On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 5:01 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> > So you are saying that my arm moves at random times like the lottery
>> > pays
>> > off randomly? How come I can predict when I am about to move my arm and
>> > be
>> > right every time?
>>
>> The lottery pays off unpredictably to an outsider, but not necessarily
>> randomly. The lottery may itself know what its own outcome is going to be
>> and feels that it has chosen it freely. This can be said about any process,
>> since there is no way to know whether it is associated with consciousness or
>> not.
>
>
> You didn't answer my questions. Instead you are making up an alternate
> universe where lotteries are not random but are intentional beings, and
> consciousness is an unknowable factor. In the universe where we actually
> live though, I can choose what time I want to stand up, and no statistical
> regression of ion channel behaviors is going to suggest what time that can
> or cannot be. I on the other hand, can predict with 100% accuracy that time
> will be.

A random or deterministic being can also be intentional. You assert
that it cannot and somewhat arrogantly proclaim that this is
self-evident. Can you find any philosopher or scientist who agrees
with you in this?

>> Whether or not the scientific world view is wrong, the fact remains that a
>> top-down effect would result in things happening at the low level SEEMINGLY
>> MAGICALLY.
>
>
> Not if every low level effect was influenced by top level effects to begin
> with.

If this is so then it is undetectable to science. It is like saying
that Gravity is due to God pushing objects together, but done in such
a way that we can never know it other than through faith.

> Your argument is bizarre as it not only eliminates free will but it
> really eliminates the possibility of any form of living organism since cells
> would only ever be able to maintain their own homostasis and couldn't ever
> gather into a larger whole.

Why couldn't cells gather into a larger whole? What about all the
research on cell-cell interaction?

> It eliminates the possibility of powered flight,
> since no low level impulse of cells or molecules results in assembling
> airplanes.

The molecules or cells do not have a "low level impulse". Your problem
is that you cannot see that the whole can have properties not evident
in its parts.

> I repeat. If you think that my view requires non-physical magic,
> then you don't understand what I am suggesting. That isn't an opinion, it is
> a fact. I am defining all physical conditions of the universe from the start
> as the reflected consequences of experiences. Experience doesn't need to
> squeeze into some form or function, it is form and function which are
> nothing but public categories of experience.

You can hold this view but it is still the case that if no apparently
magical effects are observable in experiment that means there is no
top-down effect from consciousness.

>> >> If it is all consistent with physics then it
>> >> isn't a top-down effect.
>> >
>> >
>> > It is the job of physics to be consistent with reality, not the other
>> > way
>> > around.
>>
>> In the above sentence I am not claiming that physics is right, I am not
>> claiming there is no top-down effect, I am just pointing out that IF IT IS
>> ALL CONSISTENT WITH PHYSICS THEN IT ISN'T A TOP-DOWN EFFECT. If you disagree
>> with this then explain how you think the brain could consistently follow the
>> mechanistic rules of physics while at the same time breaking these
>> mechanistic rules due to the top-down action of free will, because that is
>> what you are saying, over and over and over.
>
>
> The same way that the keyboard allows me to send my thoughts to you, matter
> allows me to publicly extend my private intentions. Does the keyboard break
> the laws of physics? No. Does the video screen, computer, or internet break
> the laws of physics? No. Do I break the laws of physics? No, my public and
> private presence are seamless and fluidly interactive ends of the same
> physical-experiential process. The keyboard and screen, like the voluntary
> muscles of our body, exist for no other reason than to provide us with
> direct, voluntary access to our public environment - to control it, not just
> for survival, but for aesthetic preference.

You are missing or deliberately avoiding the point. The keyboard would
be breaking the laws of physics if the keys started moving by
themselves. Similarly with the screen, computer and Internet: there is
always a chain of causation behind their activity, and if this chain
were broken it would appear as if the laws of physics were violated.
And similarly for the brain and any biological system: there is a
chain causality and if this is broken it would look like magic.

>> See, non sequitur. I point out that if you are right chemistry is wrong,
>> you respond with this.
>
>
> It appears that your new strategy is going to be to ignore all arguments and
> assert that you are right and I make no sense. Chemistry does not have to be
> wrong in order for a living organism to spontaneously move or change. Every
> living organism is defined by their ability to interact with their
> environment, over and above any inevitable molecular agenda. We don't just
> sit there while the chemistry of starvation plays out in our body, we find
> ways to feed ourselves. Our chemical reactions don't know anything about how
> a person gets food from a human environment, so it is up to us whether it is
> worth the discomfort of finding food or avoiding hunger. The chemicals don't
> care either way.

But if chemistry says that we only ever do anything, voluntary or
involuntary, due to chemical reactions and you don't agree then you
think chemistry is wrong. Somewhere inside an organism, or perhaps in
a test tube with biologically derived molecules, a chemist should see
something amazing happen, such as ion gates opening for no reason or
electric fields appearing out of nowhere.

>> >> This is not to say that consciousness does not exist or is
>> >> not important, just that it is not directly or separately or top-down
>> >> causally efficacious.
>> >
>> >
>> > Then in what sense do you claim consciousness "exists"? As a
>> > metaphysical
>> > ephiphenomenon which appears magically in never-never land for no
>> > conceivable purpose?
>>
>> Most interesting and important things in the world are epiphenomenal.
>> There is no shame in this.
>
>
> But how can you explain the existence of epiphenomena? They violate physics.

No they don't. An epiphenomenon is an emergent effect. The natural
world is full of complexity and emergent phenomena.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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