On Sun, Oct 28, 2012 at 5:48 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> It seems that you do not understand the meaning of the term "consistent
>> with the laws of physics". It means that when you decide to play tennis the
>> neurons in your brain will depolarise because of the ionic gradients,
> If you can't see how ridiculous that view is, there is not much I can say
> that will help you. My decision to play tennis *IS* the depolarization of
> neurons.

That sounds like eliminative materialism. It is a bit like saying that
the movement of the car down the road *IS* the combustion of fuel in
the cylinders, transmission of power to the wheels, and all the other
lower level phenomena that make up the car.

> The ionic gradients have no opinion of whether or not I am about to
> play tennis. The brain as a whole, every cell, every molecule, every charge
> and field, is just the spatially extended shadow of *me* or my 'life'. I am
> the event which unites all of the functions and structures together, from
> the micro to the macro, and when I change my mind, that change is reflected
> on every level.

You change your mind because all the components of your brain change
configuration. If this did not happen, your mind could not change. The
mind is the higher level phenomenon. The analogy is as above with the
car: it drives down the road because of all the mechanics functioning
in a particular way, and you could say that driving down the road is
equivalent to the mechanics functioning in a particular way.

>> the permeability of the membrane to different ions, the way the ion
>> channels change their conformation in response to an electric field, and
>> many other such physical factors. It is these physical factors which result
>> in your decision to play tennis and then your getting up to retrieve your
>> tennis racquet. If it were the other way around - your decision causes
>> neurons to depolarise - then we would observe miraculous events in your
>> brain, ion channels opening in the absence of any electric field or
>> neurotransmitter change, and so on.
> No. The miraculous event is viewable any time we look at how a conscious
> intention appears in an fMRI. We see spontaneous simultaneous activity in
> many regions of the brain, coordinated on many levels. This is the footprint
> of where we stand. When we take a step, the footprint changes. We are the
> leader of these brain processes, not the follower.

You completely misunderstand these experiments. Please read about
excitable cells before commenting further. The following online
articles seem quite good. The third is about spontaneous neuronal


>> Cells don't defy entropy and planes don't defy gravity. Their respective
>> behaviour is consistent with our theories about entropy and gravity.
> Cells defy entropy locally. Planes allow us to get around some constraints
> of gravity. If your definition of any law is so broad that it includes all
> possible technological violations of it, then how does it really give us any
> insight?

The laws of nature are broad enough to determine everything everywhere
that has happened and will happen.

>> How the computer was made would have no effect on its behaviour or
>> consciousness.
> Yes, it would. If I make a refrigerator, I can assume that it is a box with
> cooling mechanism. If I find an organism which has evolved to cool parts of
> itself to store food, then that is a completely different thing.

The question was about two identical computers, one made in a factory,
the other assembled with fantastic luck from raw materials moving
about randomly. Will there be any difference in the functioning or
consciousness (or lack of it) of the two computers?

>> >> If a biological
>> >> human were put together from raw materials by advanced aliens would
>> >> that make any difference to his consciousness or intelligence?
>> >
>> > It would if we were automaton servants of their agendas.
>> If the created human had a similar structure to a naturally developed
>> human he would have similar behaviour and similar experiences. How could it
>> possibly be otherwise?
> Because consciousness is not a structure, it is an event. It is an
> experience which unifies bodies from the inside out, not a configuration of
> bodies which has an experience because of external conditions.

So how would a human put together by molecular assembly machines using
the template of a regular human be different from the regular human in
either behaviour or consciousness?

Stathis Papaioannou

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