Re: ality

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 19:09:21 GMT

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    Subject: Re: ality
    Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 14:09:21 -0500
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    >From: "Dace" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Re: ality
    >Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2002 10:24:23 -0800
    > > >It's far worse than you realize. Neuronal connections are in constant
    > > >flux. The brain is incapable of statically storing data. Yes, this
    > > >indeed explain why the brain can't seem to get our memories straight.
    > > >But if it's utterly unlike a computer, why continue assuming it stores
    > > >
    > > >If the brain is built to store data, it ought to do it well. After
    >all, we
    > > >humans took only a few decades to build a device that does it extremely
    > > >well. When you start coming up with reasons why it wouldn't do a very
    > > >good job of it, you're undermining your position. You're making my
    > > >argument for me. Of course the brain would do a lousy job of storing
    > > >information. That's not what it's built for.
    > >
    > > Once again the same problem. An oversimplified assertion that to does
    > > nothing to prove your point.
    >Once again the same problem. Generic insults like "oversimplified
    >assertion" do nothing to prove your point. They're a symptom of
    >insecurity. You're afraid some of the people on this list might not be as
    >smart as you and might require help in arriving at the "correct"
    > > 'If the brain is built to store data it ought to do it well.' It does
    >do it well.
    >What makes you think it does it at all? How do you know it's not the
    >that recalls-- not by storing data but by *remembering*?
    > > It does it well enough to assist in survival of the organism.
    >The only thing we know with certainty about the brain is that it routes
    >incoming (afferent) signals to outgoing (efferent) signals. Apparently, it
    >does this job effectively enough that we survive. That's science, Ray.
    >else is speculation.
    > > By your logic hearts would not actually pump blood because
    > > people have heart attacks.
    >The point is that the mind, not the brain, imperfectly recalls the past, as
    >we would expect, since the past isn't around anymore and therefore has to
    >be reconstructed. On the other hand, if memory were a computer-like
    >storage device, it should function with roughly the same degree of accuracy
    >found in computers themselves. The fact that the brain demonstrates no
    >particular propensity for being an information storage device doesn't
    >exactly help your position. We examine brains and think we see computers.
    >It's not just irrational. It's *systematically* irrational, i.e. insane.
    >Collective hallucination. Cult, not culture.
    > > > > I don't think I misstated your hypothesis here. You go back in time
    > > > > your mind. So how do people make mistakes? However you feel like
    > > > > phrasing it just answer the question. Where do the mistakes come
    > > > > from?
    > > >
    > > >Already answered. Consult the top of the post.
    > >
    > > No you haven't answered anything.
    >The past is intangible. It's got no material substance. Doesn't take up
    >any space. And even if it did, there's no light to bounce off it. The
    >is dark. What we remember is the form of the event, not its appearance.
    >Memory requires (imaginary) sets and lighting. Naturally it's not going to
    >display computer-like accuracy.
    > > > > >Memory is the recollection of the past. That's what it has always
    > > > > >meant. To remember something is to bring the past back, not
    > > > > >materially but mentally. When you have to look up information on a
    > > > > >past event, then clearly you're not remembering it. This applies
    > > > > >whether you look it up in a book or your brain. Either way, it's
    > > > > >data, not memory.
    > > > >
    > > > > Once again this is your definition. You have no difference here
    > > > > than your reliance on the mind looking up memories in time.
    > > >
    > > >This is a bizarre reformulation of the traditional, *universal*
    > > >of memory. The mind doesn't look up memories in a static, data storage
    > > >system called "time." To remember is to restore the past into present
    > > >consciousness. There's no informational intermediary.
    > >
    > > You don't have a 'traditional' definition. You have mental time travel.
    >That would be the sci-fi definition of memory. The mind doesn't have to
    >travel back in time, as the body would if it were to revisit old events.
    >the past remains present, despite no longer being spatio-materialized.
    >Time is absolute and singular. There's no succession of discrete
    >"moments." There's one moment, and the moment remains present. Time is
    >fluid. There's no boundary to set off existence (present) from oblivion
    >(past). There's no demarcation-- look all you want. The present bleeds
    >into past. The true present embraces all of time-- what is "past" up to
    >and including the material present. The brain is the material present of
    >the mind. The mind traverses time just as the brain traverses space. The
    >mind perceives the past as easily as the eye/brain perceives light.
    > > And you don't have any mechanism that you can connect to the
    > > brain. You simply have no explanation for how neurons do this.
    >That we can view a coin from opposite perspectives doesn't mean "heads"
    >and "tails" are separate objects. No need for any connections. The mind
    >no more reducible to the brain than vice versa, any more than tails might
    >reducible to heads or the other way round.
    > > > > It's circular logic. Since memories are caused by the mind looking
    > > > > backward in time they are not the same as data. Since the mind has
    > > > > mind has memories it must be able to look backward in time.
    > > >
    > > >If the mind has memories, then it re-presents past experiences.
    > > >According to the mechanistic theory, the mind has no genuine
    > > >memories, only data, which are carelessly referred to as "memories."
    > > >It's an Orwellian shift in language, preventing even the possibility of
    > > >understanding since the word we traditionally used for it has been
    > > >redefined into something else.
    > >
    > > The way traditional science works is that we observe the world and come
    > > with up definitions that match what is being observed. Not the other
    > > around.
    >I smell cant.
    What animosity do you harbor for the brain? Why do you diminish such a
    beautiful (if not perfect in the absolutist sense) organ in such a way.
    What's wrong with identifying the mind as function and/or epiphenomenon with
    the brain? At least the brain is tangible and concrete, not an abstraction
    fraught with diffuculties. The concept of mind is possibly disposible.
    Dispose of the brain and you wind up with *geist*, polter- or otherwise.

    I recently watched a movie called _Momento_ where this guy had some serious
    memory problem. I'd imagine this problem had a physical basis. Don't various
    amnesias have a physical basis, due to some insult to brain tissue? Don't
    various substances exert an influence on memory? IIRC Korsakoff's syndrome
    has something to do with long-term alcohol consumption or at least involves
    a particular region of the brain.

    Actually my old neuropsych class text _Fundamentals of Neuropsychology_ by
    Kolb and Whishaw (1990. WH Freeman and Company, New York, p. 151) says in
    Table 7-3 this of a "probable cause" for Korsakoff's syndrome:

    (bq) "(a)trophy of medial thalamus and mamillary bodies from chronic
    excessive alcohol consumption." (eq)

    _Momento_ was a cool movie, but not a comical as Dana Carvey's _Clean Slate_
    with that funnylittle dog which had some sort of sight problems.

    Would you deny that eyes are responsible for sight? Would you deny that the
    various components of the hearing apparatus (including external ear flaps
    and also parts evolutionarily co-opted from the "reptilian" jaw) are
    responsible for hearing? Rush Limbaugh recently had a problem (IIRC related
    to an auto-immune disease) with his hearing which may improve with new
    medical technology. If eyes are responsible for sight and the ear apparatus
    responsible for hearing, why would you deny the responsibility of the brain
    for "mind" and memory?

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