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Messages - sciborg2

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1
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: March 19, 2019, 06:33:51 pm »
When something unreal can become almost real, it is perhaps more frightening to us, and perhaps more revealing.

-David Levinthal

I like this one, Sci - kinda aligns with your profile picture, which scares the shit of me every time I see it ( I'm sure that's the intended effect ;) )

I thought it was cute lol


C. G. Jung -Aion, Researches into the Phenomonology of the Self

Hmm, keep in mind here that God-image is not, per se, God.  God-image can actually be used to stand in for the top of a hierarchy, or the pinnacle of an ontology.  One could consider it as "thing of highest value" as well, although monetary value not necessarily being that connotation there (although plausibly so in cases).

What does he mean about making Christianity "roomier"?

2
Neural precursors of deliberate and arbitrary decisions in the study of voluntary action

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Abstract

The readiness potential (RP)—a key ERP correlate of upcoming action—is known to precede subjects’ reports of their decision to move. Some view this as evidence against a causal role for consciousness in human decision-making and thus against free-will. Yet those studies focused on arbitrary decisions—purposeless, unreasoned, and without consequences. It remains unknown to what degree the RP generalizes to deliberate, more ecological decisions. We directly compared deliberate and arbitrary decision-making during a $1000-donation task to non-profit organizations. While we found the expected RPs for arbitrary decisions, they were strikingly absent for deliberate ones. Our results and drift-diffusion model are congruent with the RP representing accumulation of noisy, random fluctuations that drive arbitrary—but not deliberate—decisions. They further point to different neural mechanisms underlying deliberate and arbitrary decisions, challenging the generalizability of studies that argue for no causal role for consciousness in decision-making to real-life decisions.


Significance Statement:

 The extent of human free will has been debated for millennia. Previous studies demonstrated that neural precursors of action—especially the readiness potential—precede subjects’ reports of deciding to move. Some viewed this as evidence against free-will. However, these experiments focused on arbitrary decisions—e.g., randomly raising the left or right hand. We directly compared deliberate (actual $1000 donations to NPOs) and arbitrary decisions, and found readiness potentials before arbitrary decisions, but—critically—not before deliberate decisions. This supports the interpretation of readiness potentials as byproducts of accumulation of random fluctuations in arbitrary but not deliberate decisions and points to different neural mechanisms underlying deliberate and arbitrary choice. Hence, it challenges the generalizability of previous results from arbitrary to deliberate decisions.

3
Why the central problem in neuroscience is mirrored in physics

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In general, it seems all fundamental physical properties can be described mathematically. Galileo, the father of modern science, famously professed that the great book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. Yet mathematics is a language with distinct limitations. It can only describe abstract structures and relations. For example, all we know about numbers is how they relate to the other numbers and other mathematical objects—that is, what they “do,” the rules they follow when added, multiplied, and so on. Similarly, all we know about a geometrical object such as a node in a graph is its relations to other nodes. In the same way, a purely mathematical physics can tell us only about the relations between physical entities or the rules that govern their behavior.

One might wonder how physical particles are, independently of what they do or how they relate to other things. What are physical things like in themselves, or intrinsically? Some have argued that there is nothing more to particles than their relations, but intuition rebels at this claim. For there to be a relation, there must be two things being related. Otherwise, the relation is empty—a show that goes on without performers, or a castle constructed out of thin air. In other words, physical structure must be realized or implemented by some stuff or substance that is itself not purely structural. Otherwise, there would be no clear difference between physical and mere mathematical structure, or between the concrete universe and a mere abstraction. But what could this stuff that realizes or implements physical structure be, and what are the intrinsic, non-structural properties that characterize it? This problem is a close descendant of Kant’s classic problem of knowledge of things-in-themselves. The philosopher Galen Strawson has called it the hard problem of matter.

4
Nah you got it. That is what I'm saying, we are mistakenly reifying our probability assessments onto the event sequences happening in the Actual.

And so when someone asks "What is neither deterministic nor random?" it's asking "What is an event that I can never assign any probability to?"...which is an impossible question, b/c you can always assign some probability even if it's - as in the case of an Excession - nothing more than an attempt to translate your qualia of confidence into mathematical terms.

Perhaps more importantly, assignment of probability says nothing about the actual causal powers at play where we have to explain both what happened but also why something else didn't happen...a very tall order...

Hmm, well, I have a great deal of "trouble" with the idea that anything is actually random, that is, completely absent any causal relation at all.  That seems, in my mind, to denote the problem of "something from nothing."

If I am following your line of thinking though, is this the same sort of question as to asking about Mathmatical Realism.  If I remember correctly, isn't there a way to think about the fact that math is never wrong, because math is the thing with which we are conceptualizing the phenomena.  So, sort of like, if all we had as sense organs were eyes, eyes could never be wrong, because eyes are all we would have to verify what eyes would see.

I'm not sure that I buy that, but I think one could make the case.  So, determinate and probabilistic might be the same sort of things.  Categories that we place on things as tool to make "sense" of them, but not fundamental properties of things themselves.

If that makes sense in this context.  This topic quickly seems to slip from my conceptual grasp every time I try to hold it, do I'm never sure where I am, where I am going or where I came from...

Yeah I think the idea things happen for no reason is quite strange...but then the reason has to include why something else doesn't happen...

I do like your point regarding Mathematical Realism, though I do think Math is real in some "Platonic" sense the mistake as you say is to try and claim applied math is describing the Actual rather than talking within a (very useful) language.

I think we're on the same page here, admittedly a precarious one given we are both treading into waters than are at the edge of contested philosophy.

5
Hmmmm....I think we are sorta getting toward the same picture. Kant seems to take faith in the regularity/reproducibility which leaves the Unique Event - which we will from here call Excession in honor of Iain M. Banks - outside of a proper causal picture.

It must enter into some causal relationships, which is how we can sense it and mark its existence at all, but the classification of this causal relation cannot be put into a determinate function nor assigned a random variable.

And going back to our discussion of "Hyperchaos" one might even say anything that can be modeled by a random variable is, in fact, a blending of Order & Chaos, and thus a blending of the concepts "determinisim" & "randomness". And none of that gives us understanding of the relata, b/c external modeling tells us nothing about cause just as modeling possible reappearances of the Excession mathematically won't tell us *why* it appears.

Hmm, in trying to understand this, I actually sort of maybe understand why, in Bakker-verse, the No-God cannot be apprehended.  It's facile to see why temporal beings, like Kellhus, don't have the temporal framework to do so.  But why Ajokli doesn't is a bit more of a mystery.  But the answer is the same, he perceives based off his own temporal-spatial paradigm, which seems to encompass "all of time" but doesn't.  In the "same way" that our temporal-spatial paradigm generally fails to account for all of 4D non-Euclidean space-time.

But on what you are actually saying, is that determinate or random designation are essentially not objective designations, but rather our perceptual-cognitive method for fitting phenomena into our spatial-temporal paradigm?

I fear that my shit-level ability in abstraction is holding us back here though.

Nah you got it. That is what I'm saying, we are mistakenly reifying our probability assessments onto the event sequences happening in the Actual.

And so when someone asks "What is neither deterministic nor random?" it's asking "What is an event that I can never assign any probability to?"...which is an impossible question, b/c you can always assign some probability even if it's - as in the case of an Excession - nothing more than an attempt to translate your qualia of confidence into mathematical terms.

Perhaps more importantly, assignment of probability says nothing about the actual causal powers at play where we have to explain both what happened but also why something else didn't happen...a very tall order...

6
Ah, can you quote the passage, I'm not that familiar with Kant. I was thinking more about assigning values to a Random Variable, or plotting a best fit function. This can't be done when you have one unique value.

I find it nearly impossible to read Kant directly, I am in no way smart enough for that.

Here is Scruton on Kant though:
Quote
The parts of Hume’s philosophy that most disturbed him concerned the concept of causality. Hume had argued that there is no foundation for the belief in necessities in nature: necessity belongs to thought alone, and merely reflects the “relations of ideas.” It was this that led Kant to perceive that natural science rests on the belief that there are real necessities, so that Hume’s skepticism, far from being an academic exercise, threatened to undermine the foundations of scientific thought. Kant did indeed have a lasting quarrel with Leibniz, and with the Leibnizian system. But it was the sense that the problems of objectivity and of causal necessity are ultimately connected that led him toward the outlook of the Critique of Pure Reason. It was only then that he perceived what was really wrong with Leibniz, through his attempt to show what was really wrong with Hume. He came to think as follows.
Neither experience nor reason is alone able to provide knowledge. The first provides content without form, the second form without content. Only in their synthesis is knowledge possible; hence, there is no knowledge that does not bear the marks of reason and of experience together. Such knowledge is, however, genuine and objective. It transcends the point of view of the person who possesses it, and makes legitimate claims about an independent world. Nevertheless, it is impossible to know the world “as it is in itself,” independent of all perspective. Such an absolute conception of the object of knowledge is senseless, Kant argues, since it can be given only by employing concepts from which every element of meaning has been refined away. While I can know the world independently of my point of view on it, what I know (the world of “appearance”) bears the indelible marks of that point of view. Objects do not depend for their existence upon my perceiving them; but their nature is determined by the fact that they can be perceived. Objects are not Leibnizian monads, knowable only to the perspectiveless stance of “pure reason”; nor are they Humean “impressions,” features of my own experience. They are objective, but their character is given by the point of view through which they can be known. This is the point of view of “possible experience.” Kant tries to show that, properly understood, the idea of “experience” already carries the objective reference that Hume denied. Experience contains within itself the features of space, time, and causality. Hence, in describing my experience I am referring to an ordered perspective on an independent world.

Also:
Quote
The physical science of Kant’s day seemed to assume a priori the existence of universal causation, and of reciprocal interaction. It assumed that it must explain, not the existence of matter, but the changes undergone by it. It assumed the need for a law of conservation, according to which, in all changes, some fundamental quantity remains unaltered. It is just such assumptions, Kant thought, that had guided Newton in the formulation of his laws of motion. Kant therefore attempts, in deriving his principles, to establish the “validity of universal laws of nature as laws of the understanding” (F. 74), arguing further that all the fundamental laws of the new astronomy can be seen, on reflection, to rest on principles that are valid a priori (F. 83).
The attempt to uphold the Newtonian mechanics is mixed with an attack on Hume’s skepticism about causality. Kant tries to show that causal relations are necessary, both in the sense that it is necessary that objects enter into them (there is no event without a cause), and also in the sense that they are themselves a species of necessary connection.

But I think I misunderstood what your example was after.  If we can't place "difference over time" then certainly we can't say if something was deterministic or random, it just is as it is at a given time.  But I might again be misunderstanding what you are saying.

Hmmmm....I think we are sorta getting toward the same picture. Kant seems to take faith in the regularity/reproducibility which leaves the Unique Event - which we will from here call Excession in honor of Iain M. Banks - outside of a proper causal picture.

It must enter into some causal relationships, which is how we can sense it and mark its existence at all, but the classification of this causal relation cannot be put into a determinate function nor assigned a random variable.

And going back to our discussion of "Hyperchaos" one might even say anything that can be modeled by a random variable is, in fact, a blending of Order & Chaos, and thus a blending of the concepts "determinisim" & "randomness". And none of that gives us understanding of the relata, b/c external modeling tells us nothing about cause just as modeling possible reappearances of the Excession mathematically won't tell us *why* it appears.


7
- Let's say there is a unique event, a gray scale rainbow that also gives us hues of metallic sheen from "dark silver" to "dull light grey". Without successive appearances how would we even attempt to say whether the event was deterministic or random?

Isn't this sort of question the one Kant asked about Causality in response to Hume?  That is, the two events are only causally "bound" because of our mediating sense of space and time?

Ah, can you quote the passage, I'm not that familiar with Kant. I was thinking more about assigning values to a Random Variable, or plotting a best fit function. This can't be done when you have one unique value.

8
Just thinking about this some more:

- Aren't the terms "determinism" and "random" drawn from our conception of probability. Determinism denotes 100% confidence in the subsequent event if the expected conditions are provided, whereas randomness distributes our confidence to varying values a Random Variable can take on. So nothing is in actuality determined or random, since this is the projection of a probability value born of external observation whereas causation concerns the motive power of the thing-in-itself.

- Let's say there is a unique event, a gray scale rainbow that also gives us hues of metallic sheen from "dark silver" to "dull light grey". Without successive appearances how would we even attempt to say whether the event was deterministic or random?

9
Philosophy & Science / Re: The Philosophy of Organism
« on: February 26, 2019, 04:18:45 am »
Immediately going to my "must read articles" list. The last one you posted about Whitehead and the "Great God Pan" was fantastic so I'm definitely into anything this dude has to say about, well, pretty much anything!

Thanks for the good stuff as always, Sci!

Glad you liked it, perhaps you will one day explain Whitehead to me as I can only stand on the shores of his philosophy, going deeper into the country of his mind has so far proven impossible - I'm sadly always driven back...

10
Philosophy & Science / Is Consciousness Fractal?
« on: February 25, 2019, 02:07:23 am »
Is Consciousness Fractal?

Quote
“It wouldn’t come as a shock to me if consciousness is fractal,” Taylor says. “But I have no idea how that will manifest itself.”

One potential manifestation is a much-debated and controversial theory of consciousness proposed by physicist Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff in the mid-1990s. About a decade earlier, Penrose suggested that consciousness results from quantum computation taking place in the brain. Hameroff followed up on this work with the suggestion that the brain’s quantum processing happened not at the level of the neuron but in microtubules, tiny structures within neurons responsible for cell division and structural organization. Proteins inside the microtubules contain clouds of delocalized electrons whose quantum behavior can cause vibrations in the microtubules to “interfere, collapse, and resonate across scale, control neuronal firings, [and] generate consciousness.”

So where do fractals come into play? It is known that EEGs, signals correlated with conscious awareness—like Goldberger’s heartbeats—exhibit fractal dynamics in the time domain. Hameroff argues that the fractal hierarchy of the brain also exists in the vibrations that resonate across the scales of the spatial domain, from the dynamics of networks of neurons, to the neurons themselves, to the dynamics of their microtubules.

“Consciousness can move up and down the fractal hierarchy,” writes Hameroff, “like music changing octaves,” resonating across levels.
Giuseppe Vitiello, a physicist at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Italy, takes a different approach to the application of quantum physics to brain dynamics (using quantum field theory instead)—but he, too, likens it to an ordering along fractal lines. Like a magnet, he says: disordered on the microscopic level until a trigger causes the magnetic “arrows” to all point in the same direction and result in an organized macroscopic system. Vitiello showed that the advent of this coherent structure—namely, of coherent quantum states—corresponds to the way fractals are represented mathematically. In other words, underlying the brain’s fractal processes is quantum coherence.

Philosopher Kerri Welch looks at consciousness in a more holistic way, through the lens of time and memory. “I think consciousness is a temporal fractal,” she says. “We’re taking in an infinite amount of data every moment. It’s a jump in scale every time we compress that data.” According to Welch, perceived time is not a linear progression but a “layering.” A fractal.

11
Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In High-Security Lab

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Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned.

For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy.

"This will really be a breakthrough experiment," says Ruth Mueller, an entomologist who runs the lab. "It's a historic moment."

The goal is to see if the mosquitoes could eventually provide a powerful new weapon to help eradicate malaria in Africa, where most cases occur.

"It's very exciting," Mueller says.

NPR was the only news organization allowed into the lab to witness the moment the releases began in early February.

12
Philosophy & Science / The Philosophy of Organism
« on: February 22, 2019, 04:31:29 pm »
The Philosophy of Organism

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The philosophy of organism is the name of the metaphysics of the mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead. Born in Kent in 1861, schooled in Dorset, Alfred headed north and taught mathematics and physics in Cambridge, where he befriended his pupil Bertrand Russell, with whom he came to collaborate on a project to develop logically unshakable foundations for mathematics. In 1914, Whitehead became Professor of Applied Mathematics at Imperial College, London. However, his passion for the underlying philosophical problems never left him, and in 1924, at the age of 63, he crossed the Atlantic to take up a position as Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1947. His intellectual journey had traversed mathematics, physics, logic, education, the philosophy of science, and matured with his profound metaphysics, a complex systematic philosophy that is most comprehensively unfolded in his 1929 book, Process and Reality.

The philosophy of organism is a form of process philosophy. This type of philosophy seeks to overcome the problems in the traditional metaphysical options of dualism, materialism, and idealism. From the perspective of process philosophy, the error of dualism is to take mind and matter to be fundamentally distinct; the error of materialism is to fall for this first error then omit mind as fundamental; the error of idealism is also to fall for the first error then to omit matter as fundamental. The philosophy of organism seeks to resolve these issues by fusing the concepts of mind and matter, thereby creating an ‘organic realism’ as Whitehead also named his philosophy. To gain an overview of this marvelous, revolutionary, yet most logical philosophy, let’s first look at what Whitehead means by ‘realism’, then at the meaning of its prefix, ‘organic’.

13
Philosophy & Science / Re: Sam Harris on why Materialism is Nonsensical
« on: February 22, 2019, 04:28:35 pm »
Well I did say a creature that cannot report how it works.

But even the attempt suggests two entities, the reporter and the one given the report?


That arrangement 'A: A reporter and B: One who gives the report', why would that have to be the case? Why would there even be two 'entities'

A creature that cannot report how it works can just as much be 'A: A mechanism and B: A verbal system with limited access to the prior mechanism it runs on - much like software running on hardware and )

Otherwise I don't know what you're saying - my computer is going to give the server the SA forums a report. Are these two entities?

I don't understand this part ->

" the software's code can't access all the hardware because there isn't hardware for accessing the other hardware (also the software isn't even code to show this absence, in much the same way as we all have a blindspot in out sight but it is smudged over and hidden from us, without native documentation"

Could give an example of software and hardware? I don't see how the software/hardware lack of access is at all like the blindspot that is smudged over?
I don't understand where your position is - does your brain tell you it's smudging over part of your vision or does it just do so without telling you, whether you like it or not? You don't have any part of your brain telling you its doing that trick - there's no hardware or software there to do that. You're left numb to it. How much else are you left numb to? The edges of your vision just kind of run out as well, rather than have any kind of sign of where they end.

Or I don't know, what is your position on the matter? I know your eye is basically smudging over info in part of your eye. That's a fact. Basically it fools your brain/it fools you - or would you put it another way. And your reaction to that fact/your position in regards to that fact, what is it?

So you don't think there is hardware/software? I admit I'm not really sure I understand this post either...

14
General Misc. / Re: Video Game Thread! What are you playing?
« on: February 01, 2019, 04:51:00 pm »
Starting Slay the Spire...

15
General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: February 01, 2019, 04:50:19 pm »
When something unreal can become almost real, it is perhaps more frightening to us, and perhaps more revealing.

-David Levinthal

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