On Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 11:20 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

>
>
> On Tuesday, September 18, 2012 1:17:08 AM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 7:03 PM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com>wrote:
>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Monday, September 17, 2012 6:18:00 PM UTC-4, Jason wrote:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Craig,
>>>>
>>>> Do you think if your brain were cut in half, but then perfectly put
>>>> back together that you would still be conscious in the same way?
>>>>
>>>
>>> There is no such thing as perfectly put back together. If you cut a
>>> living cell in half, it dies. The only way of putting it perfectly back
>>> together is to travel back in time and not cut it in half.
>>>
>>
>> Why do you believe this?  We can put machines back together.  Cells are
>> machines on a very small scale.  It would be difficult, but there is no
>> physical reason that prevents us from putting a cell back together after it
>> has come apart.
>>
>
> Cells may not be only machines though,
>

We have no evidence that magic is involved, so what is it in cells that you
think is not mechanical?


> they are also self-organizing life experiences. They have mechanistic
> characteristics as well, but they are not defined as that only. Molecules
> aren't only machines either, but different experiences are associated with
> different kinds of molecules.
>

But how do these experience that the molecules have translate to experience
a cell, or a brain has?  From the perspective of the cell or the brain, a
molecule is important only in how it moves and reacts with other molecules.


> By assuming that all things are only machines from the beginning, you beg
> the question of whether things can be treated like machines.
>

Treating everything like a machine isn't a problem if you believe the range
of possibilities for what machines can do is huge, and extend beyond what
any human machine (or even any human) can do.  You think machines are
stupid, dull, uninteresting automatons, without will, intention,
consciousness, etc.  And this forces you towards these strange ideas like
different molecules, or defecating, or the history of evolution are somehow
necessary features of human consciousness.


> There are thermodynamically irreversible processes involved. It would be
> like unburning a log or putting water back into a wave.
>
>
>>
>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>> What if cut into a thousand pieces and put back together perfectly?
>>>>
>>>
>>> Same answer.
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>> What if every atom was taken apart and put back together?
>>>>
>>>
>>> If you could take every atom in a living cell 'apart' and put it back
>>> together without killing the cell, then it seems like it would work, but I
>>> don't think that the cells would necessarily be 'the same' cells.
>>>
>>
>> What is different about them?  They could have the same exact quantum
>> state,
>>
>
> There is no such thing as the same exact anything. Not in reality.
>

How do you explain these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identical_particles ?

( Wheeler had an interesting idea for it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-electron_universe )


> Our perception groups things that seem similar, but objectively every
> event is unique because in some sense it reflects the total state of the
> cosmos since the beginning of time and extending into many possible futures.
>
>
>> and yet you believe that because at one point in the past some atoms had
>> some distance put between, and this somehow rules out the possibility of
>> those atoms ever being used to build a person or life form, or be conscious?
>>
>>
>
>> Why would this be?  Our bodies continually take in and use atoms from
>> things that were once not alive.  What is different here?
>>
>
> Time is the difference. The universe is made of experienced moments, not
> molecules.
>

So you explain away the problem by retreating into idealism.  But idealism
alone doesn't explain why we have ideas about electrons and molecules, etc.


> Molecules are experiences (low quality experiences relative to our own).
> Who we are is a function of experiences through time, not just chemical
> composition. Just as our human capacities and opportunities are conditioned
> by our society's history, the capacity to sustain cellular life is to
> inorganic structure what color is to black and white. It's not an emergent
> property from the bottom up, it's a recovered property from the top down.
>

This sounds like Douglas Hofstadter's idea that we are "strange loops".  A
hierarchy that loops back down to effect the bottom layers. (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_loop )


>
>
>>
>>
>>> To me consciousness is an event in time, not a structure in space. The
>>> structure is the vehicle of the event. If you mess with the vehicle, you
>>> mess with the event.
>>>
>>
>> What the difference between putting someone back together and a baby
>> slowly being constructed through a set of complex chemical reactions from
>> previously lifeless matter?
>>
>
> The difference is that the baby isn't being constructed it's growing and
> reproducing through the internal motivations of the cells themselves.
>

Why should a cell care how it was put together?  Regardless of how you
choose to put together a car if the end product is the same it will still
drive.


> The cells know what they are doing, but we don't. Like if an ant colony
> tried to impersonate you...it is a completely different level of experience.
>
>
>> In either case would the result not be a fully alive and conscious human?
>>  Do you suppose life also requires that life forms be built in certain
>> natural ways (rather than artificial ways)?
>>
>
> It seems to require that you start with living cells.
>

Then how did the first "living cell" come to be?  Was it here since the big
bang?


> As long as the cells can survive, then it's natural enough. Even organ
> transplants are tricky, and that is a much closer match than an artificial
> component. How does tissue rejection fit into your view of functionalism?
>

It's an immune response.  The new tissue is considered a foreign invader,
just as bacterial infections are.


> Have you ever read all of the accounts of organ transplant patients having
> new memories and personality characteristics?
>

I've heard of them developing new tastes for foods, but not new memories.
 Perhaps it is a hormonal thing.


>
>
>>
>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>> What if every atom was taken apart, and then atoms from a different
>>>> pile were used to put you back together?
>>>>
>>>
>>> When the atoms are taken apart, you die. If you put them together in
>>> what you think is the same way,
>>>
>> it is still a different performance of atoms, whether they are the same
>>> or different.
>>>
>>>
>>
>> The hypothetical did not involve some person thinking they were put back
>> in the same way, but the atoms actually being put back in the same way.
>>
>
> But I am saying that there is no such thing. The hypothetical already begs
> the question. You are saying, 'if I could make a person out of Jack cheese,
> why wouldn't I have made a person out of Jack cheese'.
>


But I am not even talking about different materials here.  I am using the
same good old carbon that your theory says is necessary, and putting all
the molecules in all the right places.  But you say even this is not
enough.  That no matter how we put the atoms back together, the person will
be dead.  The only way to make a conscious human is to grow them from a
living cell.  I am surprised your model goes this far.  It is not only that
certain materials are needed, but a certain special history is needed too.


>
>
>>
>> Do you still think there would be a "different performance of atoms"?
>>
>
> Yes. Every moment is new. People are made of moments.
>
>

How do you account for identity?  Is there any such thing as Craig
Weinberg, or only a collection of independent thoughts, whose thinkers
believe themselves to be Craig Weinberg?

I am not totally opposed to the idea that all consciousness exists as
independent thoughts, but I think this theory is less useful for making any
kind of decisions.  If you truly believed this model, you would realize you
can't make any decisions at all, you are frozen in this moment of time and
can't do anything about it.  Hope you enjoy it. ;-)


>
>>
>>>
>>>> What then if the original atoms were put back, would they both
>>>> experience what it is like to be you?
>>>>
>>>
>>> No.
>>>
>>
>> Why shouldn't they?
>>
>
> Because taking a person apart ends their time in the universe.
>
>

Same when you go to sleep, or under anesthesia, or get knocked unconscious?
 Do we not actually come back from these events?

Would you ever use a "star trek" style transporter, or would you say it
kills you and puts an impostor in your place?


>>
>>>
>>>
>>>>
>>>> Does the identity of one's atoms matter or are they interchangable?  If
>>>> the identity is not what matters, what is it that does?
>>>>
>>>
>>> Our atoms are replaced all the time.
>>>
>>
>> Right.
>>
>>
>>>  Our identity exists at the level of our experience as a whole.
>>>
>>
>> I don't understand what you mean here.
>>
>
> Like 'Star Wars' doesn't exist in any particular set of molecules, or
> arrangements of molecules, it is an experience which is facilitated through
> them though. Personal experience is not reducible to a sum of sub-personal
> or im-personal experiences, or even super-personal experiences or all of
> the combinations thereof. It has its own layer of contribution as well.
>
>
>>
>>
>>>  The experience of our body, our family, culture, etc. We are a lifetime
>>> that uses the whole brain as a way to participate in the human world as a
>>> human body.
>>>
>>
>> Are you suggesting that things beyond one's skull are relevant to what
>> someone experiences?
>>
>
> Of course Have you ever experienced something that is within your skull?
> What's it like in there?
>

If the brain is what creates my virtual reality, and all physical
interactions are local, then all my experiences exist within my skull and I
have never experienced anything beyond it.  When I point my photon
dectector's at the night's sky, and starlight falls on my retinas, my brain
creates the image of the starts inside my head.


>
> I see it like this. If this were 1012 AD, someone who thinks as you do
> might be an alchemy enthusiast. You would be telling me "It is only a
> matter of time until we can turn lead into gold. We completely understand
> how to dissolve and metals and to make new alloys. There is nothing magical
> about gold that we can't build it from sulfur and mercury." I am the guy
> saying "But we have no idea about what gold actually is and no evidence
> that it can be reduced to other metals. There might be a common ancestor of
> gold, lead, sulfur, and mercury, but it isn't like any of those things. To
> get to that level will take centuries. It will require nuclear fission and
> particle accelerators which will cost much more than gold to construct and
> operate. You will never be able to make gold from scratch in a test tube."
>

You are doing more than saying we don't know though, you are coming to
conclusions. Such as: computers can't have human feelings, or we can't put
someone back together after they are horribly injured.


>
> You continue..."But if we dissolve gold into a red liquid, then why
> shouldn't we be able to precipitate gold out of any red liquid by reversing
> the process?" I try to explain that your assumptions don't match the
> reality. If you can't solve the hard problem and explanatory gap with
> physics and chemistry, then how can you presume to know whether you can
> accomplish something which entirely depends upon having that solution?
>

Okay, well then you will have to wait about 20 years or so for human-level
intelligent machines to be built.  Not too much longer..


>
> See what I mean? (I'm guessing not really). If biology was anything like
> you assume, the riddles of medicine would have been solved long ago, after
> the first frog leg jumped at a live electrode. It should be no big deal to
> replace a defective organ in a cadaver, and resurrect it with a little
> electricity and meat tenderizer.
>

We are highly complex machines that use nanotechnology.  Our technology has
not yet caught up to biology, which has had a few billion year head start.


> The reality is nothing like that at all. Something as easy as swapping out
> a human cardiac pump is a life threatening operation requiring ultra-high
> levels of skill, and even so, people's lives tend to be shorter after that.
>

There are well understood reasons for why that is.  It is not due to
any intrinsic incapability that applies to all possible man-made machines.

Jason

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