On Tuesday, March 5, 2013 8:27:29 AM UTC-5, stathisp wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> 
> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On Monday, March 4, 2013 8:11:12 PM UTC-5, stathisp wrote:
> >>
> >> On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 6:02 AM, Craig Weinberg <whats...@gmail.com> 
> wrote:
> >>
> >> >> I am responsible for my
> >> >> actions because I know what I am doing and I choose to do it. If I
> >> >> break the law I will be punished because the fear of punishment will
> >> >> deter me and others who are thinking of doing the same thing. This is
> >> >> all consistent with determinism.
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > Why would any of that be consistent with determinism?
> >>
> >> Because it all still holds if determinism holds:
> >> I know what I am doing - yes.
> >> I choose to do it - yes.
> >
> >
> > In what way do you "choose" to do it? What does choose mean?
> To choose between two options is to consider each one and to decide on the 
> one you think is best. You can do this whether your brain is deterministic 
> or probabilistic. In fact, people and animals have been doing this for a 
> long time without the faintest idea what "deterministic" or "probabilistic" 
> mean.

Uh, yes, people and animals do it because they have intention. It baffles 
me how I can ask you what choosing is and you respond that it's just 
choosing ('deciding') and not notice that such a thing is utterly 
incompatible with determinism. Does a stone choose to role down a hill? 
Does it decide? All you are doing is clinging to a completely arbitrary 
assumption that the universe is deterministic and then begging the question 
of determinism by claiming that anything which obviously contradicts 
determinism must not be a contradiction, because we already know the 
universe is deterministic. But my point all along is that we don't know 
that at all, and what's more, I have a better way of understanding 
*exactly* how intention and determinism relate to each other.

> >> If I break the law I will be punished - yes.
> >> The fear of punishment will deter me and others - yes.
> >
> >
> > What does it mean to be deterred? In a deterministic universe, it doesn't
> > matter how you feel about what you do, you are simply along for the ride,
> > witnessing yourself doing it.
> So you say, but I don't care if the universe is deterministic or not. All 
> I know is I don't want to go to prison. 

How could you prefer anything in a deterministic universe? What would be 
the point of preferring some condition over another in a universe where 
nothing has any say in what happens?

> Maybe I don't want to go to prison because that's the way my brain is 
> wired, but I still don't want to go there.

Want makes no sense in a deterministic universe. Things happen because they 
have no choice, and that's it. They are determined to happen. Nothing can 
have an opinion about it. It's ironic to talk about prison especially, 
since prison has no meaning except to constrain free will. There is no 
punishment for prison in a deterministic universe, since there is nothing 
which needs to be or can be imprisoned - everything just does what it is 
determined to do.

> >> > What difference would it make how you feel about what is determined to
> >> > be
> >> > done. There is no choice - it is simply done. If you are deterred by
> >> > fear
> >> > that is still your choice, still up to you, not something which is
> >> > literally
> >> > determined *for you* by extra-personal conditions.
> >>
> >> I chose to drink coffee today because my brain is a particular way.
> >
> >
> > In a deterministic universe, your brain would have made that decision
> > without you. There would just be a brain coordinating a body's access to
> > coffee. There could be no conceivable phenomenon of a "choice", only a
> > process in a queue of unconscious actions being executed.
> There is a choice, even if it's determined. You can define choice as "no 
> choice if determined", but most people don't care.

No, choice and determination are mutually exclusive. A rock has no choice 
rolling down a hill, and nothing can give it a choice. A person's body can 
be put in prison, but they are still free to choose what to think.

> >> If
> >> tomorrow the coffee is no good, my brain will be different and I may
> >> choose tea instead.
> >
> >
> > Why would you choose anything? Your body will simply drink tea if that is
> > the action which scores highest on whatever statistical model has been
> > established.
> That's right, and that is what a choice is. Most people would remain quite 
> happy and go about their lives normally if it is explained to them this way.

That's not a choice, that's a rock rolling down a hill - ricocheting off of 
different bumps depending on the speed of its roll./

> >> To me, that's a choice. I doubt that there are
> >> many people in the world who, if they believed that their brain
> >> functioned deterministically, would decide they didn't have a choice
> >> in anything and become depressed.
> >
> >
> > Huh? Why would they become depressed because of an unmet expectation 
> which
> > could not possibly exist in a deterministic world.
> Well, it seems that you would become unhappy, if not actually depressed, 
> if it were demonstrated to you that contrary your current beliefs the world 
> is in fact deterministic.

Nah, I believed that stuff for most of my life. It is much more comforting 
actually that way. Knowing that however things work out, you really don't 
have to care, you're just a part of a vast web of causality working itself 
out. I still live that way to a great extent, only now I know that I'm 
probably kidding myself and taking the easy way out.

> >> > I don't think that the term 'deterministic' is meaningful to describe
> >> > the
> >> > brain is all.
> >>
> >> A system is deterministic if its future behaviour is fixed by its
> >> current state, and random or probabilistic otherwise.
> >
> >
> > Yes. Since many of states of the brain are driven by intention directly,
> > there is no way to entirely determine its future behavior. It's no 
> different
> > than trying to predict the stock market by precisely modeling the 
> workings
> > of a standard stock ticker.
> But intention is determined by chemistry, and so to the extent that 
> chemistry is deterministic, so is intention.

No. Chemistry is determined by intention also. You keep begging the 
question, over and over and over. You say, "given that the universe must be 
exactly as conventional wisdom assumes, how can the universe be different". 
Because this view of the world is incorrect, that's how. It's better than 
Aristotle, but it's still half wrong. We are still in the Dark Ages. 

"Intention does not change chemistry, as you think it does, since that 
would be magic and we would see evidence of it."

Intention IS change on a chemical level, biological, somatic, social... If 
I ask you to move your arm, and you do, how can you possibly deny that it 
was my words and not your own solipsistic neurochemical drift which was the 
relevant cause of the change?

> >> I didn't finish the paragraph, sorry. What you are saying is that you
> >> know that you feel free. I've no objection to that. But then you go on
> >> to say that because of this feeling, you know that the brain cannot be
> >> deterministic,
> >
> >
> > It's not because of the feeling, it's because the feeling makes no sense 
> as
> > a phenomenon in a deterministic universe. I'm not saying "I like 
> chocolate,
> > therefore chocolate must be real.', I am saying that the fact that I like
> > anything is not compatible with a universe in which liking has no causal
> > efficacy. The post Libet experiments on free will go further to suggest 
> that
> > how much people like chocolate actually influences how much chocolate 
> brown
> > residues are found in their teeth.
> What you KNOW is that you have the feeling of free will. What you CONCLUDE 
> from this knowledge is that the world cannot be deterministic. 

What you KNOW is that you have a feeling that you understand the world is 
deterministic. That's what your entire knowledge of science is - a complex 
feeling. What you CONCLUDE from this knowledge is that your feelings of 
free will cannot be supported scientifically.

> The ONLY fact you use to conclude this is that you have the feeling of 
> free will. 

The fact that I have the feeling is irrelevant. The important bit is that 
there is a such thing in the universe as this feeling. If you have a 
picture of a triangle, then you have geometry, whether or not you can build 
a pyramid.

> For if the conclusion were based on other, empirical facts such as 
> scientific experiments, these facts could by their nature be wrong, and 
> therefore you would be wrong about determinism despite the feeling that you 
> have free will - and you believe that that is impossible.

The empirical facts and scientific experiments are *never* wrong, just 
misinterpreted completely. Free will, like the color red, is not a public 
phenomenon, it is a private phenomenon. If you look for red publicly you 
will find all kinds of different phenomena on different levels of 
description, but none of them will be red. My objection to the 
disqualification of free will has zero to do with any personal preference I 
have. As I say, I am more comfortable without free will in the universe by 
nature, but it simply doesn't make sense when you look at it objectively. 
There cannot be any such thing as 'choices' or intentional feelings in a 
universe which is as it appears to be from the outside. On the outside, 
different sized things collide, accumulate, disperse. So what? Where does 
the idea of something 'caring' about some of those collisions fit in? It 
doesn't. You have to go all the way back to square one. The worldview we 
have been using for 500 years is fundamentally lacking. It is not 
scientific, it is just anti-subjective.

> >> and that therefore scientists are no more likely to
> >> discover that the brain is deterministic than they are to discover
> >> round squares. This is a very serious claim. The claim of a priori
> >> knowledge is stronger than any scientific claim, since the most
> >> accepted scientific theory could be overthrown tomorrow by a new piece
> >> of evidence. But I don't think you have anywhere near enough reason to
> >> make the claim.
> >
> >
> > It's not a claim, its a hypothesis. Which is always allowed in science.
> > There is no criteria which prohibits a hypothesis from being made.
> But you have said that that because we are conscious and have intention 
> (facts that I agree are beyond doubt) it is not possible that our brains 
> are deterministic or random. This is not a hypothesis, since neither the 
> premises nor the conclusion can be falsified.

Sure it can be falsified. Build a machine that predicts what people's 
brains are going to do tomorrow.

> >> Even if I agree with you about free will and
> >> determinism, machines and consciousness, I can still conceive my brain
> >> being deterministic while I still feel (falsely, perhaps) that I am
> >> free. The logical contradiction that is required for the a priori
> >> truth to be asserted is not there.
> >
> >
> > The stock ticker is deterministic except for how it is responding to
> > conditions beyond the device itself. The behavior of a glove is
> > deterministic except for those behaviors related to the wearer of the 
> glove.
> How does that address the point I made? If my body and the universe 
> containing it is deterministic then my behaviour is also deterministic.

The body and universe aren't deterministic  either. If you looked Earth 
three thousand years ago, would Manhattan be something you could determine?

> >> To me and to others, intention is certainly conceivable in this case.
> >> You have a singular mental block if you can't conceive of it.
> >
> >
> > So how exactly do you conceive of it? Step by step, how is an intention
> > generated, and why, in a deterministic system?
> How exactly the intention is generated is not the question asked. The 
> question is whether it is conceivable that an intention could be generated 
> in a deterministic system. I am mystified as to why you think it isn't.

An 'intention' is an experience of exerting your effort into changing some 
condition. In a deterministic system, no condition can every be changed 
that way. Why would it make sense that there could be a such thing as 
intention in a universe ruled exclusively by unintention?

> >> Just as we learn from experiment that tungsten is hard, we learn that
> >> certain systems of organic chemicals are conscious. You could object
> >> that "hardness" cannot be explained entirely in physicalist terms, but
> >> where does this get you?
> >
> >
> > The hardness of tungsten is easily understood as a function of qualities
> > like density and rigidity - which can be modeled as relations between
> > positions in space. Consciousness can't be modeled or anticipated in any
> > way. It is isn't 'like' anything else and there is no way of abstracting
> > authentic participation. It doesn't make sense to carefully reduce the
> > universe to matter if matter is defined as something which arbitrarily 
> has
> > the powers of God. Why not just say that God makes life out of certain
> > magical clay?
> No, I don't think it's so easy to explain hardness, density and rigidity. 
> You might reduce one to the other but reduction has to stop at some point. 
> Why is there mass at all? Why is there a universe at all? 

There doesn't have to be mass or a universe - just a distribution of points 
defined as being unable to occupy the same location in space. There's your 
hardness - a single invariance in position behavior. 

> >> But then there might also be no hardness if matter and energy could
> >> exist independently of hardness. The reality is that they do not:
> >> hardness is an emergent property of matter, as is mind.
> >
> >
> > Yes, but why would hardness emerge as a property of matter rather than 
> mind?
> > Every function of hardness can be accomplished independently of any
> > experience of hardness. We know this to be true already. A machine does 
> not
> > need to look like a phone or a car to perform that function, the 
> aesthetics
> > are all for our minds. A cell phone could be a bag of junk served up in a
> > waffle cone and run the same way. It needs no pretty forms, no fashions 
> or
> > enticements to work. A deterministic universe is purely pragmatic. There 
> is
> > no possibility of meaningless decorations like 'here and now' or 
> 'choice'.
> I still don't understand what you have against determinism coexisting with 
> mind. Even if mind is of divine origin we could conceive that it is 
> deterministic. God could have determined our every action but chose not to. 
> Where is the problem?

The problem is that it doesn't make sense. If you have determinism, and it 
works without mind, why in God's name would you suddenly make a mind?

> >> Are you saying that consciousness somehow drives evolution?
> >
> >
> > To be precise, evolution is the unintentional consequence of 
> consciousness
> > (really motor participation).
> So evolution isn't a process of random mutation and natural selection.

It is, but mutation and selection of what? Beings living lives filled with 
intention and struggling personally against determinism.

> >> The
> >> standard scientific position is that nothing beyond the dumb laws of
> >> physics drives anything in the universe.
> >
> >
> > Because physics is focusing only on phenomena related to bodies in public
> > space. If that model were applied to private experience, then the 
> physicist
> > himself can only ever be a deluded and passive witness of his own dumb 
> laws.
> > He has no more chance of discovering what drives anything in the universe
> > than he does of learning to use his eyeballs backward to see inside his 
> own
> > brain.
> >
> >>
> >> No-one has been able to find
> >> a case where a single atom has done something these dumb laws of
> >> physics don't account for.
> >
> >
> > Of course. On the level of atoms, there aren't any living things. No 
> part of
> > Shakespeare is made of anything other than English letters, but the 
> ability
> > to combine letters into larger groups has nothing to do with the 
> 'Emergent
> > property' of Macbeth. It's necessary, sure, but not even 0.0000000001%
> > sufficient.
> So one atom follows the dumb laws of physics but two or more atoms might 
> do something surprising?

Not even one atom follows the dumb laws of physics, but it gets harder to 
see for us. By looking to an atom we are asking to see the aspect of the 
universe which is most distant and imperceptible to us. We are looking at 
the lowest common denominator of all insignificance.

> >> No, it doesn't. Why is there a universe at all?
> >
> >
> > Because there is no other possibility. This is not a mystical koan, it is
> > the architecture of ontology. Nothing can only exist as a temporary 
> absence
> > of everything. Everything can't not exist, because there is nowhere for 
> it
> > to escape to.
> Are you are believer in Everything Exists, in the tradition of this list, 
> after all?

>From where we are now, Everything Insists. From the Absolute frame of 
reference, we insist and everything exists. That's my guess.

> >> Why do objects appear
> >> to behave in absolutely rigid ways which leads us to define laws of
> >> physics?
> >
> >
> > Because we are specific participants in the universe, so the rigidity
> > represents a perpetual record of what ended up happening. The more rigid,
> > the more primitive, and the more deeply nested within it we are.
> Is it a fact that F=ma everywhere in the universe, or might it suddenly 
> change to F=ma^2 in a particular instance of brain function due to the 
> action of sense?

No, why would physics need to change?

> >> Why are we not solid like potatoes, if all matter has
> >> consciousness?
> >
> >
> > Matter doesn't have consciousness, matter is what consciousness looks 
> like
> > from a distance. We look like what we are, and what we are is like a 
> potato
> > roughly to the degree that our experience is like that of a potato plant.
> But why do we have parts that seem to function like machines to keep us 
> going, tricking us into thinking we are in fact machines since nothing 
> science has ever found suggests otherwise?

Because if they didn't seem like machines it would prevent us from 
developing as autonomous beings, which is the whole point. The reason that 
cells want to build a human body is to have human experiences - its a 
leveling up. What would be the point if it was just going be more of the 
same cellular experiences?

> >> > The logical contradiction is that the chemistry of your brain has no
> >> > reason
> >> > to spontaneously change to correspond with visualizing red right now,
> >> > but my
> >> > asking you to visualize red is an overwhelmingly convincing cause.
> >>
> >> You still have it in your mind that the brain can change
> >> "spontaneously", and that this is evidence of the mind acting on
> >> matter. But you are completely wrong about this. You have cited papers
> >> about spontaneous neural activity which you have misunderstood.
> >> "Spontaneous" does not mean what you think it means.
> >
> >
> > I know what you think I mistake those papers as referring to, but you are
> > wrong. I was fully aware, then as now, that the scientists were being 
> loose
> > in their terminology in discerning between brain activity which has a 
> well
> > understood path of causation that that which seems to present itself 
> without
> > immediate trigger. It doesn't matter though. I only point out the word 
> they
> > happened to use as a clue to the nature of that activity, which is not
> > driven by neurological events but rather by top down biographical events 
> -
> > intentional events. This should be moronically obvious, but we are so
> > poisoned by this pathological stage of over-Westernized science that we 
> have
> > no problem with denying our own ordinary existence entirely even as we 
> grant
> > outrageous license to ridiculous Sci-Fi physics theory.
> >
> > Of course the brain changes suddenly when we exert voluntary action. 
> What do
> > you suggest happens? If I ask you to answer a question, do you think 
> that a
> > brain scan is going to tell you my question before I ask it?
> The brain changes when we do anything, of course, but each change is in 
> theory traceable to a physical event.

What it the physical event which corresponds to deciding in 1995 that you 
will become a doctor? How many changes during the time from then to now can 
be traced to that event, and why would they really be relevant?

> You can look at a brain, or more simply an isolated neuron, and explain 
> everything that happens in it in physical terms, without reference to any 
> associated qualia. If the qualia act on matter, causing a physical change, 
> then it's physical manifestation woul be matter acting in strange ways, 
> contrary to physical laws.

No. The qualia is there already on the inside, where the neurons are not 
visible at all. Where the neurons are visible, on the outside, there are no 
qualia visible. Why do you choose the outside view as 'real' and the inside 
view as the one which has to justify itself to the outside? The qualia is 
already a fact. Your expectations about how that should look from the 
outside are what has no reality at all. You can't see qualia from the 
outside, so why would you expect it to cause any unusual changes in matter 
- as if it were hidden in the tissue somewhere really tiny, You don't 
understand that your entire view of what matter and experience is is 
incorrect. It's unscientific, obsolete. The relation between the two cannot 
be viewed from one side or the other - that's the whole point - that broken 
symmetry is what physics is.

> You see those calcium channels there? There is 10 mV across the membrane 
> and that calcium channels should stay closed. But they have opened! 
> Something mysterious made them open contrary to all our understanding of 
> physics and chemistry! What could it be that caused such a thing?

This is the most frustrating since even a neuroscience student could tell 
you that your model is too simplistic. Physics has no opinion about which 
calcium channels will open and which will not at any given time. If I ask 
you to think of the color red, whatever needs to happen in your brain to 
make that happen - calcium channels opening, action potentials spiking, 
neurotransmitters being produced.. whatever.. that is all going to happen. 
Physics can say that a switch can be open or closed but it has no opinion 
about when you are going to turn it on. When I change my mind, then there 
is no longer a 10mV current across the membrane. The membranes relax and 
the current vanishes. I am the membranes and my will is my current.


> --
> Stathis Papaioannou
> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou

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