Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 12:07 AM, Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

 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.

Can we stick to physical as something that can be observed and
measured? Smiling at a neighbour has a component that can be observed
and measured, the objective component, and a component that can't, the
subjective component. The scientific conception of neurons is that
nothing in them that can be observed and measured happens without a
physical reason that can be observed and measured.

So you could say his desire to move caused him to get up, which
would be true at one level, but at the microscopic level it will be
ionic fluxes, electrostatic forces between molecules, and so on that
caused him to get up. The desire to move cannot in itself be observed
and measured, so if it directly caused depolarisation of cell
membranes that would appear as miraculous to a scientist. Membrane
depolarisation is something that can be observed and measured so it
cannot happen without a physical reason that can itself be observed
and measured.

Now, do you think that the desire to move can cause membrane
depolarisation without any physical reason? Do you agree that, given
that scientists define physical reason as above, it would appear
miraculous to them if this happened?

 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.

For every mental change there is a corresponding physical change. The
reverse is not the case. If it were possible to have a mental change
without a physical change then that would indicate that the mind had
an existence independent from the body - an immaterial soul, in
effect.

 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.

If you show a video of an avalanche would it be reasonable to suppose
that it happened spontaneously in your sense or would it be
reasonable to suppose that even though the physical cause is not
obvious, it must be there somewhere?

 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.

Even if you are right about that chemistry can *completely* explain
the observable behaviour of any biological system.

 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 

Re: Losing Control

2013-03-16 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 7:27 AM, Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

 You persist in saying that if the components of the system are
 mechanistic then the system cannot control something. That is not the
 way the phrase is normally used.


 What do you mean by 'control'? Can you define it?

Control can be defined less controversially than free will. I
control something if I can determine its behaviour according to my
wishes.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:26:24 AM UTC-4, Terren Suydam wrote:

 This has to be my last response on this for a while. I will just say, 
 about consciousness arising from other premises: It is not the material 
 itself that is important, but the organization of it. 


I understand that premise completely, and as I have tried to clarify 
several times, my model of reality was that the universe was simply that - 
organization or 'pattern'. The big breakthrough however was more recently 
in the realization that pattern supervenes on pattern recognition and 
intention/projection (motive). The pattern/organization itself is an empty 
vehicle. If it were true that organization was the principle responsible 
for consciousness then we would expect anything this was organized in the 
same way would have the dame consciousness. An emoticon that looks like it 
is winking and smiling would literally have to at least be more winking and 
smiling than the same characters in a different arrangement. Common sense 
should tell us that cannot be true, and that this sequence of characters 
;-) is not symbolic in its own right and relies entirely on human 
expectations to define it as smiling. There are countless examples of where 
'the map is not the territory', and the 'menu is not the meal' which should 
help us understand that this 'pretending' or 'seeming like' is in the eye 
of the beholder and the sender (to some extent), not in the function of the 
form. There is a such thing as 'acting like' and that is all that a form or 
function can do.

 

 Consciousness *might* be what happens when certain kinds of organization 
 arise. 


I used to think that also. It's no less magical or religious than any other 
explanation though. Hand waving. Circumstantial evidence.
 

 The human brain might represent one particular kind of organization that 
 is conscious. 


I don't think that an organization can represent anything except within the 
presentation of some sensory experience.
 

 I am interested in theories of consciousness that describe that 
 organization, and what kinds of organization support consciousness and what 
 kinds don't.


Well, since the organization of someone who has just died no longer 
supports consciousness, I would focus on that difference. What is the 
difference in the way that a dead person's brain is organized?
 

 Note that when we take the emphasis off material and put it on 
 organization, it means that there many different kinds of structures that 
 could support consciousness, including virtual structures, structures made 
 out of networks of people, and so on.  I'm not saying this is right. But I 
 am saying that it is conceivable. 


It is conceivable in the sense that a square circle is conceivable. Yes, 
the idea that organization, function, or pattern could generate 
consciousness is an idea that is understandable, but does it really make 
sense beyond that? Does it make more sense than the idea of vitalism or 
materialism or idealism?
 

 You seem utterly closed to that possibility, and I don't understand why, 


Because I already have explored that possibility thoroughly, but with a 
clearer understanding of semiotics I began to see precisely why it is 
unworkable. Once you do, it all makes sense that what we see is neither 
what is 'real' nor is it unreal in every way at once, but rather all 
experience is filtered through various sense modalities, including the 
logical, cognitive, arithmetic, material, etc... all are senses and nothing 
more or less.
 

 except that you appear to be locked into your own beliefs, unwilling to 
 even set them aside for the sake of argument. 


You have to first assume that my ideas are true, and then try to disprove 
them. If you don't accept the premise, then you are still looking at my 
ideas through the filter of your own expectations and that of the legacy 
worldview. 


 Feynman's quote might make more sense if you realize that he was also 
 talking about himself. Obviously, he was one of the experts he warns about 
 in that quote.


Eh, not so much. I have seen Feynman humble, maybe, but mostly he was an 
*extremely* confident person, especially when it comes to clever insights - 
and for good reason. That quote refers specifically to his distrust of 
authority and intellectual elites and the recognition of that distrust as a 
key factor in thinking for yourself. He is not saying 'never trust 
yourself', but rather 'don't let someone's credentials make you doubt your 
own understanding'.

Craig


 Terren


 On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 5:42 PM, Craig Weinberg 
 whats...@gmail.comjavascript:
  wrote:



 On Friday, March 15, 2013 5:14:16 PM UTC-4, Terren Suydam wrote:


 On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 4:25 PM, Craig Weinberg whats...@gmail.comwrote:



 On Friday, March 15, 2013 4:11:32 PM UTC-4, Terren Suydam wrote:


 On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 3:38 PM, Craig Weinberg whats...@gmail.comwrote:



 On Friday, March 15, 2013 3:04:24 PM UTC-4, Terren Suydam 

A Consistent QM Histories explanation of synchronicity and Sheldrake's morphisms.

2013-03-16 Thread Roger Clough
Hi  

This non-technical video suggests (to me) a possible QM explanation of 
synchronicity and 
Sheldrake's morphisms based on relational QM states and consistent QM histories 
(
R. Griffiths, Gell-Mann, Hartle , Omnes, and others). 

We live in an indefinite world of superposed quantum states,
which only appears actual when we view it and collapse the wave function.
Under the right conditions, namely that of consistent quantum histories the 
observation can result in synchronity, which is one which is particularly 
meaningful in that situation. 

This is a talk given at the Science and Non-duality Conference in October of 
2010, San Rafael, CA.  
The topic is Sky Nelson's paper on the physics of synchronicity, based on 
Relational quantum mechanics and  
Consistent Histories QM. Given to a non-technical audience, but with some 
(simplified) technical details.
 
By nondual he refers to wave-particle duality, so that all of reality before
observation consists of a Macro Quantum Superposition (MQS) state.
Upon observation, as with Leibniz's monadic perceptions, the world 
can only be seen from a single perspective (is not absolute).

My understanding of QM is somewhat limited, but it seems that 
synchronicity arises from the collapse of two consistent QM histories
events (self and other) upon observation by self.

This suggests that Sheldrake's morphisms may be nonlocal memories of 
of previous events that have a consistgent QM history with a current event.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3he4YHDjizo

Dr. Roger Clough NIST (ret.) 3/16/2013  
Coincidences are God's way of remaining anonymous. 
- Albert Einstein

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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread John Clark
On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 , Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

If someone sells you into slavery, or brainwashes you in a cult, can you
 not see that you have lost something?


Yes.


  Can you not 'control' your lungs to a greater extent than you can
 control your heartbeat?


Yes

 How do you define this difference in your worldview?


The only logical conclusion to make is that not everything the brain does
has something to do with consciousness, there must be more than one
subsystem in operation inside that bone box resting on your shoulders.
Sigmund Freud figured that out a long time ago.

 John K Clark

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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread John Clark
On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 4:34 PM, Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.comwrote:

 So all free will means is that sometimes we can make correct
 predictions about what we will do before we do it,


Then a Turing Machine has free will because it can correctly predict that
it will list all the factors of 128 and then stop, and it can correctly it
will never list all the prime numbers and then stop.  The Turing machine
doesn't know if it will ever print out the smallest  even number greater
than 4 is not the sum of two primes greater than 2 because neither it nor
we currently have a proof to show its true or a counterexample to show its
false.

  John K Clark

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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:22:19 PM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:

 On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 , Craig Weinberg whats...@gmail.com javascript:wrote:

 If someone sells you into slavery, or brainwashes you in a cult, can you 
 not see that you have lost something?


 Yes.
  

  Can you not 'control' your lungs to a greater extent than you can 
 control your heartbeat? 


 Yes

  How do you define this difference in your worldview?


 The only logical conclusion to make is that not everything the brain does 
 has something to do with consciousness, there must be more than one 
 subsystem in operation inside that bone box resting on your shoulders. 
 Sigmund Freud figured that out a long time ago. 


Sure, but why do some subsystems have a quality of being under our control 
and some don't? What is the meaning of this quality?

Craig
 


  John K Clark 



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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:41:27 PM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:

 On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 4:34 PM, Craig Weinberg 
 whats...@gmail.comjavascript:
  wrote:

  So all free will means is that sometimes we can make correct 
 predictions about what we will do before we do it, 



That's what you say, not me. I guess now you are trying your hand at 
putting words in my mouth and agreeing with your own positions.
 


 Then a Turing Machine has free will because it can correctly predict


No, prediction has nothing to do with free will. Intention is not a passive 
knowledge or belief that is true in the future, it is the active power to 
change aspects of public reality to suit your preference.
 

 that it will list all the factors of 128 and then stop, and it can 
 correctly it will never list all the prime numbers and then stop.  The 
 Turing machine doesn't know if it will ever print out the smallest  even 
 number greater than 4 is not the sum of two primes greater than 2 because 
 neither it nor we currently have a proof to show its true or a 
 counterexample to show its false.


If a Turing machine had free will, then it would decide what it would list 
and what it wouldn't.

Craig
 


   John K Clark 

   






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Re: Comp: Geometry Is A Zombie

2013-03-16 Thread John Clark
On Thu, Mar 14, 2013  Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

 What does the popularity of porn and gossip have to do with the capacity
 of computers to think and feel?


I have no idea, but that's one of the best Zen Koans I've ever heard.

 There is no other logical conclusion to make given the FACT that if
 your brain chemistry changes your emotions change, AND if your emotions
 change your brain chemistry changes.


  So if I type comments on my computer and I see your answers on my
 computer, then there is no other logical conclusion to make than that you
 live in my computer.


  In this lame analogy of yours what is the counterpart of my typing
 into the computer, who the hell is typing into my brain?


  John K Clark, who else?


So the correct answer to the question Why does John K Clark do what he
does? would not involve Quantum Mechanics or biochemistry or neurons or
genes or the environment or psychology or even cause and effect; according
to you the correct answer to the question Why does John K Clark do what he
does? is Because of John K Clark. Wow, what a deep theory!

 consciousness can't be a byproduct of anything because it would be
 completely unexplainable and superfluous


It is in the very nature of byproducts to be superfluous, otherwise they
wouldn't be byproducts; and you can't explain a byproduct until you
explaine something else. You can't explain how a spandrel came to be until
you explain a arch and you can't explain consciousness until you explain
intelligence.

 no matter what you try to attach it to. It is completely implausible in
 every way.


You're telling me something is implausible?! Craig, you continue to insist
that X being not X and X being not not X makes perfect sense, and you say
that if changing X always changes Y and changing Y always changes X that
does not in any way mean that the change in X caused the change in Y.
Having thus inoculated yourself against the disease of logic you are
bewildered when I say you are not interested in finding the truth but
rather have first decided what you would prefer to be true and then
resolved to shut your eyes if something that contradicts your preference
should dare to enter your view. Therefore I will let you have the last word
on this thread when you reply to this message with one of your patented
yeah but this this and this is conscious but that that and that is not and
I know this because I have free will.

  John K Clark

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Re: A Consistent QM Histories explanation of synchronicity and Sheldrake's morphisms.

2013-03-16 Thread tjp . bayley

On Saturday, March 16, 2013 3:39:55 PM UTC, Roger Clough wrote:

 We live in an indefinite world of superposed quantum states, 

 Doesn't it depend what you mean by 'live'? As far as I can see, I live in 
a definite world, but I am aware of having an imagination and a bunch of 
concepts about life (same thing?) Since I observe my imagination I can say 
it is also definite, though what it purports to reference is not observed 
and therefore is not definite. Linking this with another current thread, if 
you have a QM-realistic view of life, can you hold to a materialist view of 
consciousness?

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Re: A Consistent QM Histories explanation of synchronicity and Sheldrake's morphisms.

2013-03-16 Thread Richard Ruquist
tjp,

If you allow that physical consciousness resides in a materialistic
BEC in the brain, and that the matter-BEC is entangled with a mind-BEC
where realistic quantum computations (comp) are manifest, then yes
physics is consistent with physical consciousness.
Richard Ruquist

On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM,  tjp.bay...@gmail.com wrote:

 On Saturday, March 16, 2013 3:39:55 PM UTC, Roger Clough wrote:

 We live in an indefinite world of superposed quantum states,

 Doesn't it depend what you mean by 'live'? As far as I can see, I live in a
 definite world, but I am aware of having an imagination and a bunch of
 concepts about life (same thing?) Since I observe my imagination I can say
 it is also definite, though what it purports to reference is not observed
 and therefore is not definite. Linking this with another current thread, if
 you have a QM-realistic view of life, can you hold to a materialist view of
 consciousness?

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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 15 Mar 2013, at 20:38, Craig Weinberg wrote:




On Friday, March 15, 2013 3:04:24 PM UTC-4, Terren Suydam wrote:
No, I think that you haven't understood it,

That's because you are only working with a straw man of me. What is  
it that you think that I don't understand? The legacy view is that  
if you have many molecular systems working together mechanically,  
you will naturally get emergent properties that could be mistaken  
for teleological entities. You can't tell the difference between a  
brain change that seems meaningful to you and a meaningful  
experience which causes a brain change. Just because you feel like  
you are moving your arm doesn't mean that isn't just a narrative  
fiction that serves a valuable evolutionary purpose.


All of that is fine, in some other theoretical universe. In our  
universe however, it can't work. There is no evolutionary purpose  
for consciousness or narrative fictions. The existence of the  
feeling that you can control your body makes no sense in universe  
where control is impersonal and involuntary. There is no possibility  
for teleology to even be conceived in a universe of endless  
meaningless chain reactions - no basis for proprietary attachment of  
any kind. It's circular to imagine that it could be important for an  
epiphenomenal self to believe it is phenomenal. Important how? It's  
like adding a steering wheel to a mountain.


due to whatever biases have led you to invest so much in your theory  
- a theory which is AFAICT completely unfalsifiable and predicts  
nothing.


No theory which models consciousness will ever be falsifiable,  
because falsifiability is a quality within consciousness. As far as  
prediction goes, one of the things it predicts that people who are  
bound to the extremes of the philosophical spectrum will be  
intolerant and misrepresent other perspectives. They will cling  
pathologically to unreal abstractions while flatly denying ordinary  
experience.


Materialism + computationalism can lead to nihilism. But  
computationalism, per se,  does not deny ordinary experiences. It  
starts from that, as it is a principle of invariance of consciousness  
for a digital substitution made at some level.


Bruno





Craig





On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 2:02 PM, Craig Weinberg whats...@gmail.com  
wrote:



On Friday, March 15, 2013 1:55:26 PM UTC-4, Terren Suydam wrote:



On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM, Craig Weinberg whats...@gmail.com  
wrote:


Exactly. It is interesting also in that it seems to be like one of  
those ambiguous images, in that as long as people are focused on one  
fixed idea of reality, they are honestly incapable of seeing any  
other, even if they themselves are sitting on top of it.



The irony in that statement is staggering. I couldn't satirize you  
any better if I tried.


Why, do you think that I have never considered the bottom up model  
of causation?



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http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 15 Mar 2013, at 21:18, John Clark wrote:

On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 10:16 AM, Bruno Marchal marc...@ulb.ac.be  
wrote:
 No that is the exact opposite of the truth, we cannot follow our  
own self determination. If you tell me that a system is  
deterministic you have added exactly zero information by telling me  
that the system also has free will, thus free will means  
nothing and is just a noise.
If you tell me that a system is deterministic you have added  
exactly zero information by telling me that the system also has  
consciousness, thus consciousness means nothing and is just a  
noise.


Loss of consciousness such as in sleep or anesthesia has observable  
consequences for me, I formed no new memories and the external  
universe seems to have instantaneously jumped ahead, but loss of  
free will has no observable consequences to me or to anybody else  
because nobody has a clue what the dumb thing is supposed to mean.


Well it is either the loss of the will, like in some severe  
depression, or the loss of freedom, like in jail or camps.





 if you tell me that a black hole is deterministic you have added  
exactly zero information by telling me that the black hole also has  
also a mass, thus mass means nothing and is just a noise.


What the hell are you talking about?? Change the mass of a Black  
Hole and you change the event horizon and that can be measured.  
Black holes are the simplest macroscopic objects in the known  
universe but you've got to know the mass, if you know the mass, spin  
and electrical charge that the Black Hole has then you know  
everything that can distinguish one Black Hole from another.  You  
can know all there is to know about a Black Hole with just 3 numbers  
(2 really because for a actual Black Hole the electrical charge is  
always zero, or at least very small) but one of those numbers is the  
mass.


My point was just to invalidate the kind of reasoning you were doing.





 Having self-determination does not entail that we can self- 
determine ourself completely. I did not say total self- 
determination.


So all free will means is that sometimes we can make correct  
predictions about what we will do before we do it, and sometimes we  
cannot, and in general beforehand there is no way to tell which ones  
we can make good predictions for and which ones we can't. And even  
when we make a correct prediction about what we will do (I will  
never do X for example) sometimes we'll have to wait literally  
forever to know it was the correct prediction.


A pretty useless definition don't you think?



It is useful to decide if some one must be send in a jail or in an  
hospital, or asylum, etc.






 You're walking down a road and spot a fork in the road far ahead.  
You know of advantages and disadvantages to both paths so you aren't  
sure if you will go right or left, you haven't finished the  
calculation yet, you haven't decided yet. Once you get to the fork  
you find yourself on the left path and retroactively conclude that  
you must have decided to go left.


 Yes. That's what I mean by free will. Roughly speaking.

And a powerful demon could be able to look into your head and  
quickly deduce that you would eventually choose to go to the left.  
Meanwhile you, whose mind works much more slowly than the demon's,  
hasn't completed the thought process yet. You might be saying to  
yourself I haven't decided yet, I'll have to think about it, I'm  
free to go either way but the demon already knows for a fact that  
despite your present uncertainty by the time you reach the fork you  
will decide to go to the left.




No problem with that, unless the daemon interfere, but I am remain  
free to contradict him, if he decides to talk.


Bruno





  John K Clark


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Re: Losing Control

2013-03-16 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 16 Mar 2013, at 08:15, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 7:27 AM, Craig Weinberg  
whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:



You persist in saying that if the components of the system are
mechanistic then the system cannot control something. That is not  
the

way the phrase is normally used.



What do you mean by 'control'? Can you define it?


Control can be defined less controversially than free will.


Nice!
We might define free-will by self-control, perhaps.

Bruno




I
control something if I can determine its behaviour according to my
wishes.


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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Bruno Marchal


On 15 Mar 2013, at 22:14, Terren Suydam wrote:



Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts. - Feynman

A great quote that admonishes us to never trust our beliefs 100%.  
Very few people I have met have Feynman's humility.


Wonderful (and funny) quote.

Bruno

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Re: A Consistent QM Histories explanation of synchronicity and Sheldrake's morphisms.

2013-03-16 Thread meekerdb

On 3/16/2013 10:55 AM, tjp.bay...@gmail.com wrote:


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 3:39:55 PM UTC, Roger Clough wrote:

We live in an indefinite world of superposed quantum states,

Doesn't it depend what you mean by 'live'? As far as I can see, I live in a definite 
world, but I am aware of having an imagination and a bunch of concepts about life (same 
thing?) Since I observe my imagination I can say it is also definite, though what it 
purports to reference is not observed and therefore is not definite. Linking this with 
another current thread, if you have a QM-realistic view of life, can you hold to a 
materialist view of consciousness?


I have the impression that on this list materialist has come be an epithet.  It is 
applied to physicists who think the world consists of a ray in an infinite dimensional 
complex Hilbert space - which is about as material as Bruno's modal logic.  Apparently 
anything that is well defined and makes definite predictions is material.


Brent

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Re: Losing Control

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 3:15:58 AM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:

 On Sat, Mar 16, 2013 at 7:27 AM, Craig Weinberg 
 whats...@gmail.comjavascript: 
 wrote: 

  You persist in saying that if the components of the system are 
  mechanistic then the system cannot control something. That is not the 
  way the phrase is normally used. 
  
  
  What do you mean by 'control'? Can you define it? 

 Control can be defined less controversially than free will. I 
 control something if I can determine its behaviour according to my 
 wishes. 


What do you see as being the difference between free will and the ability 
to determine the behavior of something according to your wishes?

Craig
 



 -- 
 Stathis Papaioannou 


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Re: Comp: Geometry Is A Zombie

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 1:42:29 PM UTC-4, John Clark wrote:

 On Thu, Mar 14, 2013  Craig Weinberg whats...@gmail.com javascript:wrote:

   What does the popularity of porn and gossip have to do with the 
 capacity of computers to think and feel?


 I have no idea, but that's one of the best Zen Koans I've ever heard.

   There is no other logical conclusion to make given the FACT that if 
 your brain chemistry changes your emotions change, AND if your emotions 
 change your brain chemistry changes. 


  So if I type comments on my computer and I see your answers on my 
 computer, then there is no other logical conclusion to make than that you 
 live in my computer.


  In this lame analogy of yours what is the counterpart of my typing 
 into the computer, who the hell is typing into my brain?


  John K Clark, who else? 


 So the correct answer to the question Why does John K Clark do what he 
 does? would not involve Quantum Mechanics or biochemistry or neurons or 
 genes or the environment or psychology or even cause and effect; according 
 to you the correct answer to the question Why does John K Clark do what he 
 does? is Because of John K Clark. Wow, what a deep theory!


QM, biochemistry, neurons, genes, the environment, psychology, and 
causality all contribute to why you do what you do, and you contribute to 
why all of those things do what they do. With all of the other phenomena, 
you can trace it back to this force or that Law of physics, but where you 
exclude your own personal perspective as a viable influence, I do not. I 
see that as an anthropocentric (inverted) compulsion. It is a compulsion 
which makes a lot of sense in the wake of the success of post-Copernican 
science, but in the end, the careful study of consciousness reveals this 
impulse to be a simple minded counter-neurosis which tells us more about 
how we react to fear, failure, hope, and success than the scientific 
reality of self and the universe. Just because God is not a giant person in 
the sky does not automatically mean that the universe is a giant machine 
with no personality. This opens the door to an entirely new dimension of 
the universe - perceptual relativity, significance, panpsychic or quorum 
mechanics, etc. Why do we disinvite ourselves from the universe? and when 
we do, why do we seem to take it so personally one way or the other?


  consciousness can't be a byproduct of anything because it would be 
 completely unexplainable and superfluous 


 It is in the very nature of byproducts to be superfluous, otherwise they 
 wouldn't be byproducts; and you can't explain a byproduct until you 
 explaine something else. You can't explain how a spandrel came to be until 
 you explain a arch and you can't explain consciousness until you explain 
 intelligence.


Byproducts aren't superfluous, they are just unintentional. The interaction 
of substances and surfaces can cause 'dust' to accumulate - that is a 
byproduct. If instead the same dry conditions and particle shedding caused 
invisible semi-hypothetical alternate universes to appear and disappear, 
that would be unacceptably surprising. The idea of spandrels is really a 
relativistic term that only makes sense within a context of aesthetic 
teleology. We see things in terms of primary effects and side effects based 
on the projection of intention, but in natural selection, features can be 
adaptive whether they serve their presumed 'original purpose' or not. It's 
a strange judgment to be inserting in a process which has no purposes.


  no matter what you try to attach it to. It is completely implausible in 
 every way.


 You're telling me something is implausible?! Craig, you continue to insist 
 that X being not X and X being not not X makes perfect sense, 


Only in real life. There are a number of rigid logical systems in which 
such subtleties are not allowed.
 

 and you say that if changing X always changes Y and changing Y always 
 changes X that does not in any way mean that the change in X caused the 
 change in Y.


Right, just like I can go East by walking either forward or backward 
without either one causing 'East' at the expense of the other. It all 
depends what direction I am facing. Moving East by walking forward doesn't 
mean I can't also walk forward and move West.
 

   Having thus inoculated yourself against the disease of logic you


The logic that I am using is more flexible to accommodate the nuances of 
reality is all. If you are going swimming, you might want to ditch the suit 
of armor.

are bewildered when I say you are not interested in finding the truth but 
 rather have first decided what you would prefer to be true and then 
 resolved to shut your eyes if something that contradicts your preference 
 should dare to enter your view. 


To the contrary, nothing that I have found contradicts my view, which does 
not follow my preference but rather my curiosity. If you find a real world, 
common sense example of 

G.K. Chesterton on Materialism

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


 For we must remember that the materialist philosophy (whether true or 
 not) is certainly much more limiting than any religion. In one sense, of 
 course, all intelligent ideas are narrow. They cannot be broader than 
 themselves. A Christian is only restricted in the same sense that an 
 atheist is restricted. He cannot think Christianity false and continue to 
 be a Christian; the atheist cannot think atheism false and continue to be 
 an atheist.

 But, as it happens, there is a very special sense in which materialism has 
 more restrictions than spiritualism… The Christian is quite free to believe 
 that there is a considerable amount of settled order and inevitable 
 development in the universe, but the materialist is not allowed to admit 
 into his spotless machine the slightest speck of spiritualism or miracle. 
 The Christian admits that the universe is manifold and even miscellaneous, 
 just as a sane man knows that he is complex. But the materialist’s world is 
 quite simple and solid… The materialist is sure that history has been 
 simply and solely a chain of causation…


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Re: G.K. Chesterton on Materialism

2013-03-16 Thread meekerdb

On 3/16/2013 3:13 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:


For we must remember that the materialist philosophy (whether true or not) 
is
certainly much more limiting than any religion. In one sense, of course, all
intelligent ideas are narrow. They cannot be broader than themselves. A 
Christian is
only restricted in the same sense that an atheist is restricted. He cannot 
think
Christianity false and continue to be a Christian; the atheist cannot think 
atheism
false and continue to be an atheist.

But, as it happens, there is a very special sense in which materialism has 
more
restrictions than spiritualism… The Christian is quite free to believe that 
there is
a considerable amount of settled order and inevitable development in the 
universe,
but the materialist is not allowed to admit into his spotless machine the 
slightest
speck of spiritualism or miracle. The Christian admits that the universe is 
manifold
and even miscellaneous, just as a sane man knows that he is complex. But the
materialist’s world is quite simple and solid… The materialist is sure that 
history
has been simply and solely a chain of causation…



Like most philosophers Chesterton did keep up on the science of his time and so writes as 
though Lagrange was the last word.


Brent

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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Stephen P. King
On 3/16/2013 3:15 PM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
 
 On 15 Mar 2013, at 20:38, Craig Weinberg wrote:
 


 On Friday, March 15, 2013 3:04:24 PM UTC-4, Terren Suydam wrote:
 No, I think that you haven't understood it,

 That's because you are only working with a straw man of me. What is it
 that you think that I don't understand? The legacy view is that if you
 have many molecular systems working together mechanically, you will
 naturally get emergent properties that could be mistaken for
 teleological entities. You can't tell the difference between a brain
 change that seems meaningful to you and a meaningful experience which
 causes a brain change. Just because you feel like you are moving your
 arm doesn't mean that isn't just a narrative fiction that serves a
 valuable evolutionary purpose.

 All of that is fine, in some other theoretical universe. In our
 universe however, it can't work. There is no evolutionary purpose for
 consciousness or narrative fictions. The existence of the feeling that
 you can control your body makes no sense in universe where control is
 impersonal and involuntary. There is no possibility for teleology to
 even be conceived in a universe of endless meaningless chain reactions
 - no basis for proprietary attachment of any kind. It's circular to
 imagine that it could be important for an epiphenomenal self to
 believe it is phenomenal. Important how? It's like adding a steering
 wheel to a mountain.

 due to whatever biases have led you to invest so much in your theory -
 a theory which is AFAICT completely unfalsifiable and predicts nothing.

 No theory which models consciousness will ever be falsifiable, because
 falsifiability is a quality within consciousness. As far as prediction
 goes, one of the things it predicts that people who are bound to the
 extremes of the philosophical spectrum will be intolerant and
 misrepresent other perspectives. They will cling pathologically to
 unreal abstractions while flatly denying ordinary experience.
 
 Materialism + computationalism can lead to nihilism. But
 computationalism, per se,  does not deny ordinary experiences. It starts
 from that, as it is a principle of invariance of consciousness for a
 digital substitution made at some level.
 


Dear Bruno,

Could you elaborate on what you mean by 'nihilism' here?


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Onward!

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Re: Losing Control

2013-03-16 Thread Stathis Papaioannou
On Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 7:38 AM, Craig Weinberg whatsons...@gmail.com wrote:

 Control can be defined less controversially than free will. I
 control something if I can determine its behaviour according to my
 wishes.


 What do you see as being the difference between free will and the ability to
 determine the behavior of something according to your wishes?

You insist that free will is incompatible with determinism or
randomness. If I accept this definition, then free will is impossible.
Control can be defined in such a way that it is possible even if
free will is impossible. However, if you define control as
incompatible with determinism or randomness then control is impossible
also. We will have to use an alternative word to indicate what was
previously called control in order to avoid confusion in our
discussions.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou

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Re: G.K. Chesterton on Materialism

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 6:41:58 PM UTC-4, Brent wrote:

  On 3/16/2013 3:13 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:
  
  For we must remember that the materialist philosophy (whether true or 
 not) is certainly much more limiting than any religion. In one sense, of 
 course, all intelligent ideas are narrow. They cannot be broader than 
 themselves. A Christian is only restricted in the same sense that an 
 atheist is restricted. He cannot think Christianity false and continue to 
 be a Christian; the atheist cannot think atheism false and continue to be 
 an atheist.

 But, as it happens, there is a very special sense in which materialism 
 has more restrictions than spiritualism� The Christian is quite free to 
 believe that there is a considerable amount of settled order and inevitable 
 development in the universe, but the materialist is not allowed to admit 
 into his spotless machine the slightest speck of spiritualism or miracle. 
 The Christian admits that the universe is manifold and even miscellaneous, 
 just as a sane man knows that he is complex. But the materialist�s world 
 is quite simple and solid� The materialist is sure that history has been 
 simply and solely a chain of causation�
  
  
 Like most philosophers Chesterton did keep up on the science of his time 
 and so writes as though Lagrange was the last word.


I think that this list shows that the view that history has been simply 
and solely a chain of causation is alive and well in the 21st century.

Craig


 Brent
  

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Re: Dartmouth neuroscientist finds free will has neural basis

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 3:15:43 PM UTC-4, Bruno Marchal wrote:


 On 15 Mar 2013, at 20:38, Craig Weinberg wrote:



 On Friday, March 15, 2013 3:04:24 PM UTC-4, Terren Suydam wrote:

 No, I think that you haven't understood it, 


 That's because you are only working with a straw man of me. What is it 
 that you think that I don't understand? The legacy view is that if you have 
 many molecular systems working together mechanically, you will naturally 
 get emergent properties that could be mistaken for teleological entities. 
 You can't tell the difference between a brain change that seems meaningful 
 to you and a meaningful experience which causes a brain change. Just 
 because you feel like you are moving your arm doesn't mean that isn't just 
 a narrative fiction that serves a valuable evolutionary purpose.

 All of that is fine, in some other theoretical universe. In our universe 
 however, it can't work. There is no evolutionary purpose for consciousness 
 or narrative fictions. The existence of the feeling that you can control 
 your body makes no sense in universe where control is impersonal and 
 involuntary. There is no possibility for teleology to even be conceived in 
 a universe of endless meaningless chain reactions - no basis for 
 proprietary attachment of any kind. It's circular to imagine that it could 
 be important for an epiphenomenal self to believe it is phenomenal. 
 Important how? It's like adding a steering wheel to a mountain.
  

 due to whatever biases have led you to invest so much in your theory - a 
 theory which is AFAICT completely unfalsifiable and predicts nothing.


 No theory which models consciousness will ever be falsifiable, because 
 falsifiability is a quality within consciousness. As far as prediction 
 goes, one of the things it predicts that people who are bound to the 
 extremes of the philosophical spectrum will be intolerant and misrepresent 
 other perspectives. They will cling pathologically to unreal abstractions 
 while flatly denying ordinary experience.


 Materialism + computationalism can lead to nihilism. But computationalism, 
 per se,  does not deny ordinary experiences. It starts from that, as it is 
 a principle of invariance of consciousness for a digital substitution made 
 at some level.


It may not deny ordinary experiences, but it doesn't support them 
rationally either. What is a reason why computation would be processed as 
an ordinary experience, when we clearly can be accomplished through 
a-signifying mechanical activities?

Craig
 


 Bruno




 Craig

  




 On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 2:02 PM, Craig Weinberg whats...@gmail.comwrote:



 On Friday, March 15, 2013 1:55:26 PM UTC-4, Terren Suydam wrote:




 On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM, Craig Weinberg whats...@gmail.comwrote:


 Exactly. It is interesting also in that it seems to be like one of 
 those ambiguous images, in that as long as people are focused on one 
 fixed 
 idea of reality, they are honestly incapable of seeing any other, even if 
 they themselves are sitting on top of it.


 The irony in that statement is staggering. I couldn't satirize you any 
 better if I tried. 


 Why, do you think that I have never considered the bottom up model of 
 causation?


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Re: Losing Control

2013-03-16 Thread Craig Weinberg


On Saturday, March 16, 2013 8:54:35 PM UTC-4, stathisp wrote:

 On Sun, Mar 17, 2013 at 7:38 AM, Craig Weinberg 
 whats...@gmail.comjavascript: 
 wrote: 

  Control can be defined less controversially than free will. I 
  control something if I can determine its behaviour according to my 
  wishes. 
  
  
  What do you see as being the difference between free will and the 
 ability to 
  determine the behavior of something according to your wishes? 

 You insist that free will is incompatible with determinism or 
 randomness. If I accept this definition, then free will is impossible. 
 Control can be defined in such a way that it is possible even if 
 free will is impossible. 


I don't think that control can be defined in such a way that it is possible 
without free will. Not literally. We can project control onto an inanimate 
system figuratively, via the pathetic fallacy, and say that rainfall 
controls crop yields or something like that, but there is no intention on 
the part of rainfall to manipulate crop yields. While it may not always be 
easy to discern what exactly makes a given process unintentional or 
intentional when it is a public observation, but privately the difference 
between what we can possibly control and what we may not ever be able to 
control is abundantly clear.
 

 However, if you define control as 
 incompatible with determinism or randomness then control is impossible 


I would not say that free will/self-controlcontrol is incompatible from 
unintentional processes (determinism or randomness), but just as the yellow 
traffic light implies the customs and meanings of both red and green 
lights, there is a clear distinction between intention and unintention.
 

 also. We will have to use an alternative word to indicate what was 
 previously called control in order to avoid confusion in our 
 discussions. 


Why, getting too close to something that you can't deny and conflate?

Craig
 



 -- 
 Stathis Papaioannou 


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