Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
If you take a materialistic view it doesn't seem unlikely that behaviours like evicting nest-mates could be wired in during the growth process

Could you expand on that?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 07:46:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We - and cuckoos - manifest behaviours because our brains and body take in information from the environment, react to it and output results that change the environment. Quite complex behaviours can result from that process. Brains, even new-born, aren't helpless boxes of goo, especially in the creatures with less complicated ones than humans. Their structure is determined during development by an interplay of the decoding and transcription process of DNA with the foetal environment. You're talking about a very very complicated program that self-modifies and where different bits mean different things at different times and in different contexts. It seems that for a newly hatched cuckoo, the resulting brain contains structures that react to the input pattern "small and fuzzy" with the output "push out of nest". There is a continuum of instinct and reliance on instinct: insects are pretty much entirely instinct driven while humans are only mostly instinct driven and have much greater variation in their instinctive wiring.

It probably isn't correct to think of DNA as containing instructions - you have to see the DNA in the context of the environment it finds itself in and in the context of the development process. Cuckoo DNA, when it is decoded by the egg cell in the context of a cuckoo egg and an acceptable environment, produces over time a small bird that pushes other small birds out of nests.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would only add that mutated DNA (a natural process without which evolution could not occur) will also mean that some people/animals are born with different protein/hormone/semi-hormone factories that produce different amounts of metaprogamming biochemicals. There are also considerable natural variations between species.

I see these variations as being one potential source for so-called genetic memory.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:55:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends what you mean by "genetic memory"?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 08:56:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean what other people refer to as genetic memory/ archtypes/what you will - ie the idea that behaviour can be passed on down through the generations. I find it hard to accept that this would be possible or probable.

I think a more likely and simpler explanation for such things as imprinting ("just-born duck thinks any moving object is mother, and thus thinks wayward football is parent" type of thing), is that for entirely physiological reasons, the chick is sensitized.

The sensitization could be (and I am only guessing by way of example) a flood of internally generated endorphins combined with some vision/motion phenomenon that is hardwired, not by learning over time, but almost instantly in the way that crack or meth can change behaviour very fast.

The 'flood of endorphins' is not some 'genetic memory', it is simply a function of the system that has been 'described' somwhere in the 800 bible's worth of DNA.

I throw in the bible reference to further confuse the homonculii ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 09:38:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think a more likely and simpler explanation for such things as imprinting ("just-born duck thinks any moving object is mother, and thus thinks wayward football is parent" type of thing), is that for entirely physiological reasons, the chick is sensitized.

This is contentious?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 09:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In ducks - no.

In humans - very much so.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:26:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen once described to me and Barbara a similar phenomenon occurring in Humans but acting not on the newborn baby but on the father. Maybe she can repeat it here.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:29:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think humans don't have instincts?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
react to it

Sven suggests this is an automated process based at its lowest level on amoeba-like attract/repel etc. forces.  Did I undestand that right, sven?  All complexity is built as these small parts aggregate.  This suggests that me typing this and you typing that are to be understood as physically determined processes.

As I understand it, though, the idea of the meta-programmer introduces some extra space between input and output (action-reaction).  A contemplative area where choices can be made.  The speiciesists among us (not you) see a division between us humans and every other living thing.

I think any drawing of this line is impossible (levels, degrees etc.)

So...contemplation and choice.  I know that's an unfinished thought.

Their structure is determined during development by an interplay of the decoding and transcription process of DNA with the foetal environment

And an interplay between the foetus and the external world, and all those levels of action-contemplation-reaction...a pure mechanical process has no space for contemplation (chance?)...which (to go back to the subject of the diary) is the element science has to avoid--controlled experiments--trying to nail the moment and see finally everything that is happening, and what is proposed as an alternative view, where Chance is a key and un-removable attribute to the system.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 09:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This suggests that me typing this and you typing that are to be understood as physically determined processes.

Yes, of course.

As I understand it, though, the idea of the meta-programmer introduces some extra space between input and output (action-reaction).
No-one said the processing of input had to be simple or immediate.

When I said "foetal environment" I meant the inclusion of the outside world.

Chance is part of the physical world, so it's constantly an influence.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 09:19:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, of course.

So thoughts are physically determined?  (I mean, if you think you have a choice, then that thought is also phsyically determined etc. ad infinitum back to the...well...whatever was the first step in the physical process...linearity all the way...so "Chance" is another word for "We haven't described--perhaps we can't describe--the whole system, but in it's possible in principle.)

No-one said the processing of input had to be simple or immediate.

It's the processing that is the issue, I think.  Because each process, when examined becomes a simpler process until you have simple input-output.  Or, and careful with the coffee folks--

Our brain is a physical thing.  Thoughts are physical processes.  So how does quantum behaviour translate in the human brain?  And where lieth the necessity there?

(cue a hundred AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!s)

But seriously, either we--our thoughts, our identity, etc--are part of the physical manifestation of the universe and are therefore quantum at heart like all other physical systems, or, well, I feel those edges overlapping...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:10:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let me throw a few things out there, without expanding on their relevance:
Gödel's incompleteness theorems, and the halting problem.

My suggestion for a definition of the soul: Those statements that cannot be proven true or false within the (formal?) system of our thought. Why not? As good as any I have heard.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:35:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one knows if thoughts are physically determined. According to straightforward scientific materialism, they should be. But because no one has ever seen a thought or knows what it looks like, except from the outside, thoughts come dangerously close to suffering from the same philosophical problems that souls do.

And there's also that tiny problem left over from quantum mechanics about whether or not perception changes the workings and outcome of an experiment.

So at this point assuming that thinking is physical is a supposition that can't be proved or disproved.

In metaprogramming terms you're chunking information more or less in behavioural terms, and - as long as you don't get impatient - that's all you need to do. There is no complete functional disassembly of minds, souls, thoughts or even brains to refer to, so it's impossible to state categorically that X, Y or Z are the cause of any inner experience. You can't even do this with drugs. Just because the effects of LSD or ayahuasca are fairly reliable, doesn't mean anyone really knows what they change, or how.  

All you can do is give the black box a prod every now and then, try to learn from what it does, and look at other people's incomplete ideas about how to make changes, and the kinds of changes that can be made.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:36:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So at this point assuming that thinking is physical is a supposition that can't be proved or disproved.

If it's not, what is it? It seems like a good theory until some evidence shows that it can't be.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:59:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I never invoked either linearity or determinism. Is everything determined? Possibly, but the only way of predicting it would be to run the universe to find out what would happen.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:56:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought your agreement to my comment about our communications (typing) being physically determined meant you accepted a determinist model of action, A necessarily follows B.

We - and cuckoos - manifest behaviours because our brains and body take in information from the environment, react to it and output results that change the environment.

I take this to be basic linearity: input (before) output(after and as a result of.)  B follows A in time and is caused (at least partly) by A, and before A was something else all the way back into the mists.

"Chance" means (on this scenario, I think) side hits from other ABC causal (linear) events.

Put the whole lot together and you have chaos, but only because we can't put ourselves in the position to follow each line.

If I have understood the intro. to the I-Ching (me and understand=big IF), the (ancient?) chinese attitude didn't hold to this model.  It didn't follow past to present to future, but rather saw present spreading out in all directions.

I'm assuming that what we have discovered so far of what we call the quantum world does not follow the ABC model of reality.

If our brains are quantum in their centres (inside the inside the inside etc.) then they, too, cease to be simply ABC boxes.

Which is why I would enjoy reading a diary by Migeru on anything quantum-related.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:46:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm assuming that what we have discovered so far of what we call the quantum world does not follow the ABC model of reality.

Did you read this?

What's difficult about Quantum Mechanics is that it is contextual, non-counterfactual and nonlocal.


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:51:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't put it like that: B happens in the context of A. B must be one of the things that are possible given A but I wouldn't suggest there is always only one possible outcome that must directly follow.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:58:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I take "physically determined" to mean "determined by the laws of physics, whatever they are".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 12:00:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our brain is a physical thing.  Thoughts are physical processes.  So how does quantum behaviour translate in the human brain?

Don't know. I don't think anyone has more than a glimmering of that yet.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 10:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have we been reading too much Penrose?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:21:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me? Not guilty, at least not in last decade or so. Did I forget the obligatory "Migeru would know better about that: I'm not even sure quantum effects are very likely at the scale of the brain bit?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:22:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, I know of no evidence for macroscopic quantum effects in consciousness other than Penrose's arguments in The Emperor's New Mind.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:26:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh. Great minds and fools obviously ...

I saw something faintly suggestive somewhere recently that indicated it might possibly be possible for QM to have some influence, but neurons are pretty big things.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:28:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His argument basically boils down to
  • We don't understand consciousness
  • Consciousness is not algorithnic
  • All classical computation is algorithmic
  • Therefore consciousness must be quantum
  • we don't understand the collapse of the wavefunction
  • We don't understand quantum gravity
  • Maybe quantum gravity will explain the collapse of the wavefunction: the collapse happens when the difference between two states amounts to "one graviton"
  • We can estimate the size of a lump of matter creating this "one graviton" difference
  • Is there a component of a Neuron that has this "one graviton" size? Yes! the centrosome!
  • Maybe consciousness is a quantum effect involving centrosomes.
I kid you not.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like that: science of the gaps. Sort of like a god of the gaps but with less impressive robes.

I'll point out, for the general edification of those reading rather than for your benefit, that classical computation considers a very small class of devices that don't seem to be anything like the brain. And we don't really understand the details of those devices anyway.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:41:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right now, I can't remember to what extent Penrose discussed classical chaos in computing devices.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:46:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm trying to think what I read and where: it was talking about phenomena inside neurons that were on a very small scale but influential.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:43:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I'll just make "Migeru would know better about that" my signature. That might work.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:26:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now where is that coming from?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:27:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a pretty good heuristic! Possibly it falls in the badly expressed humour box. -i for me!
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And a sorry.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:32:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It really sounded like "Shut up, Migeru". Maybe I'm too sensitive today?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe I need to adjust my tone.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 11:41:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd misremembered Danger Mouse's companion as Penrose.

T'was in fact Penfold.  Here he is.

You know, I suppose I have broken the golden rule:

"Whereof we cannot speak, we must remain silent."

Really, I wanted to clear my head of some heaviness, the I Ching did the job (as melo said, the sound of something elegant being hit lightly), and I thought it was humorous that the I Ching brought up 20 - "It does not further one to go anywhere," which my brain translated as DO NOTHING, THERE'S NO POINT AT THE MOMENT, but I had a moving fifth line, did I not mention this?

A shoal of fishes. Favor comes through the court ladies.  Everything acts to further

...which I also found humorous...I know I know, it's just rorschach.  Anyway, the moving line created Hexagram 23 which was all about how benevolent rulers should behave.

A slight variation of tonal stress gives the Chinese name for this hexagram a double meaning. It means both contemplating and being seen, in the sense of being an example.

There's a reference to your key point in the judgement.

Thus also in nature a holy seriousness is to be seen in the fact that natural occurrences are uniformly subject to law.

And I'm hoping that reading a bunch of non-science types bandy words about wildly hasn't made you despair.

Regarding Jerome, for yes I read him (as head of ET) straight into Hexagram 20, "Contemplation / View"...

The ablution has been made,
But not yet the offering.
Full of trust they look up to him.

I thought this was humorous as I thought it (rorschach rorschach!) summed up the current attitude in re: (yes, you guessed) the structure of ET as it stands.  But I was doing this in real time, so then I read.

All of this points to the power possessed by a superior personality. On the one hand, such a man will have a view of the real sentiments of the great mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived; on the other, he will impress the people so profoundly, by his mere existence and by the impact of his personality, that they will be swayed by him as the grass by the wind.

And because I was questioning this (questioning the judgement--I suppose the answer to my unanswered question "Whither ET?" which may be my own personal question, but I think others ask the same thing...

(And I thought it was humorous that the I Ching symbol up top looks a bit like a starfish...)

So anyway, I added my snarky comments re: "But we don't believe in rulers, do we?" etc. to counter the supposed truths being listed by the I Ching in its role as Oracle.

So here's me fessing up to you senor in the hope of cheering you up or letting you give me up as a lost cause.  And hmmm.  What can I give you?  Something powerful.

But also something funky.

Something tasty.

Something beautiful

Ach, laddie, I must dash!  May all your pleasures be very pleasurable!

To all of yez, of course!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 12:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series