Re: Girlfriend Post

This is a discussion on Re: Girlfriend Post within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; human behaviour is not founded on logic, its founded on evolutionary principles of surival. Absolutely. This is a fundamental point. ...

  1. #16
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    human behaviour is not founded on logic, its founded on evolutionary principles of surival.
    Absolutely. This is a fundamental point. The GOAL is genetic / environmental. The method of reaching it is self-deterministic. IMHO.
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  2. #17
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    Unhappy

    "oookey Clyde I agreed with everything else you said but that could easily because of them thinking about it, eg:

    "hmmm yeah ok time to push the button again" then reaching for it"

    Heh, of course the experiment took that into account!

    The people sat with their finger hovering over the button and were instructed to press it as soon as they thought of it, the experimenters naturally subtracted the reaction time from the point when the button was pressed, they still had a substantial lead on the people doing the experiments.

    "That may be so, but it's hardly conclusive evidence. "

    It's pretty persuasive but of course it was expected anyway! You see free-will fundamentally cannot exist, doing so would break every law of physics:

    Consider this: Free will exists, I move my arm, now I can trace the movement back to a nerve impulse arriving at the muscle synapse, I can trace that impulse back to the brain, now we hit a problem, you see IF free-will truly exists then i am not going to be able to trace that impulse back, you see for free-will to exist we will trace that impulse back to neurone and then thats it! The neurone will have had to spontaneously decided to fire!

    You see if we can trace it back, then free-will dissolves IE. the nervous impulse was caused by a series of neurones fireing that were inturn caused by another series of neurones that were inturn caused by blah blah ... untill you get the ultimate cause to be external sensory input IE. the external environment and the current state of the brain resulted in me moving my arm. No free will.

    So that leaves us with this fantom neurone firing presumeably connected by magic to some kind of inner "self" For the cell to fire a physical alteration has got to be made to the cell by a non-physical entity (this magical connection) thus breaking laws of physics.

    So free-will was an impossiblity anyway, the experiment merely confirms that.

    "I would love to believe there is no such thing as free will. It would make my life so much easier. I would sooner believe I lived in a world where there is free will than not."

    You say that to yourself, because my argument that you believe whats "nice" seemed a little too close to home, hence you hope that you can convince yourself that in-fact you wish there wasn't freewill, hence allowing you to view your own conclusions as valid.

    Come now, we all would like to be able to determine our own actions, we all hate the the idea that we have no real control over our own lives, why do you think humanity is obsessed with freedom? We strive for control of our own lives, the idea that, that control is an illusion is quite a lot to take.
    Last edited by Clyde; 05-10-2002 at 07:13 AM.

  3. #18
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    "But I'd like to point out that none of us can prove to ANY extent whether we make our own decisions, one way or another."

    This is not true, we can prove it, we can't prove it without objective testing but we can prove it:

    Lets say that the experiment with buttons had been the other way round, that the experimenties knew they were going to press the button before there was any brain activity (rediculous i know) that would effectively prove free will.

    Likewise if the experimenters watching the brains know before the experimenties it shows that the brain makes the decision then lets us know about it afterwards, which makes free-will a big no no.

  4. #19
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    Ah. The old "human being as computer" argument. Never really caught on. Absotively agree with the old "reaction to stimulus" argument. If someone shines a light in my eye, I blink. If someone points a gun at me, my adrenaline pumps. Survival instinct etc.

    But what I don't understand, for example, is - what is writing poetry a response to? Computers respond to stimuli. When I press a key, a letter magically appears. It (usually) always responds the same way. If what you say is true, why is my reaction to rain some days depression, and some days happiness??

    (BTW, I hate the word nice. It means nothing).
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  5. #20
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    "But what I don't understand, for example, is - what is writing poetry a response to?"

    There is as you point out a difference between a reflex action and a non-reflex action, however the difference is merely one of simplicity, a reflex action is not a concious decision, (though you can block reflexes conciously), and hence it does not depend on your current state of mind.

    With concious decisions there are two factors there is the external stimulus and there is the current state of the brain.

    So the reason that you sometimes feel happy with rain and sometimes sad is because you are in different moods to begin with. If your brain was in an identical state then you would behave in an identical way. The same applies to poetry, obviously the exact way that the external stimuli and the state of the brain interact and how they result in a given reaction is fiendinshly complex, so much so that neurologists are still battling to uncover all the mechanisms involved.

  6. #21
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    Clyde
    Your whole argument seems to be

    >>How do you know that your brain isn't making every decision for you and then letting you know aferwards?

    If my brain is not ME, who is it?

    If my subconcious is not ME, GET IT OUT!

    I agree your actions are filtered thru learned (environment) and instinticive behaviour (genetics).
    Even genetics can be overcome. Take tickleishness, an instinctive reaction to small things crawling on your skin. If you try hard enough you can repress this reaction. Just as people can control their involentary(sp?) actions (eg slow heartbeat) .

    >>the external environment and the current state of the brain resulted in me moving my arm. No free will.

    By your theory if I remove the enviroment, say a floatation tank or a quiet dark room, without the effect of the enviroment, you should not be able to move or as well. (which is plainly untrue)
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  7. #22
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    "If my brain is not ME, who is it? "

    Who? Your brain is not a person, its an organ, it may well generate, the illusion of self but that is quite different from any real deterministic ability. There is nothing but laws of physics governing how the brain works.

    The concept of what the self actually is, is a complex argument and a separate one (and i have some interesting things to say about self too that you won't like ), the experiment demonstrates that whatever self is, it is not in control of a persons actions.

    "Even genetics can be overcome"

    Not really, what you mean is that genetic predispositions to certain traits can be overcome, genetics cannot, you cannot overcome real limitations imposed by genetics: some people cannot roll their tongues and they never will be able to.

    "By your theory if I remove the enviroment, say a floatation tank or a quiet dark room, without the effect of the enviroment, you should not be able to move or as well. (which is plainly untrue)"

    Of course you can move in a floatation tank, movement is concious decision based on your current state of mind and your external environment, in the case of the floatation tank there is zero external stimuli hence your actions are soley determined by your state of mind.

    Incidently lack of external stimuli is treated by the brain as another form of stimuli (even though its not), thats why you think you can see the colour black despite the fact that actually you can't.

    It's not "my" theory, it's simple deducation.
    Last edited by Clyde; 05-10-2002 at 09:46 AM.

  8. #23
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    >>If my brain is not ME, who is it?

    You know, I read a study on this but I'm at work and I dont have the stats. The question was:

    How do you define "you":
    A) Your Body
    B) Your Brain
    C) Both Body and Brain

    A surprising number of people chose Body. I found that very interesting.


    >>Who? Your brain is not a person, its an organ

    However, its in control of my actions. It in, in a sense, me. It is my awareness, and it is the only way I can recieve sensory data. Its a lot more 'me' than any other organ or collection of organs.

    ... Not enough time to finish my argument and I wont be around til tomorrow, so it looks like I might miss out some of on this.
    "There's always another way"
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  9. #24
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    "You know, I read a study on this but I'm at work and I dont have the stats. The question was:

    How do you define "you":
    A) Your Body
    B) Your Brain
    C) Both Body and Brain

    A surprising number of people chose Body. I found that very interesting. "

    That is interesting, but then, i suspect those same people would not agree with the full ramifications of their choice, if they believe that their body is "them" it follows that if you stuck "their" head on another torso and someone else's head on their torso they would be left with the conclusion that "they" were not the individual that contained all their memories, had their personality, etc. etc.

    "However, its in control of my actions. It in, in a sense, me. It is my awareness, and it is the only way I can recieve sensory data. Its a lot more 'me' than any other organ or collection of organs"

    When dealing with the concept of self most people fall back upon the decartian model of the inner eye: They imagine that deep within their brain there some area that sends messages to "them" and that inturn "they" somehow send messages back to this area. Decarte reached the conclusion after looking at animal eyes, what he saw was that if you chopped off the retina then the eye would produce an image, so he asked himself what "sees" the image that eye produces? Of course he copped out the question and said there was this magic inner eye.

    In fact the decartian model plainly cannot work but its the easiest way we have of thinking of ourselves.

    Just by looking at people's language, we do distinguish between "us" and our brains, just look your sentence:

    "and it is the only way I can recieve sensory data."

    "it" being the brain, and "I" being the self.

    Now modern neurology takes the stance the self is an illusion that it does not really exist, and I buy that point of view because it ties into my own thoughts on the subject:

    I became interested in the concious mind and the problem of self about 6 years ago, I went to several lectures, read several books, asked my science teachers about it blah blah. I was convinced that the concious mind was unlike anything else, I couldn't make any sense of it, it seemed to contradict everything.

    One of the main problems I had with it was the material brain paradox, there are several versions, I will give you one of the more popular versions:

    Lets say I have a silica replica of a neurone that replicates its chemical and electrical properties exactly. Now I sit you down in my lab, and I replace 1 of your brain cells with my selica cell, since a few thousands brain cells kick the dust every time we shake our heads it seems logical that the person without the replaced silca cell is exactly the same as the person with it. Now I replace 1,000 cells with silica replacements, since there is no biological difference between the silica replacements and the removed cells surely you are still the same person, then I replace a million.... and finally your entire brain is now silica, now since there is no difference between a neurone and my silica cell it follows that there is no difference between you with a silica brain and you with a non-silica brain "you" must still be alive, you just have a silica brain now. So "you" are the silica brain.

    BUT we have a huge problem! What if we had instead built the silica brain first without replacing any of your brain cells! I sit you in my lab and build a silica brain, surely then you are NOT the silica brain, you are still sitting their in my lab! If after building the brain i then turn to you and shoot you in the head, and stick the silica brain in your skull surely you would be dead, and yet that scenario is exactly the same as the one where I replaced your brain cells, except this time i havent done it gradually, i've done it all at once.

    We know that "you" have got to be the silica brain but at the same time we know that "you" cannot be the silica brain.

    Voila paradox. It's quite hard to grasp and i find many people who cannot grasp it, (probably because of my lame explanining skills, if my explanation wasn't good enough i'm sure a quick google search for "mind" and "paradox" will give a plethora of sites with a more easily understandable explanation) but the paradox seems completely unsolveable, and I fully believed it was.

    Of course the entire thought experiment builds on-top of decarte's inner eye model which cannot be accurate, but which remains the only real way we can "imagine" the self to be.

    But it is solveable, it took me 5 years to see that there is a flaw in the logic, I'm unsure whether or not mainstream philosophy has come to the same conclusions as me, the fact that the modern version of "I think therefore I am" has been changed to "thinking is" implies that perhaps they have.

    My solution resides on the assumption that occurs in this line: "I sit you in my lab and build a silca brain, surely then you are NOT the silica brain, you are still sitting their in my lab"

    There is an unstated assumption there, it is the assumption that the person sitting in the lab after the brain is built is the same person as the person who sat down before the brain was built! It is the assumption that the self exists and is continuous.

    The only way out of the paradox is to conclude that either the "self" does not exist, that it is merely an illusion (although what that actually means... i don't know, how can the self be an illusion? If it's an illusion what is "seeing" it? neurology is making rapid advancement along these lines so hopefully I'll know the answer within my life-time), so the question of whether "you" are the same with a silica brain or nor becomes meaningless, the answer is that "you" do not exist, "you" are just an illusion. Or that self does exist but is dis-continuous, thats to say that every split second another "inner eye" comes along who experiences the thoughts and memories and senses, then either "dies" or moves onto another person and looks through their eyes, has their memories etc.,

    The consequences of the latter are somewhat strange, it would mean that whilst we view ourselves as real continuous entities, we simply cannot be that way. It means that the "self" we are at a given instant is no more the "self" that we were at a previous point in time, that it is the "self" that exists in another person. It measn that our past, our memories, are not really "ours" at all.

    Now neurology says the self is an illusion, which fits one of my solutions, of course I don't pay any attention to the actual nature of "self", I learned to accept a long time ago that human beings dance to tunes we never hear, as a human my behaviour is largely determined by the way things feel, I tried for about 2 years back when I was at school not to act that way, to somehow overide the behaviour seemingly programmed into my head, I just made myself miserable, and so, now I just go with how things feel.

    Wow! Did I go off on a tangent or what?
    Last edited by Clyde; 05-10-2002 at 02:58 PM.

  10. #25
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    damn, Clyde, you're on your way to a pHD

    Genius.

  11. #26
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    "you forgot the soul & the heart."

    heh, heart transplant patients might have something to say about the latter =)

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    Am I the only one who finds it difficult to argue on a board like this?? Now, if we were in a bar, "discussing" this over a beer......

    Clyde, can you encapsulate your points briefly for me please. No more than say 10 keywords.
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  13. #28
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    "Clyde, can you encapsulate your points briefly for me please. No more than say 10 keywords"

    Hmm not really, the subject is a complex one. I can try and expand on what i've said, which part didn't ya get?

  14. #29
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    OK, change of tack then (and I am genuinely interested).

    Take your silica brain cell scenario.

    Lets say me and Osama Bin Laden were in a lab, and somebody took a brain cell from my brain, and put it into good ol' OBL, and vica versa. At some point (I would expect) "he" would become "me" and "I" would become "him" (because it would be exactly like swapping our brains over). This implies that although our cells are biologically the same (i.e. there are no physical differences between the biology of the cells), "RobR" brain cells are different from "OBL" brain cells.

    Therefore in the silica example, there would become a point where enough "RobR" brain cells had been replace by silica cells that the thing in the chair was no longer RobR.
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  15. #30
    The Earth is not flat. Clyde's Avatar
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    "Lets say me and Osama Bin Laden were in a lab, and somebody took a brain cell from my brain, and put it into good ol' OBL, and vica versa. At some point (I would expect) "he" would become "me" and "I" would become "him" (because it would be exactly like swapping our brains over"

    That doesn't work, the function of the brain is extremely dependant on its structure, IE. the arrangement of the neurones, so how are you going to swap neurones between two different brains? The neurones you are swapping are in different positions hence cannot simply be swapped.

    You could not gradually become Bin Laden, and Bin Laden could not gradually become you, you would have to do it in one step.

    "implies that although our cells are biologically the same (i.e. there are no physical differences between the biology of the cells), "RobR" brain cells are different from "OBL" brain cells."

    As I said, it is not the difference in the cells, generally speaking all neurones have the same properties, it is in the connectiosn between the cells, ie. their arrangement.

    "Therefore in the silica example, there would become a point where enough "RobR" brain cells had been replace by silica cells that the thing in the chair was no longer RobR"

    See that doesn't work, because the silica brain maintains the arrangement IE. how the brain is wired up.

    If you could replace your neurones with Bin Laden neurones and not alter the arangement you would still be you.

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