On Jan 8, 12:03 pm, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 7, 2012 at 1:31 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
> > I don't see any logic or induction in the assertion that the only
> > possible epistemological sources for Homo sapiens must be logic or
> > induction.
> What other pathway to knowledge do you propose? Well OK there is direct
> experience. I think therefore I am, I think.

Yes, and our experience is also not limited to just thinking. We
experience all kinds of conditions and truths that we are not directly
conscious of but which subconscious and unconscious parts of us are

> > Is it induction that provides our understanding of how to swallow?
> Only logic can provide understanding, the best that induction can do is
> make predictions. And the fact is I don't understand how to swallow, and
> not being a physiologist, I don't understand how to digest my food either,
> but fortunately understanding how to do something is not always necessary
> to do it, so I can still digest food just fine.

That was my point. Knowing how to eat does not require logic or
induction. To say that it is instinct is a sufficient label for common
purposes, but if you are discussing consciousness, we have to ask what
is instinct really made of?

> > Is it logical that a feeling that seems associated with the inside of
> > your abdomen should indicate that your survival depends upon putting some
> > formerly living organism in your mouth?
> Hunger sounds like basic survival programming to me, programming written by
> Evolution; organisms that did not have this programming did not live long
> enough to reproduce, and without exception every single one of your many
> millions of ancestors did live long enough to do this. You and I are both
> descendents of a long long line of very rare winners.

That's a 'just-so story'. If evolution could program organisms to seek
food when they are low on nutrients, the experience of hunger would be
superfluous. Also, it's not clear that organisms lacking hunger would
not survive. I would not guess that hunger would improve a plant's
chance of survival. Seems like any organism which is passively
anchored into the soil or drifting in the water would have no use for
hunger. Hunger really has no possible purpose outside of informing a
subjective agent about conditions which it can choose to act upon
voluntarily...using free will. No free will = no hunger. No need for
it. No mechanism for it. No logic to it.

> > All computation in nature, including the human brain is analog.
> The genetic code in DNA could not be more digital, and it was good enough
> to build your brain and every other part of you out of simple amino acid
> molecules; if you look at the details of the assembly process biology uses
> to make complex things, like your brain, you find its amazingly
> computer-like. And a synapse in your brain either fires or it does not.

That may not be true even for DNA:



"The transmission of information from DNA to RNA is a critical
process. We compared RNA sequences from human B cells of 27
individuals to the corresponding DNA sequences from the same
individuals and uncovered more than 10,000 exonic sites where the RNA
sequences do not match that of the DNA. All 12 possible categories of
discordances were observed. These differences were nonrandom as many
sites were found in multiple individuals and in different cell types,
including primary skin cells and brain tissues. Using mass
spectrometry, we detected peptides that are translated from the
discordant RNA sequences and thus do not correspond exactly to the DNA
sequences. These widespread RNA-DNA differences in the human
transcriptome provide a yet unexplored aspect of genome variation. "

The primary sequence of DNA is just part of the story though.
Secondary and tertiary epigenetic factors are can determine which
genes are used and which are not, and they are not digital. Synapses
don't fire, neurons fire across synapses, but that doesn't make the
brain a binary computer. Far from it. It's a living thing. Just
because traffic lights turn from red to green before drivers move
their cars forward doesn't mean that the traffic light is what is
making cars move from one place to another. There is a lot more going
on in the brain than neurons firing.

> >> If I change the biochemistry of your brain your subjective experience
> >> will change, it you don't believe me just take a drug that is not normally
> >> in your brain, like LSD or heroin, and see if I'm right.
> > > That would be an anecdotal subjective account.
> Obviously.

So it wouldn't be evidence.

> > There is nothing we can see from looking at the brain's behavior that
> > suggests LSD or heroin causes anything except biochemical changes in the
> > neurological organs.
> There is nothing we can see from just looking at the brain's behavior that
> suggests it is conscious, you just can't detect it directly from human
> brains or anything else,

We detect it directly from inside of the brain. It's not even
detecting it, we consist of it.

> that's why if we want to study consciousness we
> must do so indirectly through anecdotal subjective accounts and other forms
> of behavior.

Of course, but that doesn't mean we should disqualify the direct
experience, especially since we already know that it is not something
which can be detected indirectly. An anecdotal account of being hit by
a bus is not the same thing as the experience of it.

> > But if we had no access to a person's account of feeling fear or anger,
> > the chemists detection of elevated levels of adrenaline in the brain (and
> > body) would be meaningless.
> Yes but we DO have access to the person's accounts and behavior so it is
> not meaningless.

It's meaningful for us, but not for science. Nothing about awareness
is explained scientifically, only correlated mechanically through folk

> > Is it wacko to say that a plastic flower has no link to a real flower?
> If a "plastic" flower smelled, felt, tasted, grew and looked exactly like a
> real flower even with a powerful microscope then calling it "plastic" would
> indeed be wacko.

But digital flowers don't smell like anything or feel like anything or
grow in the ground with water. You are assuming that there is such a
thing as a simulation of a flower that is the same in every way but is
somehow not a flower. I don't think that is a possibility.

> >  Only the most glassy eyed computer fanatic would fail to see that an
> > electronic puppet
> That is a terrible analogy! A puppeteer knows what his puppet is going to
> do as well as he knows what he himself is going to do, but a computer
> designer or programmer most certainly does NOT know what his creation is
> going to do and it constantly surprises him, and that is in fact the entire
> point of making them in the first place. And I'm not glassy eyed.

Surprise is relative. What a programmer might find surprising might
seem inevitable to someone who has spent more time studying the
program's implication. Inventing a new color however is surprising in
any possible universe or computation. Not saying you are glassy eyed,
I'm just mirroring your accusations.

> > is not capable of turning into a living human mind.
> The ultimate outcome will not be something as trivial as a living human
> mind.

Haha, true, it might be a profoundly catastrophic non-living global
systemic pathology. Like investment banking.

> > *Our* human awareness can tell when it encounters itself. Behavior has a
> > lot to do with it,
> Yes.
> > but there are other factors. Like size. If a person was the size of an
> > ant, we would have a hard time accepting it as an equal.
> That's only because that's what you're accustomed to. If you lived in a
> world where the smaller someone was the smarter they seemed to be and all
> your college professors were a quarter of an inch tall then I'll bet you'd
> have very different views about the consciousness potential of an ant.

Absolutely, but they still wouldn't be behaviors.

> > It is entirely probable that we have a sense of a person that is direct
> > but not reducible to easily identified intellectual understandings.
> Then you would have to concede that if a computer passes the Turing test
> then the computer is a conscious being, or else your above speculation is
> incorrect.

No because physical presence is part of being. Someone can pretend to
be a computer over the internet but it's not as easy in person. There
is no Turing-like test that would be sufficient to my standard short
of brain invasive procedures. Make me a brain conjoined twin with it
and then I will tell you if it's a conscious being or not.

> > A dog is probably not going to be fooled by an android.
> Then it has failed the dog Turing test and you need better android
> designers for version 2.0, so fire your old designers and get new ones. I
> just finished the Steve Jobs biography and I think that's what he'd do.

Right, but you would need version ? to make an android that will fool
everything. As Stephen says, the best simulation of something is
itself, and there is no reason to think that anything can be simulated
to that degree without being the actual thing itself. Imitation sugar
is one thing, but imitation awareness is completely different.

> > An intelligent computer is designed to seem conscious though. That
> > doesn't make a difference to you?
> How on Earth could it make a difference to me?! I have no way of detecting
> consciousness other than my own, all I can do is detect things that seem to
> be conscious and if that's not good enough then so be it because that's all
> I got. That's all you got too.

By that reasoning, we should treat actors on TV as real people in our
living room that just happen to not pay us much attention.

> > A person seems conscious in many ways that a computer does not seem to be.
> Then the computer is not behaving properly and has failed the Turing Test
> and you need better computer designers so fire your old ones.

I'm talking about actual computers that exist now.

> > "Until it is measured it does not just seem to have no polarization it
> > really has none" This contradicts what you were trying to show.
> How so? If I observe that a measurement that indicates a photon is
> polarized then it really is, if I observe behavior that indicates that
> something is behaving consciously then it really is conscious.

Your point was that physics is about 'seems like' phenomena, but your
example makes my point that physics has no use for 'seems like' except
as an obstruction to be overcome on the way to discovering the
opposite of 'seems like' - *the* literal reality that 'simply is'.

More on this in my post yesterday: http://s33light.org/post/15487758646

> > Your example shows how even when confronted with obvious
> > perspective-driven phenomena, the intolerance for 'seems' demands that
> > measurement magically creates reality - an unambiguous, literal reality.
> Yes but, at least with the standard Copenhagen interpretation, measurement
> DOES magically create reality; I don't like it, Einstein didn't like it,
> the scientific consensus doesn't like it, and even the brilliant scientists
> who created the idea didn't like it, but that is what the experiments are
> telling them, so if you don't like it either the proper place to direct
> your rage is the universe.

Just because they have misinterpreted the results of the experiments
in the same way doesn't mean that the universe doesn't make sense.
Once you consider a sense-primitive model, the Copenhagen
interpretation vanishes like the hocus pocus that it is. Measurement
doesn't make reality, measurement is just a feeling/experience. It is
the correspondence of internal feeling with external non-feeling
feelings that makes reality.

> There is a alternative to Copenhagen, the Many World's Interpretation of
> Quantum Mechanics, but it will be no friendlier to your ideas than
> Copenhagen is.

Yeah, MWI is another almost-plausible explanation, but once you
understand how the subjective-objective symmetry works, we can realize
that it's just another way to preserve sentimental mechanemorphism.

> > It's hard for me to even entertain discussions about photons and QM
> > because I see the whole
> > model as obsolete.
> If you know of a theory that makes better predictions about what will
> happen when things become very small I and the entire world would love to
> hear all about it.

It's a perfect theory for predictions on the microcosmic level, but it
tells us nothing about light and visual perception. It actually stands
in our way of understanding visual sense because it assumes a passive
mechanism based on senseless objects.

> > Consciousness is not made of atoms but it is executed through them.
> Just like computations.

Sure, but it doesn't know that it's executing computations.

> > Consciousness is an actual physical process. Computation is not as clear
> > cut.
> Computation is not a mushy spiritual abstraction that only a philosopher
> could use or love, it's a precise process who's parameters modern science
> has found. For example we know that erasing a bit in a computation, or any
> irreversible change in information, results in an increase in entropy. We
> also know that the minimum energy needed for ANYTHING to change one bit of
> information is kT*ln2 where k is Boltzmann's constant and T is the
> temperature in degrees kelvin of the object doing the computation.
> Computation is as physical as death and taxes.

Those are inferences based on the assumption of information existing
in the first place. What those formulas are actually calculating are
the physics of electromagnetism and the minimum requirements for us to
make changes that are meaningful to us. There is no actual bit that
uses physical energy. It's just a figurative way to talk about the
limits of how we use atoms. Would successful quantum computing change
the Boltzmann constant?

> > Wow. You do realize that there is a thing called the internet and on that
> > thing that there are scientific papers available to the public. They look
> > like this:http://spo.nmfs.noaa.gov/mfr454-6/mfr454-65.pdfandsay things
> > like
> >  "The isolates were transferred from TSA slants into 5 ml of TSBH and
> > allowed to incubate for 24 hours at 37°C; 0.2 ml of each culture was
> > transferred to another 5 ml of TSBH and incubated for 18 hours at 37°C. The
> > 18-hour culture was diluted with saline until the density was comparable to
> > McFarland standard #2 (McFarland, 1907)."
> What's wrong with that? From your quotation I have no idea what this
> experiment is all about but, obviously it's a microbiology experiment of
> some sort and the man was explaining, as he should, exactly how he did it,
> and that is very important if somebody wants to repeat it, and no
> experiment is really complete until somebody has repeated it. TSA slants
> are just agar (a sort of gelatin made from soybeans) plates used to grow
> bacteria. I don't know what "TSBH" is or "McFarland standard #2" but if I
> was a specialist in his area of interest I certainly would.
> It's hard work trying to figure out how the universe works, you've got to
> get your hands dirty and vague airy fairy philosophical ramblings is not
> enough.

My point is that there is a long history of brilliant minds who have
gotten their hands dirty making Earth-shaking philosophical
discoveries only to have you dismiss them as 'vague airy fairy
ramblings'. Those ramblings have caused the rise and fall of

> > The people who I have debated with are exactly like you.
> Wish I knew where you found them, I've been on the net a long time but I
> rarely find anybody on the net who agrees with me about anything, but maybe
> that's for the best; I can't debate with somebody who agrees with me.

There's an atheist board I spent a lot of time on 
It looks like the forum is broken now.

> > I have never once had anyone point me to any kind of flaky site.
> Where do you find these paragons??

It's not hard. Most people that argue with me are intelligent.
Consciousness isn't really a good topic for trolls.

> > I know your argument better than you do.
> I doubt that very much.

I know.

> > Just take a look at this forum alone. I've been over this territory
> > dozens of times.
> Not with me you haven't.

Right, but it may as well have been with you. The same objections are

> >> Unreadable by the general public but they were not written for them but
> >> for fellow specialists.
> > > Obviously. Do you think that isn't the case for philosophy?
> Yes but there is a difference, for scientists the opaque language they use
> is because they must use unfamiliar words and phrases when they refer to
> unfamiliar things; philosophers use opaque language because their ideas are
> opaque even to themselves. Nearly everything philosophers say can be put
> into one of four categories.
> 1) False
> 2) True but obvious, a truism disguised in pretentious language.
> 3) True and deep but discovered first and explained better by someone who
> didn't write "philosopher" in the box labeled "occupation" on his tax form.
> 4) So bad its not even wrong.

Well, I'm not a big fan of reading philosophy personally, but I don't
imagine that it's useless just because I don't like it. Mathematicians
and scientists are no less guilty of using opaque language than
lawyers or philosophers. When you specialize in something, you develop
a more specialized linguistic tool set. I wouldn't look at a set of
unfamiliar tools and say 'this must be crap' just because I don't know
what they are for.

> >> you've got to learn the language,
> > > It's true of all sufficiently deep examinations of subjects. That is my
> > point. If you don't know philosophy or psychology, then it's mumbo jumbo to
> > you.
> The difference is that those fields make no progress

Wow, that is a quite a smug and ignorant thing to say even by general
standards. Progress in psychology is what keeps us from drilling holes
in people's heads to let the demons out. Philosophical progress is
what has allowed people to question the authority of kings and popes.
Science and mathematics are nothing but specializations of philosophy.

> which makes me think
> that their jargon was not invented for clarity or exactitude but just to
> impress and conceal their vacuous nature.

There is maybe more truth to that in philosophy than in other
disciplines, but it's still a bigoted sweeping generalization to make.
Philosophy isn't some kind of trick by charlatans with their high-
falutin big words, at worst it attracts intellectuals who indulge in
argument for the sake of argument (we wouldn't know anyone like
that ;).

> Psychology (but not neurology) is
> no more advanced today than it was 50 years ago,

Maybe, but I think that has more to do with the political climate in

> and although there has
> been enormous, colossal, gigantic advances in philosophy in the last 300
> years, with the exception of ethics none of those advances were made by
> philosophers.

What qualifies someone as a philosopher?

> The word "scientist" is a relatively recent 19th century
> invention, before that they were called "natural philosophers" and I wish
> we still had that term.
> Some philosophers like Bertrand Russel have contributed to ethics, but not
> as much as non-philosophers like Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and even
> Russel started off as a mathematician, and a very good one.
> >>>how me a contemporary paper in a scientific journal that isn't like that.
> >> >>I think the December 2 2011 issue of the excellent journal "Science"
> >> should be contemporary enough for you; look at pages 1245-1249 for the
> >> paper "Detection of Pristine Gas Two Billion Years After the Big Bang" by
> >> Fumagalli, O'Meara and Prochaska.
> > >Sorry, I don't have a subscription for that.
> Wow. You do realize that there is a thing called a library and in that
> thing that there are scientific papers available to the public.

You want me to go to the library to read the paper that you are

> > Without free will, all human speech can only be noisy gibberish.
> Maybe maybe not, it all depends on what the ASCII string "free will" is
> supposed to mean, and I have no idea what it means and it's becoming
> increasingly clear to me that you don't either.

Free will is the difference between yes-no and true-false. Machine
logic can only understand true or false. It has no capacity to assert
'yes!' or 'no!' as a declaration. Free will is the ability to tell the
difference between an accident and 'on purpose'. Free will is what
lets you feel that you control your arms and legs but not your
pancreas. On what basis do you claim that I'm unclear about the
meaning of free will?

> > I'm saying that the minimum requirement for one thing to make sense is
> > itself and it's opposite or absence. You can't just have one thing with
> > nothing to compare it to.
> OK I agree with that, you need contrast to have meaning.
> > If an IED does violent things, is it violent?
> Yes, and if a thunderstorm does violent things then it's a violent
> thunderstorm and if it's a violent thunderstorm then it's violent. Do we
> really have to continue with this exercise?

That has to do with how we use language to extend subjective qualities
metaphorically to objective things. Nobody literally believes that the
storm should be subject to criminal penalties.

> > Your dog has no need for Tensor Calculus, but it can figure out how to
> > get fed and find a mate, which makes it more intelligent than any computer
> > ever made thus far.
> I agree, thus far; but ask me again in 5 or 6 years.

Maybe by then they will realize that silicon is a dead end for
synthetic awareness and start working with cells.

> > Intention has possible effects, not deterministic ones.
> And there is a convenient word for effects that are not deterministic,
> events that have no cause, the word is called "random".

Intention doesn't need a to have any one cause, it makes one
deliberate cause out of many possible/potential causes, and it's not

> > If it were deterministic or random there would be no reason for 'us' to
> > 'create' anything.
> That statement is self contradictory. If we create things, and we do, and
> we are deterministic then obviously we did it for a reason because that's
> what deterministic means.

Then the deterministic reason would be creating things, not 'us'.

> > Of course there are reasons, but they are our reasons.
> Yes, and one billiard ball moves left rather than right for its reasons and
> another billiard ball moves right rather than left for its reasons and both
> balls are deterministic; and a uranium atom decays now rather than then for
> no reason whatsoever and so is random.

Atoms and billiard balls are at the far end of the objective spectrum.
Biology is the opposite. Organisms evolve to be drive their own
desires and whims using free will and teleology.

> > We decide which of the many agendas that we personally have the power to
> > influence matters to us.
> And we make that decision for a reason or we do not, it's deterministic or
> it is not, and I don't understand what's so controversial about that
> statement.

Because when we are doing the determining then the reason is our
reason, not an external reason. We select the reason that we use to

> > It is the height of anthropomorphic exceptionalism to take seriously the
> > possibility of muon-neutrinos, superposition, "dark energy", and
> > superstings,
> Nobody knows if superstrings exist but there is excellent experimental
> evidence for all those other things.

Ptolemaic epicycle had excellent experimental evidence too.

> > but the concept of 'free will' and 'people' are soo exotic and wacko as
> > to be worthy of compulsive scorn.
> People exist and the ASCII string "free will" exists, and so does the ASCII
> string "klognee".

Spoken like a true occidental literalist.


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