[split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
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26-10-2017, 07:26 PM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(26-10-2017 05:08 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(26-10-2017 04:17 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  Belaqua is obviously intelligent

Thank you.

(26-10-2017 04:17 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  ...but seems to have a problem with saying, "We don't know yet"

This is untrue. If you look back over the thread, you'll see that I'm the one insisting that we don't know.

Mathilda pretends that we know what an answer will look like when we get one.

That other guy is insisting that we already know -- that mental representation just are electrochemical events.

So your observation here is the opposite of the truth. I say we don't know and don't have a good theory. Others are saying we do.

The other guy says that the concept that we are the brain activity is the only thing that has been observed. There is no ghost in the machine.

For you to keep claiming there is no good theory is like the five-year-old answering everything with "But why?"

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-10-2017, 07:50 PM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(26-10-2017 05:08 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  I say we don't know and don't have a good theory.

You should let us know what you find inadequate about our hypotheses. What school of consciousness studies do you yourself represent?
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26-10-2017, 11:04 PM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
This being the place where trolls are sent to die was probably not the best venue for a serious discussion if that's what you wanted. Oh well, it is what it is.

(16-10-2017 09:22 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  Physical events, as in the brain, are different from mental representations (e.g. of color), abstract concepts (e.g. of justice), logical chains, or anything with intentionality (in Husserl's sense of the word). To insist that physical events can somehow give rise to one of these non-physical things seems to me like saying that if we stack up enough apples we'll eventually get an orange.

Searle, Dennett, and others have tried to figure this out, but in my opinion have not been successful. Most philosophers of mind end up with eliminationism (denying that consciousness is real), a modern version of Descartes' homunculus (some inner intelligence which observes the mind), or an infinite regress of physical mind "observing" physical mind.

If you know of a better, more persuasive explanation I am (sincerely, non-dishonestly) interested.

OK, I'll give you a piece of my mind. Literally.

Right now a small portion of my mind is escaping the confines of its calcium phosphate prison, fleeing down my spine and into my arms where the neurochemical impulses are translated into mechanical energy by my muscles. My fingers go tappity-tappity on the keyboard and the mechanical energy of my muscles is translated into a different form of mechanical energy via the springy motion of the keys. From there the keyboard translates it further into electrical energy in my laptop, the laptop turns it into a WiFi signal, the router turns it back into electricity, a nifty box on the pole outside turns it into laser light flying down a lot of fiber optics. If it's very lucky, this piece of my mind got flung through the vacuum of space and bounced off a couple of ComSats in geosynchronous orbit, some 40,000 km up. In pretty short order, it winds up as magnetism on the platters of the hard drives of TTA's servers. There it lurks, patiently waiting for you to log in and read this post, whereupon some more electronics whiz into action, sending it shrieking into your laptop where it changes the colours on your laptop's screen. Your eyes interpret the colours on your screen back into neurochemical signals and Voila! a piece of my mind is now dwelling in your head.

There are some truly interesting things going on here:

- Yes, this really is a piece of my mind. I can include things known only to me, such as the name of my newest pet plant ("Xi", pronounced "Zee"). I cannot include anything known only to you. Do you even have pet plants? How about pet rocks?

- If you know a bit about how the internet works you'll have some idea about how gruesomely this piece of my mind was just chopped into kibble and packaged as IP packets, many of which were headed different directions, and then reassembled. Twice. At a minimum. It doesn't seem to have caused it much concern.

- You aren't the only person that I just gave a piece of my mind. Everybody else who read this TL;DR rambling now has a little piece of my mind running about inside their skull. And no, you can't get it out with anything short of an inadvisably applied ice pick.

- While I've given you a piece of my mind, it's pretty clear that I have not given you a piece of my brain. That would be icky and more than a little detrimental to my health. Clearly the two are dependant but separate entities. A little quick observation reveals the relationship. The brain and all its neurochemistry is the medium that the information that I laughably call a mind dwells on. Like all information, the mind can jump from one medium to another. The tragic bottleneck is at the interface between the brain and the world outside the skull, which is why you only get a very little piece of my mind. Most of my mind will live and die in the prison of a skull that it was born into, emergent information forever trapped by the horrible whims of its biological medium. Explains a lot about the human condition when you think about it. Damage the medium and you disrupt the information, sometimes permanently. No different from shredding a fax or microwaving an AOL CD. If I shoot you with a tranq dart you are rapidly rendered mindless, your mind hard booting from physical memory in your brain on restart.

(26-10-2017 02:44 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  A hammer is a man-made tool. As such it has a built in teleology. It begins to be a hammer at the moment it becomes capable of doing hammer things. It ceases to be a hammer at the moment it can no longer do hammer things. This has been the standard thinking since the 4th century BC, and I see no reason why it's inadequate.

And yet in all of its travels, this little piece of my mind has not bounced off of a single component requiring any deeper philosophy than your hammer. You'd laugh at the absurdity that a microchip required anything other than its immediately obvious physical characteristics. And rightly so. In all of this little piece of my minds' very strange travels, the only two components that you have any reservations about are my mind/brain and yours.

The difference? We didn't build them. They weren't properly designed, they were evolved, so they're messy and irrational, and we can't crack open the lid and peak inside as easily. Seriously, we're running Global Civilization 2017 on the same wetware we used for Hunter-Gatherer 20,000 BCE without a significant upgrade. People say that the world has problems but I'm amazed it works at all. Our heads should implode from misuse.

There's no great metaphysical mystery involved in the internet that my little piece of mind has now escaped onto. At least not until we develop full-fledged AI (SkyNet for President 2020!).

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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26-10-2017, 11:34 PM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(26-10-2017 11:04 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  There's no great metaphysical mystery involved in the internet that my little piece of mind has now escaped onto. At least not until we develop full-fledged AI (SkyNet for President 2020!).

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26-10-2017, 11:35 PM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(26-10-2017 07:50 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  You should let us know what you find inadequate about our hypotheses.

So far no one has typed a hypothesis. Only assertions.

The consensus on this thread (though not necessarily in the rest of the world) is that electrochemical synaptic events just ARE abstract concepts. To me, a synapse firing is not the same as the concept of justice. They are ontologically different. One is measurable with material means, and the other isn't.

The assertion, so far, such as it is, is that the concept of justice is an emergent property. But that explains nothing at all. The term "emergent property" seems to be a catch-all for things that arise that we can't explain. Even if we could explain the crystalline structure of salt (how salt gets it from two non-crystalline precursors) there is no reason to think that it would tell us anything about the supposedly emergent property of consciousness. They are different things.

But all I've been told so far is "It's just that way!!!"

As usual, people are apparently assuming that I'm some kind of secret agent for Ken Ham, working to smuggle in horrible theist ideas. And as usual, this is wrong. I do not posit a ghost in the machine, or a Cartesian homunculus, though Dennett's theory seems to rest on such an idea. Like Aristotle and Aquinas, I reject the idea of a separate "soul stuff" or any non-bodily faculty.

I don't want to settle for the assertion of a brute fact, and I find people who claim that "emergent property" is a sufficient explanation to be easily pleased and incurious. I insist that "we really have no idea how it happens" is more honest.

Not that I think we're likely to know any time soon.


quote='Thoreauvian' pid='1259916' dateline='1509069012']

What school of consciousness studies do you yourself represent?
[/quote]

Does that sort of thing pay well?
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26-10-2017, 11:40 PM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
Paleophyte,

Your story begins after the interesting part, and ends before the next interesting part.

The Internet is a man-made object built to transmit signals. As far as we know, it has no awareness.

The topic on this thread is the awareness in your mind before you type the e-mail, and the awareness in mind when I read it.

Computers, even long chains of them, have no use if there is not an experiencing conscious subject at the end of the chain.
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26-10-2017, 11:49 PM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
Quote:You aren't the only person that I just gave a piece of my mind. Everybody else who read this TL;DR rambling now has a little piece of my mind running about inside their skull. And no, you can't get it out with anything short of an inadvisably applied ice pick.

AAAARRGGHH GET.OUT.OF.MY.HEAD


*reaches for icepick*

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27-10-2017, 12:16 AM (This post was last modified: 27-10-2017 01:25 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(26-10-2017 07:50 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  You should let us know what you find inadequate about our hypotheses.
So far no one has typed a hypothesis. Only assertions.

The consensus on this thread (though not necessarily in the rest of the world) is that electrochemical synaptic events just ARE abstract concepts. To me, a synapse firing is not the same as the concept of justice. They are ontologically different. One is measurable with material means, and the other isn't.

A distinction without a difference.

This website, the computers it exists on, the networks it travels across, all break down to code, then down to bytes, bits, and eventually a series of binary and transistor switches and electrical impulses.

So tell me, which of those volts of electricity running through your computer's CPU represents the meaning of the words you are reading? If it were expressed in another language you do not understand, would that change it's meaning?


(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  The assertion, so far, such as it is, is that the concept of justice is an emergent property. But that explains nothing at all. The term "emergent property" seems to be a catch-all for things that arise that we can't explain. Even if we could explain the crystalline structure of salt (how salt gets it from two non-crystalline precursors) there is no reason to think that it would tell us anything about the supposedly emergent property of consciousness. They are different things.

It's an incredibly complex system, and we have plenty of examples in nature of complex systems emerging naturally; no supernatural explanation required. We have every reason to think that, given what we know and currently understand, that our conscious experience is an emergent property of the brain. We can alter the firing of the synapses, and alter a person's consciousness; it's how drugs and alcohol work. We know that if we damage a part of it (such as in a severe car accident or from drowning), it can lead to cognitive damage. We know that when the brain dies, so too does the consciousness.

We may not fully understand the process, but we have every reason to believe it is entirely mundane.


(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  But all I've been told so far is "It's just that way!!!"

Indeed, we do not yet have a better explanation with more explanatory power or better evidence to back it.


(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  As usual, people are apparently assuming that I'm some kind of secret agent for Ken Ham, working to smuggle in horrible theist ideas. And as usual, this is wrong. I do not posit a ghost in the machine, or a Cartesian homunculus, though Dennett's theory seems to rest on such an idea. Like Aristotle and Aquinas, I reject the idea of a separate "soul stuff" or any non-bodily faculty.

Well, you certainly could have fooled us.


(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  I don't want to settle for the assertion of a brute fact, and I find people who claim that "emergent property" is a sufficient explanation to be easily pleased and incurious. I insist that "we really have no idea how it happens" is more honest.

How much experience do you have with emergent properties?

As a game designer, I rather enjoy them. Even in a game world entirely controlled by programming, and entirely boxed in and controlled virtual environment, it is more than possible for the unexpected to occur (and this is just within a game).

Take Deus Ex, the grand-daddy of the immersive sim genre. The game released almost two decades ago, back in 2000, so game engines and technology were quite limited in scope. The game takes place in first person, as you navigate your way through a cyberpunk-noir dystopian future to unravel a global conspiracy. You have many tools at your disposal for interacting with the world, from a variety of weapons, cybernetic abilities, and an array of gadgets. Objective are open ended, allowing for many different paths to completion; including combat, stealth, and diplomacy. The game gives you a vast toolkit, and leaves it up to the player to decide how best to tackle the problems before them.

Now this design was ambitions for the time, and still is; few develops dabble in the genre. They had to built the levels to account for these different tools and tactics, many of which the developers envisioned themselves. However, quite a few of them they never planned on. One of the gadgets in the player's toolkit is a proximity mine. Take the mine, stick it against a wall, and it triggers whenever a hostile gets within range. So this object in game has a number of properties within the game's programming and a set of behaviors. The object has a mass (it will drop to the ground), collision detection (so it can interact with other object, like being shot with a bullet), and texture map (dictating it's visual representation in game). It also has a set of behaviors, including faction detection (to detonate whenever a hostile gets within range), the ability to be stuck onto level geometry (so the mine holds it's place in the world).

Now the layman expectation is to use the proximity mine as just that, a defensive trap. Place one to cover your back, because you can only be looking so many places at once. But two of the mine's designed properties allowed for the emergence of another, one exploited by crafty player who thought outside of the game's design. Since each mine could be stuck just about anywhere in the world, and each had collision detection, it is actually possible to place one on a wall and then stand on it yourself. Given the how the game engine handled collision detection of the player, there is just enough lip to the size of the mine's hit box to allow it to support the player. That means that an enterprising player with 2~3 proximity mines had in effect, a portable ladder. This allowed for sequence breaking, allowing the player to get to locations they otherwise could not and in an order of events the game's designers never accounted for. Being used as a ladder to break a game's flow is an emergent property of giving those mines the properties they had, how they interacted with the player in the game world, and a player creative enough to think outside the box.

Emergent properties are not an alien concept to me. With a complex enough system with overlapping and interacting rules, plenty of thing you do not expect are more than possible; and there are few systems more complex than the neurochemical mix and synapse firing of the human brain.


(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  Not that I think we're likely to know any time soon.

We have a fairly good idea, and no evidence to suggest otherwise.


(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(26-10-2017 07:50 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  What school of consciousness studies do you yourself represent?
Does that sort of thing pay well?

So none of them then?

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27-10-2017, 12:54 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  I don't want to settle for the assertion of a brute fact

You keep going on about 'the assertion of brute fact' yet if you knew anything about the scientific method then you'd know that the papers are not published without the evidence to back up what they state.

This isn't philosophy you know.

What do you even mean by 'assertion of brute fact' ? If it's known to be a fact then we have evidence for it. So what exactly is wrong with that?


(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  The consensus on this thread (though not necessarily in the rest of the world) is that electrochemical synaptic events just ARE abstract concepts.

No one has said that.


(26-10-2017 11:35 PM)Belaqua Wrote:  ... and I find people who claim that "emergent property" is a sufficient explanation to be easily pleased and incurious. I insist that "we really have no idea how it happens" is more honest.

Only because you don't actually know what an emergent property is and how prevalent they are in nature. They are well studied and very interesting phenomena. They are not some scientific equivalent of the god of the gaps to insert magical explanations.

You are showing your scientific illiteracy.
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27-10-2017, 01:22 AM
RE: [split] When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(27-10-2017 12:54 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  What do you even mean by 'assertion of brute fact' ? If it's known to be a fact then we have evidence for it. So what exactly is wrong with that?

He seems to be allergic to evidence, so that could be it. Consider

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