There is no emergence

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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bahman
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by bahman » Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:25 pm

PTH wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:15 pm
Skepdick wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:02 pm
I know that consciousness is emergent from matter, because if it isn't then it's emergent from some mystical fairy dust.
Once you recognise conscious exists, you are talking fairy dust.
It is not really fairy dust. Consciousness is an ability of mind, ability to experience. It is necessary otherwise mind cannot cause something new and we cannot have a chain of causality.

seeds
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by seeds » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:22 am

uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:29 am
...Descartes was absolutely on the money when he said:
There is nothing so strange and so unbelievable that it has not been said by one philosopher or another.
seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
Sounds a little like one of your other favorite “go to” quotes:
“Nothing is too ridiculous to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature...” Faraday
uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:29 am
Yeah, I'm a bit like a stuck record. Ya gotta admit they're good quotes though.
Agreed.
seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
Was he talking about the “laws” that somehow magically came into existence via the blind and mindless meanderings of chance?
uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:29 am
Well, yes, that is one possibility. I really don't buy any version of a 'fine tuned argument' as proof of anything.
And why should you? - especially when it is so easy to visualize how the utterly ham-handed processes of gravity and thermodynamics could get the job done - by sheer luck.

Like I said:
seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
(I’m sure that you know better than to get me started on that trail of rants. :D)
uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:29 am
(And I'm sure you know better than to try and persuade me that there is only one possible conclusion.)
Fair enough.

However, one way in which I might try to persuade you into at least re-examining your view on that particular issue, is by asking you the following question:

Is it, or is it not logical to assume that somewhere deep within the infinite and eternal context of the “ALL-THAT-IS,” there surely must exist one ultimate and final conclusion (truth/reason/explanation) for the existence of everything?

Not meaning to invoke Plotinus here, but isn’t that a reasonable assumption to make? – that there exists only ONE ultimate and initializing foundation, upon which all of reality is based?

(And, btw, none of that is meant to imply that I have the slightest clue as to what that might be.)
seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
In the meantime, so as not to derail this thread, how do you feel about bahman’s claim of there being no such thing as “emergence” in any form or context?
uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:29 am
Frankly, I suspect the whole universe is an emergent property.
Again, I agree with you.

I mean, considering how the universe allegedly began from a “seed-like” phenomenon, how could it not be thought of as an emergent property?

However, for the sake of countering bahman’s thread title, perhaps you could explain what you mean by that?
_______
Last edited by seeds on Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

seeds
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by seeds » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:23 am

seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:39 am
Now, granted, it may not be a formally presented process that some preeminent neurologist might sign-off on, but surely we can all agree that at least what “appears” to be going on between brains and consciousness is something that the word “emergence” seems to fittingly describe. Yes? No? Maybe?
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:49 pm
I'd say maybe.

My only problem is us making statements as if we knew that emergence was the explanation.
Just to be clear, I am in no way suggesting that emergence is an explanation for the existence of consciousness (if that’s what you’re getting at).

No, I am simply using the fact that because consciousness seems to “emerge” from the non-conscious fabric of brain matter,...

(presenting itself as something “other” than the substance from which it arose)

...it is therefore a clear and obvious refutation of the title of this thread.
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:49 pm
We know there's a problem in accounting for this consciousness, and the features it seems to have. We give great credence to those features. For example, the law of contract assumes that contracts are freely entered into - they are invalid if a party was compelled, or lacked the capacity to make a choice. Electoral law assumes that voters are exercising a free choice, and goes to lengths to make sure they can exercise that choice in privacy, free from any interference. That's despite any philosophical doubts over the existence of free will.
Well, first of all, there’s a problem in accounting for literally everything, especially the pre-bang status of the infinitesimal kernel of compressed matter from which the universe allegedly sprang-forth.

And secondly, the reason why great credence should be given to the features of consciousness is not because of how it applies to your examples of human contracts or electoral laws,...

...but because if consciousness (life) did not exist, then the entire universe would be rendered meaningless.

And if you doubt that assertion, then I challenge you to come up with just ONE good reason for the existence of anything whatsoever, if life and consciousness did not exist.

The point is, you don’t need to be so vague and parochial when it comes to describing the workings of what is, without a doubt, the singular most important phenomenon in all of reality.
_______

Skepdick
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:23 am

PTH wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:15 pm
But the problem really arises because we see that causality and meaning both exist.
Why is that a problem and for whom?
PTH wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:15 pm
And, sometimes, meaning is the cause.
And I am not sure what that means.
PTH wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:15 pm
Once you recognise c̶o̶n̶s̶c̶i̶o̶u̶s̶ gravity exists, you are talking fairy dust.
There, now your crazy is obvious.

uwot
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by uwot » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:56 am

seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
uwot wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:29 am
I really don't buy any version of a 'fine tuned argument' as proof of anything.
And why should you? - especially when it is so easy to visualize how the utterly ham-handed processes of gravity and thermodynamics could get the job done -
That's pretty much what I have tried to do in my book. You know; this one: https://willybouwman.blogspot.com
seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
...by sheer luck.
I left that one dangling, because I really don't know. I can show ways to understand what happens, but it really isn't my style to suggest reasons for why it happens, especially if it comes to finding some conscious agent responsible.

seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
...one way in which I might try to persuade you into at least re-examining your view on that particular issue, is by asking you the following question:

Is it, or is it not logical to assume that somewhere deep within the infinite and eternal context of the “ALL-THAT-IS,” there surely must exist one ultimate and final conclusion (truth/reason/explanation) for the existence of everything?
Strictly speaking, logic has nothing to do with it, but I take your point. My view remains the same though: I don't know.

seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
Not meaning to invoke Plotinus here, but isn’t that a reasonable assumption to make? – that there exists only ONE ultimate and initializing foundation, upon which all of reality is based?

(And, btw, none of that is meant to imply that I have the slightest clue as to what that might be.)
Well, the premise of the book is that the universe can be represented as the emergent product of a single entity - the thing, or stuff, that went bang 13.8 billion years ago. If we take the evidence pointing to a big bang seriously, and the idea that the universe is made of some actual stuff, then it is stuff that does everything we observe the universe doing, including our own consciousness. So yeah, the miracle of existence, times the miracle of life, times the miracle of consciousness is a miracle cubed
seeds wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:40 am
I mean, considering how the universe allegedly began from a “seed-like” phenomenon, how could it not be thought of as an emergent property?

However, for the sake of countering bahman’s thread title, perhaps you could explain what you mean by that?
Well, the book only covers the miracle of existence. I've no idea where the big bang seed came from, or who put it there, but I show how fundamental particles 'emerge' from the stuff the big bang was made of - how they are generated and how they combine to make 'matter'. How life and consciousness emerge from this stuff is a mystery, but I'm cool with that; I like mysteries.

PTH
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:11 pm

seeds wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:23 am
No, I am simply using the fact that because consciousness seems to “emerge” from the non-conscious fabric of brain matter,...

(presenting itself as something “other” than the substance from which it arose)

...it is therefore a clear and obvious refutation of the title of this thread.
I think there are better examples that could be used to illustrate that emergence occurs.
seeds wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:23 am
And secondly, the reason why great credence should be given to the features of consciousness is not because of how it applies to your examples of human contracts or electoral laws,...

...but because if consciousness (life) did not exist, then the entire universe would be rendered meaningless.
Just to be clear, I'm not presenting those examples as reason to give credence to conscious. The point, I think, is how our societies are structured with that (perfectly normal) assumption.

PTH
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Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:17 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:23 am
PTH wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:15 pm
But the problem really arises because we see that causality and meaning both exist.
Why is that a problem and for whom?
You just set out the two basic elements of the "why", and the topic seems to be of enduring interest to many, including the participants on this thread.
Skepdick wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:23 am
PTH wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:15 pm
And, sometimes, meaning is the cause.
And I am not sure what that means.
Basically this
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:49 pm
That said, mental activity must change physical outcomes. Unless our contention is that no-one, ever, was influenced enough to change their behaviour because of something they read. So if I read instructions on how to operate a piece of machinery, do we think that simple conscious understanding of that instructive text had no impact on what I did next?
Bearing in mind, in contrast, that understanding forms no part of how a computer "follows" instructions, and more than a ratchet screwdriver understands I want to take out a screw.
Skepdick wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:23 am
PTH wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:15 pm
Once you recognise c̶o̶n̶s̶c̶i̶o̶u̶s̶ gravity exists, you are talking fairy dust.
There, now your crazy is obvious.
It's usually a problem if you find yourself responding to the points you wish people would make, and not the points they actually make.

Skepdick
Posts: 1473
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:47 pm

PTH wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:17 pm
Basically this
PTH wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:49 pm
That said, mental activity must change physical outcomes. Unless our contention is that no-one, ever, was influenced enough to change their behaviour because of something they read. So if I read instructions on how to operate a piece of machinery, do we think that simple conscious understanding of that instructive text had no impact on what I did next?
It's irrelevant.

1. The meaning lies in your decoding (interpretation) of the symbols, not the symbols themselves. This is trivially testable. If the manual was in Chinese it would have no effect on you. Because you don't understand the symbols.
2. The person reading the symbols decides whether the information they extracted from those symbols is relevant to the task at hand.

Demonstration: A bottle of clear liquid has a label: 1001101 1100001 1100100 1100101 100000 1101001 1101110 100000 1001010 1100001 1110000 1100001 1101110

Do you drink it?

What if the label said 1010000 1101111 1101001 1110011 1101111 1101110 100001 ?

After you figure out that the first label says "Made in Japan", and the second label says "Poison!" maybe you will notice that the answer to the question "Do you drink the poison Made in Japan?" doesn't really depend on the label's meaning.

What alters your behaviour is your objective. If you are trying to quench your thirst - you don't drink it.
If you are trying to commit suicide - you drink it.

You are attributing causality to meaning where it had none.

Stanley Cavell argued that if you can't extract an intention from a piece of text, then it is meaningless. I agree with him.
If a cloud appeared in the sky spelling out the word "LOVE" it means nothing. You may recognize it as an English word, but nobody intended to use it.
It's subject to the infinite monkeys theorem.

Il n'y a pas de hors-texte --Jacques Derirda
PTH wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:17 pm
Bearing in mind, in contrast, that understanding forms no part of how a computer "follows" instructions, and more than a ratchet screwdriver understands I want to take out a screw.
Why do you always pick the trivial examples? Why didn't you add self-driving cars to this list?
Want to compare how algorithmic drivers make choices compared to human drivers?
Want to discuss how autonomous vehicles parse road signs and some times obey them, some times ignore them? Or is that detrimental to your argument?
PTH wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:17 pm
It's usually a problem if you find yourself responding to the points you wish people would make, and not the points they actually make.
Kettle, meet pot. It was you who proposed a two-value logic (things you know, things you don't know), but then you went to propose that consciousness is magic fairy dust, and there is no way you know that.

I am merely holding you accountable to some epistemic consistency. Gravitons are hypothetical. Exactly like consciousness.

You can no more tell me what gravity IS, than you can tell me what consciousness IS.

Because when you talk about what things ARE, you are doing metaphysics.

PTH
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:58 pm

Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:30 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:47 pm
The meaning lies in your decoding (interpretation) of the symbols, not the symbols themselves.
Yes, and that meaning influences what happens next, frequently.
Skepdick wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:47 pm
PTH wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:17 pm
Bearing in mind, in contrast, that understanding forms no part of how a computer "follows" instructions, and more than a ratchet screwdriver understands I want to take out a screw.
Why do you always pick the trivial examples?
Because they typically illustrate the point, without the drama.

Skepdick
Posts: 1473
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:52 pm

PTH wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:30 pm
Yes, and that meaning influences what happens next, frequently.
You mean like how the meaning of a programming language influences what happens inside a computer?
Not frequently - always. It's practically deterministic and it's perfectly explained by the notion of 'intent'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intentional_programming

When I intend for the lights in my house to turn on, I utter the words 'Alexa, turn on the lights'.
The algorithm understands the intent behind my words and causes the lights to switch on.

There's no magic fairy dust here.
PTH wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:30 pm
Because they typically illustrate the point, without the drama.
From where I am standing they are obscuring the point with trivialities.

PTH
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:58 pm

Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:13 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:52 pm
The algorithm understands the intent behind my words and causes the lights to switch on.
The algorithm understands nothing, any more than a ratchet screwdriver understands which way you want the screw to go.

The person who designed the algorithm understood and anticipated your intent.

Skepdick
Posts: 1473
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:21 pm

PTH wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:13 pm
The algorithm understands nothing, any more than a ratchet screwdriver understands which way you want the screw to go.
False equivalence. You don't operate a screwdriver with your spoken words.
PTH wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:13 pm
The person who designed the algorithm understood and anticipated your intent.
I am the person who designed the algorithm. Obviously I understand my meaning.
But you are conveniently ignoring the fact that I explained my meaning to a computer.

Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do. --Donald Knuth

The algorithm satisfies the scientific criterion for testability and falsifiability. It's as deterministic as a prediction model gets.
I predict that if I utter the phrase "Alexa, please turn on the lights", the lights will turn on 99% of the time.

This is just your epistemic double-standard rearing its head again. So one last time, before I call you out for being an idiot.

Suppose I asked you to turn on the lights. You comply. The light comes on.
Given that both PTH and Alexa turn on the lights (exactly as I asked), why would I conclude that PTH understands my meaning, but Alexa doesn't?

What is the epistemic difference between PTH and Alexa when it comes to understanding the meaning of "Please turn on the lights"?
There isn't any!

PTH
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:58 pm

Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:08 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:21 pm
PTH wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:13 pm
The algorithm understands nothing, any more than a ratchet screwdriver understands which way you want the screw to go.
False equivalence. A screw driver has no capacity to do any physical work. A computer does.
What, you're saying only electric screwdrivers are conscious?

https://muchneeded.com/best-cordless-screwdrivers/

Do you do much DIY?
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:21 pm
PTH wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:13 pm
The person who designed the algorithm understood and anticipated your intent.
I am the person who designed the algorithm. Obviously I understand my meaning.
But you are conveniently ignoring the fact that I explained my meaning to a computer.
In the same way that I "explained my meaning" to my electric screwdriver, noticing the screwdriver was none the wiser.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:21 pm
I predict that if I utter the phrase "Alexa, please turn on the lights", the lights will turn on 99% of the time.
And I expect if I flick the switch the right way on my screwdriver, 99.9% of the time the screw will move in the required manner.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:21 pm
Suppose I asked you to turn on the lights. You comply. The light comes on.
Given that both PTH and Alexa turn on the lights (exactly as I asked), why would I conclude that PTH understands, but Alexa doesn't?
I suspect if you kept on asking me to turn the lights on for you, you'd find after a while they didn't turn on 99% of the time.

So what's the difference? I suspect what you need to reflect on is if you expect that you'd ever ask Alexa to open the pod bay doors, and get the response "I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that." In a situation where, you'll appreciate, Alexa fully "understands" your request.

Skepdick
Posts: 1473
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: There is no emergence

Post by Skepdick » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:09 pm

PTH wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:08 pm
What, you're saying only electric screwdrivers are conscious?

https://muchneeded.com/best-cordless-screwdrivers/

Do you do much DIY?
Strawman and further false equivalence. You don't control an electric screw driver with your spoken words. When you talk to your screw driver - nothing happens.

So here I am - giving you empirical evidence of where the meaning of words has a causal effect on reality (which is the very position you were defending 3 posts ago), and now it seems you have decided to argue against yourself.

Your double standard is noted. Not going to respond to the rest of your comment.

PTH
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:58 pm

Re: There is no emergence

Post by PTH » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:17 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:09 pm
PTH wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:08 pm
What, you're saying only electric screwdrivers are conscious?

https://muchneeded.com/best-cordless-screwdrivers/

Do you do much DIY?
Strawman and further false equivalence. You don't control an electric screw driver with your spoken words.

When you talk to your screw driver - nothing happens.
Ah, here. You actually edited your post after I made mine.

You're obviously realising your case has no merit..

Best of luck.

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