From: Keith Henson (email@example.com)
Date: Sat 07 Feb 2004 - 01:42:38 GMT
At 11:21 AM 06/02/04 -0800, Ted wrote:
> > From: Keith Henson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > > > But unless you are going to argue for disembodied
> > > > spirits, minds are utterly dependent on brains.
> > >
> > >Take a look at what you're saying here. You've got mind, and you've got
> > >brain. That makes two, right?
> > Talk about apples and oranges. No. You certainly would not say that
> > a computer and the OS running on the computer.
>Sure you would. The OS is one thing, and the hardware is a second thing,
>the first thing being dependent on the second.
Usually a statement "That makes two . . ." means you see two motor
cycles. You could also refer to windows and linux as two operating
systems. But one hunk of hardware and one OS . . . one of them isn't even
> > > > The situation is identical
> > > > to the OS of a computer. It absolutely has to be running on hardware
> > > > you to interact with it.
> > >
> > >If we're going to talk in metaphors, a more accurate one would be a coin.
> > >That we distinguish "heads" from "tails" doesn't mean we've got two
> > >It's one coin viewed from two angles.
> > This makes no sense as a metaphor. Different levels. Minds are at a
> > different level from brains.
>In other words, minds are different from brains.
No argument there, they are differed classes.
> > Would it help you understand my viewpoint if
> > I say the underlying hardware could be changed to a silicon simulation of
> > the brain circuits and you could still interact with the same mind? We
> > can't do this with human minds yet,
>Sure we can. We're doing it right now. There's a continual turnover of
>components in the brain. One protein dissolves and is replaced by another.
>The brain keeps getting replaced, all the way down to the atomic level, yet
>we're still here. That's because the point of an organic system is the
>whole not the parts, the mind not the matter.
You can't run a human mind on silicon hardware . . . yet.
> > >The important
> > >thing is not what's in the brain but what we find when we "flip it over"
> > >view it, from within, as mind. While every brain shows something
> > >every mind reveals the same meme. Unfortunately, there's no objective
> > >of viewing a mind.
> > That's like saying there is no way to objectively view an OS, something
> > that is done every day.
>Which might suggest that an OS isn't the same as a mind.
> > Minds are also judged objectively for being sane
> > by medical people and judges and for being smart, deluded and any number
> > other characteristics.
>While psychiatry is about as exact a science of mental illness as you'll
You must not be keeping up even casually with this area. MRI and PET scans
can distinguish some kinds of mental illness now.
>there's always an element of subjectivity.
> > You apply statistics and other ways to measure signals in noise. If the
> > results are still subjective and imprecise, then you are not dealing with
> > science.
>And this goes for the human sciences as well, but the underlying phenomena
>represented by the statistics is inherently subjective.
Could you give an example here? I can think of many counter examples.
> > Reading Gazzaniga and Sacks on various
> > brain injuries and experiments will give you an idea of what actually goes
> > on.
>I'm familiar with Sacks, though I find Ramachandran more intriguing.
>Fascinating stuff, none of which disproves the existence of a unitary whole
>that brain activity is geared to maintain.
In (I think) _The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat_ there is a discussion
of a woman who had a stroke. The mental module that keeps a person
oriented as to where they are was malfunctioning in her. She was totally
convinced that she was at home. As a demonstration of the same effect
Gazzaniga demonstrated on a split brain patient, she was asked about this
bank of elevators in her line of sight. She confabulated something to the
effect that it had cost a fortune to have them installed in her home.
Point being that we are far less of a whole than you might think.
> > > > I am a hard line materialist.
> > >
> > >And yet you're an evolutionist, both natural and cultural. Consider the
> > >following passage from Alfred North Whitehead:
> > >The doctrine cries aloud for a conception of organism as fundamental for
> > >nature." (*Science and the Modern World,* ch. 6).
> > Just because an author is famous does not prevent him from being seriously
> > confused, wrong or just FOS.
> > >It's not matter that evolves but form.
> > That's true.
>Which is exactly what Mr. FOS was saying.
The last sentence is what I was pointing out, though the whole paragraph is
poorly written. Dawkins and Hamilton made the case that evolution does not
make sense unless you account for gene based inclusive fitness.
> > In more detail, it is the information contained in the
> > form.
>Again, you're needlessly complexifying the issue. Information *is* form,
>specifically form that's nonrandom in a given context.
> > >Instead of reducing form to matter,
> > >as in the case of machines, we must recognize that living matter is
> > >subservient to its form.
> > I can't buy that there is any fundamental difference between machines and
> > "living matter." If you take a fine enough look at living things, they
> > *are* molecular machines.
>If you take a fine look at living things, you find total disorder, utter
Where you see randomness, I see DNA duplication machinery that makes one
error in 10 exp 12 operations.
>Just like a gas cloud. According to Boltzmann, the physicist
>who provided the first account of molecular randomness over a century ago,
>whatever order we do find in a gas is exactly what we'd expect to find given
>that some nonrandomness is bound to randomly arise.
>Any causal chain we're able to trace out in an organism ultimately yields to
>disorder. There are no long-distance causal chains connecting genes to
>organ-level structures. You get into a cell, and you find a few rafts of
>causal coherence on an ocean of randomness. The difference between a
>machine and a living system is that a machine is founded on molecular
>stability while a life-form maintains order at the highest levels despite
>total disorder at the lowest levels. Of course, organisms contain all kinds
>of machine-like elements. But these function within the context of holistic
>organization. In machines, form follows matter. In organisms, matter
I don't see the distinction. Perhaps it is because I have been aware of
general purpose programable utility fog (a future nanotechnology
"substance") for several years.
> > >What the matter of your body does is to maintain
> > >its form.
> > You need to expand on this.
>The first structure to emerge in an embryo is a general body plan, followed
>by a rough outline of large-scale structures like circulatory and organ
And *why* does this occur?
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