On 4/11/2013 7:32 AM, Terren Suydam wrote:


On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 6:08 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 4/10/2013 2:08 PM, Terren Suydam wrote:
    Hi Telmo,

    Yes, those are good counter examples.

    But I think to say "pain and pleasure are fine-tuned by evolution..." is a 
sleight
    of hand. Pain and pleasure are phenomenological primitives. If evolution 
created
    those primitives, how did it do that? By what mechanism?

    Another way to think of this is to acknowledge that pain signals are 
mediated by
    special nerves in the nervous system. But what makes those nerves any 
different
    from a nerve that carries information about gentle pressure?  You may be 
able to
    point to different neuroreceptors used, but then that shifts the question 
to why
    different neuroreceptors should result in different characters of 
experience.

    You have to ground the interpretation in behavior and its relation to 
evolutionary
    advantage. People who put their hand in the fire withdraw it quickly and 
exclaim to
    warn others.  People that don't suffer reproductive disadvantage.

    Brent


Of course, but it still involves a sleight of hand. Let me offer this example by way of trying to make this clear.

You have creature A which does not suffer pain. Then some mutation occurs and creature B, descended from A, is born with the ability to feel pain when exposed to fire. We agree that creature B is more likely to reproduce than creature A. My question is, what is the nature of the mutation that suddenly ushered in the subjective experience of pain? What is the mechanism?

It needn't be one specific "pain" mechanism. It could be a part of the brain that interprets a complex of neural signals as pain, it could be release of some hormones, it could be the development of specific pain sensors. All that is significant is that it elicit the "pain response".

Brent

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