On Tuesday, March 5, 2013 8:39:37 AM UTC-5, telmo_menezes wrote:
>
> Hi Craig, 
>
> On Tue, Mar 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> wrote: 
> > On Monday, March 4, 2013 11:27:21 PM UTC-5, Pierz wrote: 
> >> 
> >> Really Craig? It invalidates mechanistic assumptions about eyes? I'm 
> sure 
> >> the researchers would be astonished at such a wild conclusion. All the 
> >> research shows is brain plasticity in interpreting signals from unusual 
> >> neural pathways. How does that invalidate mechanism? 
> > 
> > 
> > It's not that wild of a conclusion. The experiment shows that we cannot 
> > assume that vision is the result of a passive process that relies on a 
> > one-way path leading from light to eye to optic nerve to brain. 
>
> No, it just shows that we cannot assume that the eye has to be 
> connected to the optic nerve specifically. 
>

Yes, but I think that's only part of what it shows. It also shows that the 
brain and spinal cord have the general intelligence to recognize and 
integrate the eye as an eye. It's an active system. It's not just a matter 
of saying that you can receive mail at more than one address, it is that 
your mail will figure out where you are living without having instructed 
the post office.


> > The brain 
> > actively shows that there is a path leading the other way as well, as 
> the 
> > whole organism seeks to see through the eye. 
>
> The brain is always looking for patterns in its inputs that could be 
> useful. 
>

a computer is always scanning its ports and slots for activity also. That 
doesn't mean you can just solder a DRAM card somehwere on the motherboard 
and expect to use it.
 

>
> > This shows that there is 
> > sensory-motor activity going on within the micro-level of the tadpole as 
> the 
> > rather under-signifyingly termed "plasticity" knows exactly what the 
> eyeball 
> > is, and finds a way to use it. 
>
> Or, the brain is just capable of recognising old patterns from a new 
> source. 
>

When you say that the brain is "just capable of recognizing", that is 
already sense. You're not saying that this capability is just luck or 
telepathy, you are saying that there is a particular sense interaction in 
which neural tissue initiates ephaptic or other contact. It's not like the 
patterns are leaking out of the eye in some formless way, it has to be 
recognized that this organ as something which can be used as a sense organ 
before it can get any signals out of it. This brings up the question also 
of 'why have sense organs at all'? If the brain can just recognize old 
patterns from new sources, why not just use anything you can touch as an 
eye or an ear?
 

>
> > Try that with your computer. See what happens when you try plugging a 
> > microphone into a DRAM slot or listening to your car radio through the 
> > transmission. 
>
> We know of many algorithms (possibly equivalent) that could be used to 
> achieve something like that. They could require human assistance -- is 
> this what you want me to do? -- but so do humans. This, of course, 
> provided you are willing to disregard interface incompatibilities that 
> are outside of the control of a normal computer. But I can't see why 
> hardware without such incompatibilities could not be built. It's just 
> that there isn't any incentive to do it at the moment. 
>

Sure, yes. The assumption of mechanism however, should lead us to expect 
that primitive organisms would be like the early machines that humans have 
built so far. Just as we have no incentive - why would biology have any 
different incentive? The opposite seems to be the case - human machines are 
founded on a rigid, unambiguous ontology, whereas biological organisms are 
founded on flexibility and ambiguous relation between generality and 
specialization.


> Notice that I'm not attacking your theory, I don't grok it well enough 
> for that. I'm just objecting to this specific argument, because I find 
> there are simple explanations within the realms of we already know 
> about the brain. For example, we know that entire sectors of the brain 
> can be repurposed after an injury. 
>

A brain repairing itself is a little easier to explain computationally 
(basically like RAID 5 drive rebuild.. data is stored in such a way that it 
can be reconstructed through triangulation of a missing drive). The idea of 
a new drive being inserted into some random slot directly and having the 
computer begin using it is a little different. The eye could be a tumor or 
some foreign object, it would have to have some way of recognizing what it 
is first before it could be useful. This doesn't make sense under the 
assumption of visual sense as a passive machine in which photons strike the 
retina, signals, travel to the brain, brain interprets. The brain has to be 
interpreting the eye itself, as a organ which it collaborates with, not 
just an abstract source of signals, as it would be in a computer.

Thanks,
Craig


> Best, 
> Telmo. 
>
> > 
> > Craig 
> > 
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