On Wednesday, March 13, 2013 6:51:56 AM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 12:18 AM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> wrote: 
> >> But physics does describe how high you will decide to throw the ball, 
> >> since physics describes the movement of the ball and the movement of 
> >> the matter in your body. If you don't accept this then you believe 
> >> that your body will behave CONTRARY TO PHYSICS. 
> > 
> > 
> > If you claim that you can use physics to decide exactly how high I will 
> > decide to throw the ball, then how exactly would you do it? How far in 
> > advance of my throwing the ball do you claim that you can know what I 
> > decide? Since I can decide right now approximately how far I will throw 
> it 
> > 30 days from now, you would have to be able to predict my decision 
> before 
> > this conversation. This is not contrary to physics, but your expectation 
> is 
> > CONTRARY TO REALITY. There is no physical sign in my brain of how hard I 
> > will try to throw the ball. I could change it at the last minute also. 
> I may not be able to predict what your brain will do 30 days from now, 
> but that does not necessarily mean your brain is not deterministic.  
And it certainly doesn't mean your brain is neither deterministic nor 
> probabilistic. 

But I *can* predict what my brain will do 30 days from now if I decide to 
do something in 30 days. That means that what is determining my brain's 
behavior (in addition to whatever physiological realities are in play) is 
my personal will.

> > What you have not considered is that your assumptions about the universe 
> > could be based on jumping to the wrong conclusions about matter and 
> > consciousness. The physical system which is actually determining how 
> high I 
> > will throw the basketball is not what you would see under a microscope 
> with 
> > your body - billions of cells interacting in a microbiotic environment, 
> or 
> > smaller still, quadrillions of molecules interacting in a nanoscale 
> > environment... the basketball doesn't exist there. What is physically 
> > determining the force on the ball is the part of me that knows about 
> > basketballs and throwing, and control of my body's actions in a world 
> not of 
> > biochemistry but of people and real objects. These are the differences 
> that 
> > matter - this is what the universe is made of; perceptual relativism. 
> Top 
> > down, bottom up, center out, periphery in... all contribute, all make 
> their 
> > own sense and motives. Your view is a toy model of bottom up behaviorism 
> > that has nothing to do with reality at all. Because of the plasticity of 
> > sense, the universe ensures that there will always be enough evidence 
> for 
> > you to feel justified in pursuing and believing your view, just as it 
> will 
> > ensure every view reflects enough of the whole truth that it can seem 
> true 
> > enough. You think that the universe is a machine, but it is you who 
> wants 
> > the universe to be a machine. 
> There is a chain of causation between you reading these words and you 
> throwing the ball. Where exactly do you think is the break in this 
> causal chain? 

There is no break at all. Did you not see the part about top-down, 
bottom-up, center-out, and periphery-in causal influences all being 
dynamically interactive? When I make a decision about throwing the ball, 
the public symptoms of that decision can be seen as billions of 
simultaneous and near-simulataneous events, retro-causal events, 
premonitory events.

> >> That is what contrary 
> >> to physics means! It would be easy to show that something funny was 
> >> going on in a laboratory. 
> > 
> > 
> > I don't think that it is possible for you to understand what I am 
> talking 
> > about. I understand what you mean completely though. 
> No, I think you believe the brain does things "by itself" and you 
> don't understand how an experiment could be set up to demonstrate 
> this. 

When did I ever say that the brain does things by itself? Why do you keep 
pointing at this straw man?

> >> You could take a neuron and measure the 
> >> transmembrane potential which will indicate according to our knowledge 
> >> of physics that the neuron will not fire, but then observe that - 
> >> CONTRARY TO PHYSICS - the neuron does fire. 
> > 
> > 
> > The whole point is that the transmembrane potential can and does change 
> at 
> > any time. That's how neurons fire normally. You act as if everything 
> that 
> > happens in the brain is a pinball machine where each neuron can only 
> fire if 
> > another one tells it to fire. That is not at all how it is. Every neuron 
> is 
> > an independent living organism which contributes directly to the 
> chemical 
> > and electric environment of the brain... then there's the glial cells. 
> How 
> > do you explain how they improve mouse brain performance without any 
> > electrical signalling? 
> Do you know how the transmembrane potential is set? It is due to the 
> difference between the sum of positive and negative ions on either 
> side of the membrane. Do you know how the ion concentrations are set? 
> Ions diffuse across the membrane following their concentration 
> gradients, diffuse more quickly through specific ion channels, and are 
> transported against concentration gradients via energy-dependent 
> transmembrane proteins. 

Let's say that you are looking at a live video of someone's neurons as they 
decide to throw a basketball four inches in the air or three feet in the 
air. What happens? What does it matter? The result is the same. Whether it 
is at the level of the entire brain, a particular neural pathway, a group 
of neurons, membranes, ion channel, molecule... it doesn't matter at all 
because they all are changed according to what the person decides. The 
person's decision could be pushed from the neural level also, but we would 
need to do that intentionally because transmembrane potentials don't know 
what a basketball is. Also, your entire model needs a complete revision 
since human glial cells have been discovered to increase the performance of 
mouse brains. All of our assumptions about coded electric signals as 
fundamental factors of consciousness could now easily be wrong.

> You would be surprised if the balls in a 
> pinball machine just started levitating or something all by 
> themselves, and yet that is what you claim happens in the brain. Where 
> does it happen, and why has it never been observed? 

It is observed any time a person exercises their voluntary will and we look 
at what the brain does. Look at Libet even. We don't see sudden responses 
coming out of any inevitable physiology of ions, we see semantic responses 
to sensory events. What is your claim, that the test just happens to 
correspond to a moment when the ion balance was drifting toward an action 
potential anyways? What is your theory of how membranes react to non-local 

> >> And 
> >> insofar as physics is mechanistic - deterministic or probabilistic - 
> >> the behaviour of the body will be mechanistic. 
> > 
> > 
> > That is your theory. I predict that it will be increasingly difficult 
> for 
> > you to hold on to it in the face of a non-stop cascade of information 
> which 
> > casts doubt on determinism, mechanism, and probabilistic assumptions. 
> The 
> > future belongs to sense, perceptual relativism, and intentional 
> interaction. 
> It isn't my theory, it is the assumption of every scientist in every 
> field. 

Most scientists, but hardly all. If you talk to them, you will find that 
many have private opinions which are very different from what they would 
attach their name to professionally. When I went to the consciousness 
conference in Tucson recently, of the people I met I would say that less 
than 5% hold this 19th century view.

> >> But how could this possibly happen? It's like saying that every part 
> >> of the computer behaves mechanistically, but the computer as a whole 
> >> does not. 
> > 
> > 
> > That is exactly what it is. The general makes a decision personally, and 
> the 
> > army follows mechanically. Why is that so hard? The computer as a whole 
> is 
> > not a computer at all, it is an animal, a being. In reality, it only 
> looks 
> > like a computer on the lower levels because it is too distant from our 
> > personal experience to relate to personally.  It's not a matter of how 
> it 
> > could possibly happen, it is a matter of how could anyone think that it 
> > isn't happening. You experience it yourself directly in every moment. 
> If the general does not behave mechanistically then the army as a 
> whole doesn't either. 

Why? Where is that dictum from?

> The only way the general could behave 
> non-mechanistically is if some part of him does not; for if every part 
> behaved mechanistically then he and the army would behave 
> mechanistically. So which part exactly of the general behaves 
> non-mechanistically, and could you suggest an experiment to 
> demonstrate your hypothesis is right? 

You are assuming a bottom-up topology. If you flip it over, it is easy to 
see that wholes are not mechanistic, it is only parts which seem 
mechanistic to wholes. It's all about perceptual relativity - which I don't 
think you even notice that I have been talking about all this time. 
Whatever experiment we can do to try to defeat perceptual relativism will 
only end up confirming the bias of the experiment.

> >> Consider only the publicly observable behaviour of any system in the 
> >> universe. Can the mechanistic rules broken? In what part of the system 
> >> exactly? 
> > 
> > 
> > The mechanistic rules begin at charge. Will is the changing of the 
> charge 
> > from the top down. Charge has emergent properties in biological systems. 
> Or 
> > if it isn't charge, it's quantum entanglement... it doesn't matter, 
> > ultimately every force and field is intentional on some level of 
> perceptual 
> > description, just not one which is available to us as human beings. What 
> > forces and fields are particularly responsible for our more human 
> qualities 
> > of articulated will doesn't really matter to me. What's the difference? 
> Any 
> > or all is the same with respect to the mind-matter relation. Regardless 
> > there is top-down and bottom-up interaction within an unbroken continuum 
> of 
> > private and public (to us) events. 
> But charge and electric fields are well-described mathematically in 
> physics. Do you have any experiments showing that electric fields 
> behave contrary to the well-understood equations? 

We are the experiment. When we want to move our arm, an electric field 
changes. Do you deny this?


> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou 

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