Power corrupts. Here is how.

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Metacrock » Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:01 am

When we produce those same kind of flaws in the reductionist view point, QT, you don't take them seroiusly. when you say "we have electromagentic transmissions between brain and mind" you expect that to be taken as real proof.

But the fact is there are problems of binding and other issues that block the reductionist view of brain and no mind or brain and reducing consciousness to epiphenomena but you don't let the inability of reductionist to solve those problems disaude you from that model.

they should. top causation is a deal breaker for reductionism.
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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by QuantumTroll » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:08 am

Metacrock wrote:When we produce those same kind of flaws in the reductionist view point, QT, you don't take them seroiusly. when you say "we have electromagentic transmissions between brain and mind" you expect that to be taken as real proof.

But the fact is there are problems of binding and other issues that block the reductionist view of brain and no mind or brain and reducing consciousness to epiphenomena but you don't let the inability of reductionist to solve those problems disaude you from that model.

they should. top causation is a deal breaker for reductionism.
... but reductionism isn't the only viewpoint an atheist can adopt. Remember all the stuff I've said about bird flocks, where the flock (at the top) causes individual birds (at the bottom) to fly in a particular direction or land in a particular tree? Or ant colonies, where the colony displays knowledge and decision-making that isn't caused by any particular individual ant? Or about human society, where a group of people can have a will of its own that doesn't at all correspond to anyone's desire, and the group "mind" causes individuals to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn't. Top-down causation is only a deal-breaker for your strawman reductionist, which is someone I don't agree with.

Quantumtroll wrote: Let's think about how we could detect whether the brain is: (1) the "cause" of the mind or (2) the "delivery system".

First, let's define the terms a little more clearly.
By (1), I mean that a mind is the result of neural and chemical activity in the brain. Thinking, feeling, and experiencing are performed when neurons and other braincells transmit electrical pulses and various chemicals.
By (2), I mean that the mind resides somewhere else. Thinking, feeling, and (especially) experiencing are performed elsewhere, by some unknown action, and the brain acts as an interface between the human body and the mind. The brain transmits sense data from the body to the mind, and receives and routs responses from the mind to the body.
Metacrock wrote: why does it have to reside anywhere? You make it sound like a spleen. It's a construct, it's like the internet. The stuff on the next isn't anywhere. It's some wired thing called "cyrbre space" but there's no there there.
The internet is stored on real objects called "hard disk drives" on "server computers" located on "server farms" in real locations on planet Earth. Your analogy makes my point, not yours. There's a connection between your computer and the Internet.

If the brain is a delivery system (as you said might be the case), then the mind is elsewhere by definition (because delivery systems deliver things to places from other places).
QT wrote:If we want to tell the difference, we must devise an experiment where (1) and (2) yield different results. There are probably many possible experiments, and we (being biased) are likely to look for experiments proving our prejudiced opinion and disproving the opposite opinion. So I invite you to do so.
Metacrock wrote: No we don't. we know mind exists just by being. we don't need to prove it, we don't need an experiment. you are just giving into the spirit of the age. the Zeitgeist the only existence is that which can be reduced to what we can control." that's just ideology. its' not a fact it's not proved it just a bleeding dogma.
But I'm not asking you to prove that the mind exists! Where are you getting this?
QT wrote:One of my strongest reservations against (2) is that we don't know how to detect any transmissions between brain and mind. It's not an electromagnetic transmission, or else people would fall unconscious when put in a Faraday cage (this is an experiment disproving (2)). We don't seem to have any special structures in our brains for doing strange extradimensional things or anything else that's different from any other animal (lack of mechanism for (2)).
Metacrock wrote: that's just assuming something not in evidence, the mechanistic model of animal life. that's just circular reasoning because that's transplanting the same problem of ourselves to animals and acting we solved it for them when we have not. We don't know that animals are little machines.

if we can't detect it, it can't exist. there's no two ways about it, if we can't control it's not part of reality. the only things that can ever be real are things we control. Since mind is not a physical organ like the spleen you don't have transmissions going to it. There is no reason why it should be detected.

I have this qualia in front of my face, tis' there weather I like it or not. the theater in which i behold it is there weather I like it or not.; that is what I call mind it has to be there a priori. I don't have to control for it to exist, it does. I can see it. I experience it every moment.
I'm not calling qualia into question either. Neither am I stating that nothing exists that we can't detect, I'm just working with the assumption that the brain is a physical object and has something to do with the mind. We can detect physical objects like the brain, can't we? If a physical object is the delivery system of something, then there's something physical going on that we might be able to detect.
QT wrote:Another reason to believe (1) is the old nut where changes in brain structure and brain chemistry causes profound changes in personality. It is easy to see how a mind can be changed when the brain is changed if (1) is true. If (2) is true, then it's more difficult. You add antidepressants to a brain, and the mind stops being so very sad. Maybe the antidepressants cause the brain to send happier sense data to the mind, so the mind has less to feel sad about? This explanation is... not very satisfying to me, and similarly odd explanations are required for every change. The man whose tumor caused pedophilia, for example, is very hard to explain if (2) is true. To me, these questions constitute experiments that reasonably disprove (2).
Metacrock wrote: you still have not bridged the epistemological gap. there' an epistemological reason why that argument can't work. I told you it several times you have not traversed it.

It's access. If we access a certain thing and the route through we access it can become blacked it can be mistaken for cause. we can assume it's causal when it really just access.

say you have "niceness" in your head. say Niceness is like water. It's a physical thing that comes out when you talk. then you get the access pipe that carried the niceness blocked so you can't access your niceness. then you are not nice anymore. so people say "I see that pipe cause you to be nice." But it doesn't really it just let's the niceness out.
So that tumor didn't change the man's mind, it just enlarged the pedophilia pipe. You may think that you have an epistemological argument against my point of view (I disagree, because you don't understand my point of view [see my response to your reductionism strawman above]), but you have a bit of a gap yourself.

Here's another experiment, now involving qualia. So we're dealing with the mind directly now. You watch a sad movie. Depending on the scene, you feel sad or neutral. This feeling is in your mind, and arises from what you see and hear. Now you take a pill, and watch the movie again, and depending on the scene you feel neutral or happy. The neutral scenes now make you happy, and the sad scenes don't depress you any more. Your mind is still receiving the exact same sights and sounds as before. What did the pill do?

(1) the pill made it easier for your brain to produce happy chemicals and defend your mind from sadness.
(2) the pill...?

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Metacrock » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:50 am

I will have to get back to you on this. I can't cover it now. I will though. by the end of the day.

but on the tumor thing. that's not proof of determinism. It's special situation where the normal workings of the guy's mind are screwed up.
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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Metacrock » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:35 am

QuantumTroll wrote:
Metacrock wrote:When we produce those same kind of flaws in the reductionist view point, QT, you don't take them seroiusly. when you say "we have electromagentic transmissions between brain and mind" you expect that to be taken as real proof.

But the fact is there are problems of binding and other issues that block the reductionist view of brain and no mind or brain and reducing consciousness to epiphenomena but you don't let the inability of reductionist to solve those problems disaude you from that model.

they should. top causation is a deal breaker for reductionism.
... but reductionism isn't the only viewpoint an atheist can adopt. Remember all the stuff I've said about bird flocks, where the flock (at the top) causes individual birds (at the bottom) to fly in a particular direction or land in a particular tree? Or ant colonies, where the colony displays knowledge and decision-making that isn't caused by any particular individual ant? Or about human society, where a group of people can have a will of its own that doesn't at all correspond to anyone's desire, and the group "mind" causes individuals to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn't. Top-down causation is only a deal-breaker for your strawman reductionist, which is someone I don't agree with.

Quantumtroll wrote: Let's think about how we could detect whether the brain is: (1) the "cause" of the mind or (2) the "delivery system".

First, let's define the terms a little more clearly.
By (1), I mean that a mind is the result of neural and chemical activity in the brain. Thinking, feeling, and experiencing are performed when neurons and other braincells transmit electrical pulses and various chemicals.
By (2), I mean that the mind resides somewhere else. Thinking, feeling, and (especially) experiencing are performed elsewhere, by some unknown action, and the brain acts as an interface between the human body and the mind. The brain transmits sense data from the body to the mind, and receives and routs responses from the mind to the body.
Metacrock wrote: why does it have to reside anywhere? You make it sound like a spleen. It's a construct, it's like the internet. The stuff on the next isn't anywhere. It's some wired thing called "cyrbre space" but there's no there there.
The internet is stored on real objects called "hard disk drives" on "server computers" located on "server farms" in real locations on planet Earth. Your analogy makes my point, not yours. There's a connection between your computer and the Internet.
not analogous. The actual content, the stuff you see, isn't anywhere. so the stuff that is somewhere is analogous to the brain the stuff that isn't anywhere to the mind.


If the brain is a delivery system (as you said might be the case), then the mind is elsewhere by definition (because delivery systems deliver things to places from other places).
that doesn't mean it has to be a definite location like the spleen.


QT wrote:If we want to tell the difference, we must devise an experiment where (1) and (2) yield different results. There are probably many possible experiments, and we (being biased) are likely to look for experiments proving our prejudiced opinion and disproving the opposite opinion. So I invite you to do so.
Metacrock wrote: No we don't. we know mind exists just by being. we don't need to prove it, we don't need an experiment. you are just giving into the spirit of the age. the Zeitgeist the only existence is that which can be reduced to what we can control." that's just ideology. its' not a fact it's not proved it just a bleeding dogma.
But I'm not asking you to prove that the mind exists! Where are you getting this?
obviously becuase the next thing you say after this is that you have reservations against "it" and It was the mind. You are arguing that there's no way to prove the mind since we don't get impressions of electromagnetic data from the mind, so silly me I thought that meant you are against the belief in mind.
QT wrote:One of my strongest reservations against (2) is that we don't know how to detect any transmissions between brain and mind. It's not an electromagnetic transmission, or else people would fall unconscious when put in a Faraday cage (this is an experiment disproving (2)). We don't seem to have any special structures in our brains for doing strange extradimensional things or anything else that's different from any other animal (lack of mechanism for (2)).
Metacrock wrote: that's just assuming something not in evidence, the mechanistic model of animal life. that's just circular reasoning because that's transplanting the same problem of ourselves to animals and acting we solved it for them when we have not. We don't know that animals are little machines.

if we can't detect it, it can't exist. there's no two ways about it, if we can't control it's not part of reality. the only things that can ever be real are things we control. Since mind is not a physical organ like the spleen you don't have transmissions going to it. There is no reason why it should be detected.

I have this qualia in front of my face, tis' there weather I like it or not. the theater in which i behold it is there weather I like it or not.; that is what I call mind it has to be there a priori. I don't have to control for it to exist, it does. I can see it. I experience it every moment.
QT: I'm not calling qualia into question either. Neither am I stating that nothing exists that we can't detect, I'm just working with the assumption that the brain is a physical object and has something to do with the mind. We can detect physical objects like the brain, can't we? If a physical object is the delivery system of something, then there's something physical going on that we might be able to detect.
I didn't say you are questioning qualia. I said it has to be accounted for.

QT wrote:Another reason to believe (1) is the old nut where changes in brain structure and brain chemistry causes profound changes in personality. It is easy to see how a mind can be changed when the brain is changed if (1) is true. If (2) is true, then it's more difficult. You add antidepressants to a brain, and the mind stops being so very sad. Maybe the antidepressants cause the brain to send happier sense data to the mind, so the mind has less to feel sad about? This explanation is... not very satisfying to me, and similarly odd explanations are required for every change. The man whose tumor caused pedophilia, for example, is very hard to explain if (2) is true. To me, these questions constitute experiments that reasonably disprove (2).
That's not proof of determinism. It's only proof that screwing up the brain will cause changes.
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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Metacrock » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:40 am

QT: Here's another experiment, now involving qualia. So we're dealing with the mind directly now. You watch a sad movie. Depending on the scene, you feel sad or neutral. This feeling is in your mind, and arises from what you see and hear. Now you take a pill, and watch the movie again, and depending on the scene you feel neutral or happy. The neutral scenes now make you happy, and the sad scenes don't depress you any more. Your mind is still receiving the exact same sights and sounds as before. What did the pill do?

(1) the pill made it easier for your brain to produce happy chemicals and defend your mind from sadness.
(2) the pill...?

gee it's like you have never heard of compatibalism. The fact that some things can alter the brain si not proof that are basic desires are determined for us other outside forces.

you have not answer epistemological problems. you can't get outside your perceptions to check what they are.
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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Jim B. » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:05 pm

QuantumTroll wrote: ... but reductionism isn't the only viewpoint an atheist can adopt. Remember all the stuff I've said about bird flocks, where the flock (at the top) causes individual birds (at the bottom) to fly in a particular direction or land in a particular tree? Or ant colonies, where the colony displays knowledge and decision-making that isn't caused by any particular individual ant? Or about human society, where a group of people can have a will of its own that doesn't at all correspond to anyone's desire, and the group "mind" causes individuals to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn't. Top-down causation is only a deal-breaker for your strawman reductionist, which is someone I don't agree with.
Hi Meta and QT. This is an interesting conversation. QT, I take it that you're saying that there is "top down" causation as in your examples of bird flocks and ant colonies. I agree with that, if that's what you're saying, but that's a pretty unorthodox position among scientists who largely accept the causal closure of the micro-physical. And if 'emergent properties' such as the 'flock mind' can have real causal power, then it's plausible that the individual human mind is an emergent property with real causal power as well, so that the mind and phenomenal states would not be identical to the brain, and the mind could conceivably have real agency in a similar way that bird flocks do. I'm late to this thread, however, and could be misreading what you're saying.

Quantumtroll wrote: Let's think about how we could detect whether the brain is: (1) the "cause" of the mind or (2) the "delivery system".

First, let's define the terms a little more clearly.
By (1), I mean that a mind is the result of neural and chemical activity in the brain. Thinking, feeling, and experiencing are performed when neurons and other braincells transmit electrical pulses and various chemicals.
By (2), I mean that the mind resides somewhere else. Thinking, feeling, and (especially) experiencing are performed elsewhere, by some unknown action, and the brain acts as an interface between the human body and the mind. The brain transmits sense data from the body to the mind, and receives and routs responses from the mind to the body.
Metacrock wrote: why does it have to reside anywhere? You make it sound like a spleen. It's a construct, it's like the internet. The stuff on the next isn't anywhere. It's some wired thing called "cyrbre space" but there's no there there.

If the brain is a delivery system (as you said might be the case), then the mind is elsewhere by definition (because delivery systems deliver things to places from other places).
I think the term "delivery system" may be confusing things, suggesting that the brain is delivering the mind as a tv set delivers television signals from some other place. Maybe "realizer" would be less confusing. I think Meta is saying that there's a conceptual distinction, not a physical distinction, between the mind (including subjective experiences), and physical states in the brain and body. It's a distinction between what is explainable in physical terms and what is not, not between "brain stuff" and "mind stuff."

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Metacrock » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:13 am

Hey Jim welcome to the boards. It's great to see you here. :mrgreen:
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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by QuantumTroll » Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:50 am

Hi Jim, nice to see a new... username :)
Jim B. wrote:
Hi Meta and QT. This is an interesting conversation. QT, I take it that you're saying that there is "top down" causation as in your examples of bird flocks and ant colonies. I agree with that, if that's what you're saying, but that's a pretty unorthodox position among scientists who largely accept the causal closure of the micro-physical. And if 'emergent properties' such as the 'flock mind' can have real causal power, then it's plausible that the individual human mind is an emergent property with real causal power as well, so that the mind and phenomenal states would not be identical to the brain, and the mind could conceivably have real agency in a similar way that bird flocks do. I'm late to this thread, however, and could be misreading what you're saying.
I think you've got it exactly right.

The only thing I would disagree with here is the notion that this is an unorthodox position among scientists. Perhaps it used to be, but a lot has happened in this area in the last 30 or so years. I work with scientific computing at a university, but the prevailing view in the field of complex dynamical systems is that emergent behaviors are real phenomena that must be studied "macroscopically" because they disappear when the system's component parts are isolated. Actually, the Wikipedia page on emergence contains a good discussion on the topic.
I think the term "delivery system" may be confusing things, suggesting that the brain is delivering the mind as a tv set delivers television signals from some other place. Maybe "realizer" would be less confusing. I think Meta is saying that there's a conceptual distinction, not a physical distinction, between the mind (including subjective experiences), and physical states in the brain and body. It's a distinction between what is explainable in physical terms and what is not, not between "brain stuff" and "mind stuff."
I think that Metacrock doesn't actually have a clear idea of the distinction between "brain stuff" and "mind stuff". The idea that it's the brain that actually performs the acts of thinking and feeling is difficult to reconcile with the belief that there's some transcendent projection surface that experiences everything.I think that Metacrock is bothered by my refusal to accept that God (or at least a transcendent aspect of existence) is necessary for the conscious experience, and I think that his belief prompts him to reject the things I'm saying about the functioning of the mind even when it has nothing to do with conscious experience.

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by QuantumTroll » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:06 am

Metacrock, a few things.

The actual content of the Internet is located in actual places.
Metacrock wrote:
QT wrote: But I'm not asking you to prove that the mind exists! Where are you getting this?
obviously becuase the next thing you say after this is that you have reservations against "it" and It was the mind. You are arguing that there's no way to prove the mind since we don't get impressions of electromagnetic data from the mind, so silly me I thought that meant you are against the belief in mind.
This is what I wrote: "One of my strongest reservations against (2) is [...]" and "By (2), I mean that the mind resides somewhere else [...]."
In both premise (1) and (2), I said that "a mind" or "the mind resides", which clearly means I don't have any reservation against the mind itself. I am not arguing what you said here. I'm arguing that the brain is not just a connection or interface to the mind, but the actual source of the mind.

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Re: Power corrupts. Here is how.

Post by Metacrock » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:17 am

I think that Metacrock doesn't actually have a clear idea of the distinction between "brain stuff" and "mind stuff".
probably true, I don't know that anyone does.


The idea that it's the brain that actually performs the acts of thinking and feeling is difficult to reconcile with the belief that there's some transcendent projection surface that experiences everything.
that's not my view, I never said that. I guess the tv set model would be closer, that we tuning on the mind by the receiver of the brain. Although even that is probably inadequate.


I think that Metacrock is bothered by my refusal to accept that God (or at least a transcendent aspect of existence) is necessary for the conscious experience,
that's not even my view. I think we can "see" God in consciousness but that doesn't mean that God is necessary to being conscious. I think without God there's no real reason why we are conscious but that doesn't mean that without God we could not be conscious.

and I think that his belief prompts him to reject the things I'm saying about the functioning of the mind even when it has nothing to do with conscious experience.
I don't think I'm doing that but I guess it seems like I always disagree with you. Sorry about that.


then in your response to me directly you said:

I'm arguing that the brain is not just a connection or interface to the mind, but the actual source of the mind.
For me that's still an open question. It's also an epistemological question. I don't it would be abhorrent if that were the case. If brain was more like the battery to the flashlight then the receiver to the tv signal I would not say "O all is lost my world view is destroyed." Even if that were the case I would still not assume that one is reducible to the other. There's still a difference in the battery and the light produced by the bulb even though it's powered by the battery.
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