On Friday, March 15, 2013 6:59:42 AM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 2:48 PM, Craig Weinberg 
> <whats...@gmail.com<javascript:>> 
> wrote: 
> > I didn't say that. I said "When five billion of them jump to attention 
> at 
> > once, it  is **often** because of something that the person is 
> experiencing 
> > intentionally,". Biochemistry, among other things, can cause billions of 
> > neurons to react, but also intentional thought can do that with no 
> external 
> > force. 
> > 
> >> You need to find 
> >> some experimental evidence for this, and astound the scientific world. 
> > 
> > 
> > Straw man cabaret continues.. 
> You claim that I don't understand you and perhaps I don't. I'm not 
> deliberately constructing straw man arguments. 

Then stop saying that my view must have something to do with violating 

> The scientific conception of neurons is that *nothing* in them happens 
> without a physical reason, ever. 

Which is why we those scientists have no idea what consciousness is. 
Physical is a meaningless term. Whatever happens is physical, whether it is 
smiling at a neighbor or welding a trashcan shut. The only good use for 
physical in my view is to discern relative presentations from 
representations. The letter A is not physical, but any particular 
instantiation of experience of object that we read as A is physical.

> When a person decides to do 
> something, this corresponds to certain changes in his brain, and these 
> changes all follow absolutely rigidly from the physical laws 
> describing electrochemical reactions. 

No, not all changes in the brain cannot be predicted at all from 
electrochemical reactions. If I decide to go on vacation next week, there 
is no electrochemical chain reaction which can explain why my body will 
drive to work today but not in a week. The explanation is only realized in 
the semantic content of the mind. This is why there is a clear and 
important different in our awareness between voluntary and involuntary 
reactions. To be addicted, coerced, enslaved, trapped, etc, are among the 
most dire conditions which humans confront, yet they have no chemical 
correlate at all. Whether someone is picking up trash on a prison chain 
gang or they are picking up trash on the grounds of their vast estate, 
there is no functional basis for either option being chemically preferable.

> This applies to every molecule 
> in the brains in those fMRI pictures you have referenced. 

There were mostly spontaneous changes of large groups of molecules and 
neurons in those images. That's why I included them, because it is so 
obvious that this is not some kind of rippling, ricocheting, cymatic 
pattern which could conceivably propagate from bottom up chemistry.

> You may not 
> be able to predict exactly what the brain will do but you can't 
> predict much simpler systems such as where a billiard ball will end up 
> after bouncing off several cushions either, and that does not lead you 
> to doubt that it is mechanistic. 

Prediction is not the test. We know for a fact that we experience direct 
participation in our lives. That cannot be explained by chemistry as it is 
currently assumed to be. The model is incomplete, not the validity of our 
own experience.

> In the standard scientific view, 

which is wrong.

> spontaneously excitable cells are 
> just a special subtype of excitable cells and still follow absolutely 
> rigidly the physical laws describing electrochemical reactions. Google 
> "excitable cells" and you can read about it. If I understand your 
> view, you think that "spontaneous" means there is neuronal activity 
> not explained by these rigid physical laws.

Nothing is explained by any physical laws which cannot conceive of top-down 
voluntary control of muscle tissue, cells, and molecules. Excitable doesn't 
exhaustively determine what it is excited by. In some cases they are 
excited by surrounding conditions, in some cases they generate excitement 
internally - and that is who we are, the agency associated with the 
spontaneous internal excitement of those cells (as well as the unseen 
excitement or whatever it is going on in glial cells, etc)

> That must be evident in 
> some experiment or observation; for otherwise the brain would follow 
> the rigid physical laws in a machine-like way, which you do not 
> believe is the case. 

You are conceiving of the brain in a way which is so pathologically 
prejudiced that there is no possibility of your seeing beyond it. You have 
decided a priori that all there is is what physics has defined, and 
therefore no matter how absurd it is, everything that exists must 'really' 
be part of that. Your view makes it impossible for any organism to do 
anything other than passively wait until something external causes a chain 
reaction that makes their legs move around and their hands shove food into 
their mouth. The universe that you imagine cannot possibly include you or 
your ability to imagine anything - but rather than seeing that as a 
catastrophic problem with your model, you simply let go of common sense, 
personal experience, etc, and think 'If I think that I am doing anything, 
then I must be mistaken." To me, this is the height of anthropocentricism, 
only in reverse. You see everything in the universe as having power and 
presence except us. We are confined to some metaphysical never-never land 
of 'illusion' or 'emergent properties' while the lowliest ganglion strides 
the universe as part of a micro-empire - dictating our every move according 
to rigidly deterministic laws. It's a fantasy that would make Dr. Seuss 
roll his eyes.

> Can you explain if I have this wrong where exactly I have it wrong? 

You have it wrong by assuming that physics always propagates control from 
the bottom up and never from the top down.


> -- 
> Stathis Papaioannou 

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