a culture of millions of
individuals is not deterministic from the biology of the individual
member.

>
> >> You're not saying that the neuron's behaviour is determined by as yet 
> >> undiscovered physical laws, you're saying that its behaviour is not
> >> determined by any physical law at all.
>
> > No, I'm saying the opposite of that. I'm saying that electromagnetism
> > is feeling. They are the same thing. There is no physical observation
> > that suggests that electromagnetism is not feeling.
>
> An electric motor has a lot of electromagnetism going on but it
> probably doesn't have a lot of feeling.

The motor is only a motor relative to our frame of perception. The
level where inorganic material feels or detects something, you can't
really call it a motor, it's just charged volumes of metal. That is
the most primitive sense of physical sense so I agree that I would not
call it feeling in an animal sense, but there is an experience
happening, a relation between matter which is exerting force and
matter which is subjected to that proto-intentionality.

>
> >> This isn't really an answer, it's just a way of avoiding giving an answer. 
> >> How is it possible if the artificial neurons produce output with the same 
> >> > timing as the biological neurons that the behaviour would look abnormal?
>
> > It's not a matter of timing. The visual cortex can't do anything with
> > an optic nerve made of artificial neurons with the 'same timing' as
> > natural neurons. They have nothing to do with timing. They have to do
> > with transmitting the optical environment from the retina. If you've
> > got  a natural retina, and a natural visual cortex, you should be able
> > to replace the optic nerve in theory, but you can't replace either the
> > retina or visual cortex without losing the ability to see.
>
> If the impulses coming down the fibres of the optic nerve are the same
> then the visual experiences will be the same. In general, if any
> neuron is replaced by a device that passes on the signals it receives
> in a manner similar to the original neuron then the downstream neurons
> won't behave any differently, for how could they know that anything
> had changed?

That's fine if all you are doing is passing on signals from an object
to a subject. You are failing to see that the subject is the
destination of the signal and not just a dumb conduit for it. Glasses
can help you see but they can't help someone see who is blind.

>
> >>You would again have to invoke the non-physical influences, since the 
> >>physical ones are all taken care of.
>
> > 1. Ok, this is the last time I am going to answer this accusation from
> > you. The physical influences are already known. Why they do what they
> > do in a brain are not known. There is no mystery associated with how a
> > signal travels from one part of the nervous system or another, how
> > those signals are produced mechanically, etc. What we don't know is
> > what a signal actually is. What makes an electromagnetic event
> > meaningful to something. How is meaning or significance attached to
> > matter?
>
> It's an unanswerable question, in that no possible answer would satisfy.

Why is it unanswerable though? My answer works fine I think. Meaning
and matter are opposite attributes of a single universal phenomena.

>
> > My view is that it isn't. Meaning and significance are attached to
> > subjective experience, not to matter. Both matter and experience are
> > essentially the same thing but existentially they appear to subjects
> > as opposite things. You seem to be unwilling or unable to conceive of
> > this relation. It may be an innate ability, like being ambidextrous,
> > so even though it is frustrating for me, it may not be your fault at
> > all.
>
> But how is subjective experience attached to matter? You can't answer
> other than to say "it just is".

It's not that it 'just is' it's that the appearance of matter and
experience being two separate (opposite) things is a function of our
perceptual-relativity. We are experiencers of matter so we see what is
within ourselves as proprietary, signifying, energy events through
time and we perceive what is outside of ourselves as generic, a-
signifying, material objects across space. It's the opposite of 'It
just is' - it is the foundation of sense and symmetry itself.

>
> > Most people have to see the universe as either a material system that
> > somehow evolved consciousness mechanically, or an experiential journey
> > orchestrated by a divine agency which uses and controls physical
> > events. I see both of those extremes as pathological, but that the
> > relation between the two can be used to help us understand how the
> > reality of the cosmos is neither of those things but will look like
> > either one depending on which perspective we apply. It's like an
> > ambiguous 
> > image:http://opticalillusions.koalawebsitedesign.com/image/T629037A_002.jpg
> > Neither perception is truer than the other, and they are mutually
> > exclusive. You can't see both patterns as individually coherent, but
> > that doesn't mean that the coherence or incoherence is not real.
>
> And you still haven't explained how a neuron can do anything
> non-deterministic if it does not break any of the deterministic laws
> of physics. Saying that the qualia and the physics are the same thing
> does not help you unless the qualia have an effect separate to the
> physics, which would be seen as a non-physical or magical effect by an
> observing neuroscientist.

Neurons have more capacity than other kinds of cells to render their
sensorimotive content transparent to a larger organism. That is their
function within an organism. They facilitate panoptican spectatorship
of the entire organism. By themselves, they are like an individual
pixel on a screen. Still not completely deterministic as you assume
(if it were it would have no potential to become anything more than an
individual neuron), but much more deterministic than what is possible
in a group of neurons. The sensorimotive aggregation amongst the
neural collective scales up exponentially in qualitative richness
while the electromagnetic complexity scales up in a completely
different way.

Experience is multiplied through time, creating significance, matter
is divided across space, resulting in entropy. The tissue of the brain
gets more interconnected, but it means nothing without the perceptual
depth being accessed within. Everything that happens in the brain is
related directly to qualia - either as a consequence of it or as
support for it's experience and enjoyment. You cannot understand
anything about the human organism without seeing that relation as
primary. You are approaching it from the tail end first. You can do it
that way, and indeed you need to do it that way for engineering
purposes, but as far as understanding really what is going on, it's a
catastrophic inversion which does not survive real world
correspondence. It is not for me to prove that I am not deterministic
in my control of my neurons, it is for you to prove that I am not
electromagnetic charge itself - localized temporarily to this human
process.

>
>
>
> >> They would be understood mechanically so that their senseless 3-p 
> >> behaviour would be replicable. That would allow us at least in principle 
> >> to replace parts of the brain without affecting the 3-p behaviour of the 
> >> person. There is a serious problem when we consider a person whose 
> >> behaviour is normal (says that he feels perfectly normal etc.) while he 
> >> has a gross deficit in qualia.
>
> > Qualia is feeling. If he feels perfectly normal, then there is by
> > definition no deficit in qualia. There would be no reason to replace
> > parts of the brain if we didn't know that they facilitate our qualia,
> > will, etc. The brain is just a fancy electric sponge without a 1-p
> > person experience associated with it.
>
> He would *say* that he feels perfectly normal because his language
> centre would be receiving normal electrochemical impulses from the
> artificial visual cortex, whose job it is to send those impulses with
> the same amplitude and frequency as the original.

The language center receives no impulses from the visual cortex. Eyes
don't speak (not literally anyways).

>
> >> > No, they would have discovered ordinary subjectivity. It is observable
> >> > though, just not with primitive electromagnetic instruments. We
> >> > observe them subjectively all the time.
>
> >> So if they had better instruments they would see neurons firing for no 
> >> reason at all?
>
> > No, we would observe the reasons that they are firing. We would 'see'
> > their pain and pleasure.
>
> What would the low level molecular mechanism of that be?

There is no mechanism, it's just the other half of what a molecule
actually is. Every mechanism correlates to an experience.

>
> >> Ion channels open and close in response to electric fields and ligands 
> >> binding, just as doors open and close in response to an appropriate force 
> >> > on them. Whether there are qualia associated with the ion channels or 
> >> the doors (and doors aren't really less likely to have them) makes no
> >> difference to what we observe.
>
> > Electric fields are nothing but the sense and will of molecules. It
> > doesn't have to make a difference to you as an observer, that's true.
> > It's optional. Just as it doesn't have to make a difference to me if
> > somebody gets their hands chopped off. It makes a difference to Mr.
> > Sadhooks though.
>
> An electric field is precisely measurable and the mathematics
> describing it is well-understood. We can therefore tell whether an ion
> channel will open by observing the electric field. If there is a 50 mV
> potential across the membrane and that is sufficient to make the ion
> channel open then it will open, regardless of what the "sense and will
> of molecules" is.

The electric field is dynamic. That's what depolarization is. If I
decide to move my arm, my decision *is* the depolarization of neurons.
I control it because I am the electric field.

>
> >> >> But what causes a particular ion channel to open, for example?
>
> >> > Changes in it's charge.
>
> >> Not really. They are large polarised molecules which are distorted when in 
> >> the vicinity of a sufficiently large electric field or non-covalent 
> >> binding of a specific ligand. The temperature and pH also affects the 
> >> configuration, as with all proteins. Given any set of physical conditions, 
> >> the configuration of the ion channel is precisely determined.
>
> > The electric field is not physical. It is not a pseudosubstance that
> > persists in space independently of matter. It is nothing but the sense
> > and motive of molecules. The molecular sense looks quite deterministic
> > to us (and it may actually be deterministic), the cellular sense
> > appears less deterministic, and the multicellular sense appears
> > routinely non-deterministic and spontaneous. That is all that we
> > know.
>
> Not only is the electric field as physical as it is possible to be, it
> is also easily measurable and described by well-understood equations.

The equations are right, it's only the interpretation as physical
which is ultimately inverted. Electromagnetism is not a field, it is a
sense. This sensemaking is what gives rise to physicality itself.
Bruno would say that this is arithmetic realism driving physics, but I
say that arithmetic is a higher order logic superimposed upon a
sensorimotive-experiential primitive. This is not settled science by
any means, this is Multisense Realism, but I think that it is probably
accurate.

>
> > How top level intentionality translates into efferent nerve discharge
> > is not explainable through physics alone, because pain and pleasure
> > have no melting point or specific gravity. They aren't objects in
> > space, they are experiences in time. Pain and pleasure do *not*
> > contradict physics, they just give meaning to it. My idea explains how
> > experiential qualia relate to matter - not attached as a purposeless
> > epiphenomenal afterthought, not metaphysically conjured as an
> > 'emergent property', but inhering essentially. It seems complicated
> > because what we are is complicated so we mistake objective phenomena
> > on other perceptual levels for the mechanical cause of our rich
> > subjectivity. If we were a single cell, with no nervous system, it
> > would be easier to see how simple it actually is...How quorum sensing
> > is a shared experience like a wave in a crowd and the firing of a
> > neuron is like an individual's local enthusiasm witnessing a home run
> > or touchdown shared simultaneously by an audience of billions.
>
> Who said that pain and pleasure contradict physics? If they supervene
> on physics there is no problem. The problem is if feelings act on
> matter separately to the deterministic laws.

If I punch the wall out of anger, then my feelings act on matter. If
physics cannot model this ordinary state of affairs, then it cannot be
the basis for a complete cosmology. Multisense Realism explains
downward causation and physics, so it might be a better foundation.

>
> A single cell responds to its environment in a deterministic way just
> as neurons do. Quorum sensing involves single cells responding to
> chemical factors secreted by their neighbours.

You have this weird way of disqualifying any kind of agency by burying
it in passive reception within a network. The cells can't respond to
their neighbors secreting chemicals unless some of them are actually
those neighbors, initiating the chemical signals. Quroum sensing is no
named because they cells arrive at a mutual consensus together,
simultaneously. Unless you are going to tell me some story about how
by quorum sensing scientists really mean 'not-quorum not-sensing' as
you tried to do with spontaneous brain activity. That is the amazing
thing about quorum sensing - it is not just single cells responding to
chemical factors, it is many cells acting as a group; using chemical
factors as a semantic binder for their shared sensorimotive
experience. This is not deterministic from a physics perspective at
all. The cells are making the determinations themselves.

>
> >> Saying that the feeling is the electric field doesn't change the fact that 
> >> electric fields are well-understood mathematically and can be incorporated 
> >> in a deterministic model without any reference to qualia.
>
> > They are only well understood on the microcosmic level for inorganic
> > matter. It is not understood how they scale up through living tissue
> > at the macro level. That's the thing about the universe, we can make
> > sense of it at different levels. Hence the name - Multisense Realism.
> > If all you have is a monochrome monitor, you can still make a coherent
> > analysis of the images based on that presentation, but you have
> > nothing to say about what colors might be observable on an HDTV. If
> > you know about color, you can reverse engineer a black and white image
> > and colorize it, but that would not be possible without the existence
> > of color in the first place.
>
> > Your view is that since color does not show up on the monochrome
> > monitor of physics, it can only be magic. That view is, IMO, a
> > primitive superstition that belongs in the 19th century. Consciousness
> > does not have to prove it's reality on your monochrome monitor. The
> > ordinary experience of voluntary will and sensemaking are real whether
> > or not we can understand them in purely 'physical' terms. There is no
> > non-physical pseudosubstance which changes physics at will - that is
> > *not* *not* *not* what I am talking about. I am talking about the
> > nature of physical existence itself being just the public tip of the
> > iceberg, with the majority of the universe hidden beneath in private
> > realities composed of feeling over time rather than objects across
> > space.
>
> Well, if no non-physical substance acts on living tissue then it would
> follow the laws of physics, which as far as we know are computable.

The laws of physics are computable, but the laws of psychology are
not. Subjective interiors scale up in the exact opposite way that
objective exteriors do. Exterior symptoms of accumulated significance
become more complex but no less computable. Interiors retain
simplicity but become richer, more animated, and less computable.

> That would be the case regardless of whether there are associated
> qualia or not, since the qualia do not intrude.

Qualia don't need to intrude, they are the entire context of the
action in the first place.

>
> >> The standard position of neuroscientists is that the neurons do their 
> >> thing and the qualia follow.
>
> > The degree to which they believe that is the degree to which they will
> > eventually be proved wrong.
>
> You have no reason to reject the standard position. It is perfectly
> consistent with all observation. As far as I can tell, your main
> objection to it is simply that you don't like it, and you create the
> logically impossible category of neither-determined-nor-random to
> explain free will.

No, it's you who doesn't like my position even though it is more
consistent with observation than physics. I like physics fine, it just
doesn't explain anything that I care about. It's not me that is
creating a category to explain free will, I'm just describing the
obvious qualities that free will has. Are your responses to this
determined or are they random? If they are determined then it's a
waste of time talking to you because you are incapable of changing
your mind, you can only watch as a helpless spectator as your mind
changes. If they are random than it's a waste of time talking to you
because I could just talk to a deck of cards instead. You tell me.
Which category do you fit into that makes sense for me to talk to you,
or for anyone to talk to anyone?

>
> >> OK, the objective side of the neuron is the only thing that can be 
> >> observed. So if the neuron behaves according to what is observed of its 
> >> objective side it is behaving in a normal mechanistic manner. But if it 
> >> does something due to its unobservable subjective side, then it seems to 
> >> the poor foolish scientist that it is doing something magical; that is, 
> >> something not explainable in terms of objective scientific principles. Do 
> >> you agree with that?
>
> > No. If you have a heart cell it beats at a certain time. If you get it
> > near another group of heart cells, the first one synchronizes. How do
> > you explain this? How does the normal mechanistic manner of the cell
> > change by itself? By itself it beats on the one count of a four count
> > cycle - it's protein molecules contracting regularly. If you get it
> > near other heart cells which beat on the three count, suddenly the
> > protein contractions compensate - either waiting two more counts or
> > beating twice in one cycle. How do you explain this? Neurons would be
> > like 100,000 times as complex as this example, with many different
> > 'beating' behaviors synched to many different counts, directly and
> > indirectly all over the body.
>
> The myocytes synchronise via gap junctions 
> (eg.http://www.springerlink.com/content/ug8755r8703kt637/). However, the
> specifics are not important for the purposes of this discussion. What
> is important is that a scientist observing the phenomenon would
> immediately start thinking of experiments to work out what the
> physical mechanism for it is and keep going until he finds out, while
> you would apparently be content to say that there is no physical
> mechanism.

Your scientist is not a scientist, he is an alchemist insisting upon
turning lead to gold. Science is curiosity, not orthodoxy. It is a
refinement of common sense. If experiments indicate that the dynamic
cannot be described fully through traditional terms of mechanism and
physics, he explores other options as well, even as he continues his
due diligence pursuing the Lapis Materialistica.

>
> >> but then you could worry about any fundamental fact about the universe, 
> >> even a priori facts.
>
> > If you are saying that subjectivity is a fundamental fact about the
> > universe, then we agree. I think that you want it both ways though.
> > You want to hang on to eliminative materialism but still imagine that
> > subjectivity can somehow 'emerge' from it. Mechanism is precisely the
> > attempt to remove all trace of subjectivity in what is observed. It
> > falls apart of course, when you realize that all observations
> > themselves are purely subjective. Such a view considers consciousness
> > something like dehydrated water, or a particle-wave. It makes sense
> > that way as a computation, but not as an explanation. In fact, the
> > mechanistic view prevents all possibility of explanation. My view
> > explains why that is the case.
>
> I have not seen any explanation from you as to why consciousness could
> not supervene on function as a fundamental fact about the universe.

Because supervenience is exclusive in one direction, and we already
know that our voluntary behavior supervenes upon our subjective whims
independent of function.

Craig

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