windaelicker

WTF!

Free will is Apparent, at last!

joey, what you say here:

I agree with.
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This, I wrote yesterday after my post @ $98 where I left to read Quining Qualia, on recommendation by consciousness razor.
It is bullshit, cr. It is not logical, and even Dennet says so. It’s all there.
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lipstick:

1) have a will for doing something, in which case you have to deal with this regress*, which you cannot deal with — thus it is not freely willed — or

2) have no will for doing something — thus it is not freely willed.

*Why does the indeterministic mind prefer to do X instead of not-X? Where did it get that preference? Yet again there’s an infinite regress, which can be halted by saying the mind came into existence with certain preferences pre-packaged, but then the mind didn’t freely will those preferences.

A decision can be the result of multiple preferences, and each preference can be the result of causality. But why does that have to mean the actual choice between the preferences cannot be freely chosen?

In fact, IT CAN.
I linked to one of many similar papers by an fMRI researcher that said that there is no locus of thinking or decision making in our brains.
Do you people understand that? there is no point at which a ‘decision’ is finalized.
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Guess what? I am going to perform the thought experiment about going back to the exact point in time and seeing if I could have chosen otherwise:
I was walking home yesterday, and I became aware of my trajectory, and how I arrived at it. So I started paying attention to how I decided my vector – that is my direction and speed.

At no point did I ever reach a decision making end point.
At no point, in time, did I reach a final decision that I could not change if I wanted to.
Never did that happen, that I could not decide, FREELY, where I was going to step next, NOT UNTIL MY FOOT ACTUALLY PLANTED ON THE GROUND.

I could decide at any point to halt my movements if I so desired, in which case I would have mistepped, and at no time was I ever considered TO BE COMMITTED IN MY DECISION!

*AA)

The answer is YES, I could have chosen otherwise, within 5 one hundredths of a second, or thereabouts. Okay, up to 20/100 s.
ESTIMATION OF RESPONSE TIMES

USING A THREE FUNCTION WEIBULL DISTRIBUTION

The best reaction times are always faster for auditory signals rather than visual signals. This has been confirmed by a number of laboratory experiments where the mean auditory reaction times are 140-160 ms (0.14-0.16 sec) and visual reaction times being 180-200 ms (0.18- 0.2 sec.)

The response times to self generated thought is probably faster. That means that when another idea enters the picture, like volitionally altering my chosen behavior, the original impulse, or ‘decision’, can be circumvented, I estimate, any time beginning at .2s by introduction of alternative though or evaluation parameters into the decision loop.

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*BB)

I can prove that free will is not only possible, that it is likely.And I Stated explicitly, in # 38, that this was a wickedly good resource for understanding the complexity and multi-directional, non-localized interactions in the function of the brain:Nonlinear dynamic causal models for fMRI

This paper presents a nonlinear extension of DCM that models such processes (to second order) at the neuronal population level. In this way, the modulation of network interactions can be assigned to an explicit neuronal population. We present simulations and empirical results that demonstrate the validity and usefulness of this model. Analyses of synthetic data showed that nonlinear and bilinear mechanisms can be distinguished by our extended DCM. When applying the model to empirical fMRI data from a blocked attention to motion paradigm, we found that attention-induced increases in V5 responses could be best explained as a gating of the V1 → V5 connection by activity in posterior parietal cortex. Furthermore, we analysed fMRI data from an event-related binocular rivalry paradigm and found that interactions amongst percept-selective visual areas were modulated by activity in the middle frontal gyrus. In both practical examples, Bayesian model selection favoured the nonlinear models over corresponding bilinear ones.

OUR THINKING IS NOT LINEAR. It is not ‘one cause, one effect.’
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*CC)
A brief thought can modulate activity in extrastriate visual areas: Top-down effects of refreshing just-seen visual stimuli:

Current models of executive function hold that the internal representations of stimuli used during reflective thought are maintained in the same posterior cortical regions initially activated during perception, and that activity in such regions is modulated by top-down signals originating in prefrontal cortex. In an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we presented participants with two pictures simultaneously, a face and a scene, immediately followed either by a repetition of one of the pictures (perception) or by a cue to think briefly of one of the just-seen, but no longer present, pictures (refreshing, a reflective act). Refreshing faces and scenes modulated activity in the fusiform face area (FFA) and parahippocampal place area (PPA), respectively, as well as other regions exhibiting relative perceptual selectivity for either faces or scenes. Four scene-selective regions (lateral precuneus, retrosplenial cortex, PPA, and middle occipital gyrus) showed an anatomical gradient of responsiveness to top-down reflective influences versus bottom-up perceptual influences. These results demonstrate that a brief reflective act can modulate posterior cortical activity in a stimulus-specific manner, suggesting that such modulatory mechanisms are engaged even during transient ongoing thought. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that refreshing is a component of more complex modulatory operations such as working memory and mental imagery, and that refresh-related activity may thus contribute to the common activation patterns seen across different cognitive tasks.

These results demonstrate that a brief reflective act can modulate posterior cortical activity in a stimulus-specific manner, suggesting that such modulatory mechanisms are engaged even during transient ongoing thought
OUR THINKING IS MULTI-DIMENSIONAL (multiple ideas can enter into the the evaluation loop), AND MODULATED BY A SECOND, REGIONALLY DISTINCT AREA IN THE BRAIN, which is itself subject to further modulation:

;Figure 2] (A) Example locations of the PPA and FFA are shown for a representative participant. Bilateral PPA and FFA were located for all participants and used as regions of interest for later analyses. (B) For bilateral PPA and FFA, activation estimates are plotted for the two Refresh conditions only, to show top-down effects of refreshing. After identical perceptual (bottom-up) stimulation, activity in bilateral PPA was greater for refreshing a scene than for refreshing a face. Activity in right FFA was greater for refreshing a face than for refreshing a scene

New sensory input(qualia)from the introduction of new, both visual(qualia) AND reflective thought(qualia), evoke real time stimulation. I stand corrected, the visual response is greater than than the response to thought, although the reaction time to this new thought stimulation, input, may be less than or greater than the reaction to visual input of 2o milliseconds.

(C) For bilateral PPA and FFA, activation estimates are plotted for all four conditions of the Experimental task. In both regions, activity was greater for perception than for reflection, as expected. Error bars represent standard error of the mean. Conditions: Ref_F = refresh face, Ref_S = refresh scene, Rep_F = repeat face, Rep_S = repeat scene. See text for further details.

This means that up to 5 times a second, the influences, or considerations for a decision, which is ongoing and chronologically spread out as I demonstrated in my walk down the alley, can provide new information to the ‘set of alternative choices.’(From the first of the two abstracts I am referencing)

Fig. 1. This figure shows schematic examples of bilinear (A) and nonlinear (B) DCMs, which describe the dynamics of a neuronal state vector x. In both equations, the matrix A represents the fixed (context-independent or endogenous) strength of connections between the modelled regions, the matrices B(i) represent the context-dependent modulation of these connections, induced by the ith input ui, as an additive change, and the C matrix represents the influence of direct (exogenous) inputs to the system (e.g. sensory stimuli). The new component in the nonlinear equations are the D(j) matrices, which encode how the n regions gate connections in the system. Specifically, any non-zero entry Dkl(j) indicates that the responses of region k to inputs from region l depend on activity in region j.

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*DD)
These new thoughts are competitive, and subject to varying levels of importance as they are evaluated, again from this abstract

Fig. 10. Fit of the nonlinear model in Fig. 9A to the binocular rivalry data. Dotted lines represent the observed data, solid lines the responses predicted by the nonlinear DCM. The upper panel shows the entire time series. The lower panel zooms in on the first half of the data (dotted box). One can see that the functional coupling between FFA (blue) and PPA (green) depends on the activity level in MFG (red): when MFG activity is high during binocular rivalry blocks (BR; short black arrows), FFA and PPA are strongly coupled and their responses are difficult to disambiguate. In contrast, when MFG activity is low, during non-rivalry blocks (nBR; long grey arrows), FFA and PPA are less coupled, and their activities evolve more independently.

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CONCLUSION:


As I have shown in AA), my perception, or empirical experience, is that there is no solitary instant where a decision of final relevance occurs. It appears to me that I can change my mind at any moment in at least as little as .2 second.

In fact, our decision making process is even more complex that a matter of evaluating and responding to one input at a time in a model that is linear. BB) shows that the process is multidimensional and at least bi-linear between several loci of brain activity, and is really non-linear in aspect. Our thoughts are part of the process in the generation of input to the decision process – CC) – on a level that is comparable to, although not equal with, visual perception(qualia).

In fact, my contention that qualia are equal to, or a component of mind, is borne out by these observations and analysis, and qualia are therefore not only relevant(much to the chagrin of Dennet and consciousness razor), BUT OF PRIMARY CONSIDERATION to our decisions.


DD)
Our visual qualia is competitive with our awareness of thoughts(qualia) and these are part of an ongoing, non-linear, multi-faceted evaluation process, the result of which is a conscious awareness and weighing of alternative futures, BEFORE AND DURING a non-specific time frame which is the evolving event that is vaguely construed as ‘the decision process.’

joey’s and my thinking is the correct interpretation of our behavior, and determinism is true, but reductionism is false.

How’d ya like them apples? ;)

[Addendum:
Abstract

This essay reviews recent developments in neurobiology which are beginning to expose the mechanisms that underlie some elements of decision-making that bear on attributions of responsibility. These “elements” have been mainly studied in simple perceptual decision tasks, which are performed similarly by humans and non-human primates. Here we consider the role of neural noise, and suggest that thinking about the role of noise can shift the focus of discussions of randomness in decision-making away from its role in enabling alternate possibilities and toward a potential grounding role for responsibility.

The neurobiology of decision-making and responsibility: reconciling mechanism and mindedness.

pretty picture!

Have we got all the bases covered, or what? LOL]
(this post was a motivated response)

Mind includes qualia

consciousness razor

In case you haven’t already read it, this is a nice little essay by Dennett: Quining Qualia

You can’t be serious! That is supposed to be an argument? I can’t believe that I dislike reading someone more that William Lane ‘Two Citations’ Craig, I really can’t – but this is shit.

I told you I would find fault with this, but I didn’t realize I could rip the shit out of it. I’ve barely gotten to the first of his “intuition pumps” sections, the first four.
I lost a post earlier when my connection fricking went down, but Lazarus saved my ass. This is what I wrote before I got half way throught the first section:

It is just that presumption of innocence I want to overthrow. I want to shift the burden of proof, so that anyone who wants to appeal to private, subjective properties has to prove first that in so doing they are not making a mistake.

WTF? What mistake is he talking about? He wants to shift the burden of proof! Don’t we all.
He is asking and writing by using his fucking qualia. He would not see the keyboard, or picture thoughts and string them together, if they weren’t fucking real.

My claim, then, is not just that the various technical or theoretical concepts of qualia are vague or equivocal, but that the source concept, the “pretheoretical” notion of which the former are presumed to be refinements, is so thoroughly confused that even if we undertook to salvage some “lowest common denominator” from the theoreticians’ proposals, any acceptable version would have to be so radically unlike the ill-formed notions that are commonly appealed to that it would be tactically obtuse–not to say Pickwickian–to cling to the term. Far better, tactically, to declare that there simply are no qualia at all.

This is pure an unadulterated bullshit, consciousness razor.
Just because you can’t describe or define something clearly and concisely is not a valid reason to dismiss it as irrelevant! Psychology is built on vague and ill defined ‘symptoms’ – look at all the controversy over the various versions of the DMV – but it would be ludicrous to dismiss behaviors. One could easily say, “What’s a behavior? where did it come from? We can’t do cognitive behavioral therapy, because the notion of having changing behavior is based on altering thinking, and that’s qualia!

You know what? I’m gonna skip to what I was getting at above. I was going to point out that there are other forms of knowledge than just mental awareness. We say that DNA is an information vesicle, that it is genetic information, yet the amino acid sequence and the protein folding, and the exact shape of the active sites blah blah means nothing to us. We understand the concept, but we cannot be merely informed of the molecular structure of a chromosome, and understand that it is really the ‘experience’ or manifestation of the color of the eyes the host will develop.

But that is irrelevant, anyways. Dennet would have it that because qualia are only accessible by the person experiencing them, that they have to prove they are there, that they are qualifiable, and that the experience of these qualia can be reliably communicated.
He says that they can’t, but HE IS WRONG. If I tell you that the water at the lake is cold, you know what I mean, and you understand what I am saying in no uncertain terms. You know what? This is insipid.
- – -
You also know what, consciousness razor? If this is the best you got, it is a major FAIL.

I can’t hardly be bothered to read this shit. After I read the first two parts that I quoted above, I tried to keep going on the promise that his intuition cascade, or whatever, would become clear.
But at almost every single sentence I saw something logically fucked up with his reasoning.. I am reminded of Craig’s defense of the ontological argument that goes from “It is possible that a maximally great being exists.”
to
“If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.”

You see what Craig did? A maximally great being DOES NOT EXIST in one possible world!!!!
That is a non sequitur How does he go from ‘a possibility’ to ‘a certainty?’ Adding a possibility to a possibility ≠ certainty! It = a possibility of a possibility, FFS!
- – -
Now, let’s look at Dennet’s words.

I want to shift the burden of proof, so that anyone who wants to appeal to private, subjective properties has to prove first that in so doing they are not making a mistake. This status of guilty until proven innocent is neither unprecedented nor indefensible (so long as we restrict ourselves to concepts). Today, no biologist would dream of supposing that it was quite all right to appeal to some innocent concept of lan vital. Of course one could use the term to mean something in good standing; one could use lan vital as one’s name for DNA, for instance, but this would be foolish nomenclature, considering the deserved suspicion with which the term is nowadays burdened

Elan vital is not equivalent to qualia. Dennet is trying to equate two unrelated ideas, the mysterious elan vital(vital force) with the mysterious qualia.
This is a reverse application of Choprawoo, a false analogy. Elan vital is a proposition from ignorance, qualia is a real experience. Qualia is not a hypothetical ‘mysterious force’ or even a ‘mysterious thing.’ We all know what is meant by qualia, we all have qualia, and even Dennet agrees that we all know what qualia is.
So why does he introduce this false analogy? He doesn’t think that it is false, but it is.
Elan vital is a mysterious force invented to explain a real thing: life.
Qualia is a real thing thing that is the result of an unknown ‘force,’ or process.

In conclusion (my Craig – Dennet comparison) I want to recall that Craig goes from a possibility to a certainty.
Dennet goes from a certainty(we all know what qualia are) to a possibly inexact definition(of qualia), to a certainty that there is no thing(qualia)!

Let’s clarify. If I describe to you that person x will show up wearing a neon green spandex thong at the tall obelisk over there, you will understand deeply what I mean, and you will be able to reliably imagine what that looks like. Otherwise, you would not be bothered to go meet a person if you couldn’t visualize what a dude in a neon green speedo looks like in a crowd of bundled people in the middle of a cold winter morning!

I know you have pictured this, that you have experienced the qualia that I am describing, quite well enough to actually draw a representation or your visualization that I would instantly recognize as the scene I described.

Qualia are not vague, sketchy, purely subjective events that cannot be reliably communicated to each other, for even the ‘experience’ of ‘seeing’ this scenario inside our heads is not mistakable for something else, barring cognitive impairment or some such.

Dennet deliberately cherry picks examples to illustrate his suppositions, and he uses loaded words in his depictment of the situation. He compares the insistent usage of the term qualia to a fanatical zeal to hold on to obviously incorrect beliefs.
This essay of his is stocked full of leading statements such as this, and he spares little expense at poisoning the well from the get go.
Try googling ‘Quinting Qualia Dennet criticism’ as I just did. I hope you are not surprised at the number of results.

I wish you people would not use someone’s opinions as formal proof of the validity of your dogma.
Qualia and mind are valid considerations in the free will debate. They have not categorically been shown to be irrelevant, and it is ludicrous to insist that something be ‘proved’ when everyone knows exactly what the fuck the word refers to. This ontological bullshit being substituted for formal logic is fucked right up, as far as I can tell. Just because you can’t classify something as a type of ‘x’, does not mean that that something doesn’t exist, or is irrelevant.

Qualia are not properties, they have properties. Anyways, I’m in over my head here, but insofar as whether qualia are things or properties, they are real.
They are not illusions, for they correlate to objective reality to a very high degree. Or maybe next time you are stalled on the tracks at a train crossing, and someone tells you that the Beeline Express will suddenly appear around the bend and be upon you before you know it, maybe then you can explain how you know exactly what to do to get your family the fuck out of the car and away from the impending shower of obliterated car parts.

The person is expressing an idea, that idea is visualized in your head, and you will be hurt or killed if you misunderstand the situation
so go ahead and tell me qualia are not real, or relevant. Tell me that our mind is not involved in fucking comprehending reality. It doesn’t matter where your brain regions and loci are that play a part in assembling into the perception of yourself, that there is no such thing as the mind, there’s a train coming, and that train is me ;)

See, that’s humor. Is humor a thing, or is it a property?

Oh, yeah. Qualia are brain processes, or states. Whether it’s a thought, or it’s an electrical current, they both are excitory.
Guess qualia have scientific uses after all.

Have I made a case for qualia? Have I made a case for qualia evoking brain states?
All I have left is to show that the brain is self modulating

The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity

Just thought this looks very interesting, a new book  By Bruce Hood

 

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful.
5″Are we all mistaken when it comes to knowing who we are?”
By TChris
Bruce Hood argues that the self is an illusion, “a powerful deception generated by our brains for our own benefit.” He contends that a correct understanding of self contradicts the popular view that we are individuals within our bodies, “tracing out a pathway through life, and responsible for our thoughts and actions.” His argument that the self is merely an illusion will probably not be well received by the portion of the mental health and self help industry that makes a living teaching people to understand themselves, control themselves, or change themselves. Hood argues that none of those objectives can be accomplished, although we might maintain the illusion that we have accomplished them, because we cannot change or control what does not exist.

Is the argument convincing? Yes and no. According to Hood, who we think we are is a product of external influences: “it is the experience of others that defines who we are.” Our brains manufacture models to make sense of the external world, and we experience those models as “a cohesive, integrated character,” but the model is just a construct, not a reality. I buy that, but I’m not sure the word “illusion” is synonymous with “mental construct.” I suppose one could argue that any product of the brain — a thought, an emotion, a sensation — is in some sense an illusion as opposed to a tangible reality, but I find it difficult to accept that any creation of the brain is an illusion.

Hood’s thesis, as summarized in the last chapter, is that the self is the product of the mind, built over time from observing externalities. I’m not sure why this means that the self is an illusion. A house is built over time from materials derived from external sources, but a completed house is no illusion. Yes, the self may be based on imperfect memories and misperceived experiences. Yes, the self is “continually shifting and reshaping” as external influences change. That tells me that the self is fluid, not that it isn’t real. Of course, Hood contends that the brain fights hard to protect the self illusion, and that may be exactly what my brain is doing as I write this. Even if “self” is an illusion, however — and Hood acknowledges this — it is a useful illusion, and one with which we are stuck. As Hood notes, we “need a pretty strong sense of self to survive,” so even if self is an illusion, it is one most of us need to embrace.

On the other hand, perhaps my quibble is only a semantic disagreement with Hood’s use of the word “illusion.” Much of Hood’s argument is indisputable. Hood presents the heart of his argument in the preface. The remainder of the book is packed with information. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the brain: how it functions and how it develops during infancy. Chapter 2 focuses on the social interaction of babies, who (Hood says) are hardwired with a Machiavellian ability to manipulate adults. He also discusses the development of self-consciousness during infancy. Chapter 3 explores the notion of the “looking-glass self” (the theory that we conceptualize ourselves based on how others see us), examines the role memory plays in the development of the sense of self, and discusses the phenomenon of false or induced memories. Hood’s premise is largely dependent upon this research. If our sense of identity is based on a composite of our memories, and if our memories are inherently unreliable, are we really who we think we are? Hood also discusses the role that gender and stereotypes play in shaping the sense of self, as well as autism and psycopathy, ADHD and impulse control. Chapter 7 discusses the fallibility of memory and the relationship between memory and identity.

Some aspects of the book are likely to be controversial, particularly the assertion that “the freedom to make choices is another aspect of the self illusion.” Chapter 4 suggests that people are not truly responsible for their actions — a point of view that is shunned by a criminal justice system. That brain injuries rather than conscious choice may lead to aggression or pedophilia is a reality that the law would prefer to ignore. More doubtful, however, is Hood’s assertion that our actions are never a product of free will. Toward the end of chapter 4, Hood acknowledges what seems obvious: even if free will doesn’t exist, we might as well accept the illusion that it does because the illusion makes us happy.

The most valuable concept that follows from Hood’s argument is his rejection of the notion that “winners,” extraordinary achievers who manage to overcome formidable obstacles, are inherently better than “losers,” the large majority of people who are limited by their circumstances. Hood asks why we blame people for failing to achieve “rather than the circumstances that prevent them from achievement.” I suspect that society isn’t ready to accept the ramifications of that simple question.

Much of the rest of The Self Illusion could come from Psychology Today. It’s all very interesting and Hood credibly connects the wide-ranging topics to his central premise. Do we lose our sense of individual identity in a crowd? Do we join groups to define our identity? Why do we fear ostracism? If the self can be easily molded (even made to do evil) by group membership, can a core self really exist? What do identity disorders say about our actual identity?

After absorbing as much of this information as I could, I think Hood’s evidence for the nonexistence of self can be summarized this way: 1. We do not always behave as we expect to behave. 2. We often behave as we think others expect us to behave. 3. When we are in a group, we engage in group behavior rather than behaving as individuals. 4. Behavior is sometimes caused by a mental disorder. This summary is too simplistic to be fair, but I don’t think the broader arguments in The Self Illusion convinced me that self is an illusion so much as it reinforced my understanding that the self is complex. Clearly we construct a sense of ourselves that is influenced by a variety of factors (from dopamine to Twitter), but I’m not sure that construct is illusory so much as it is malleable. In any event, Hood assembles a large amount of information that is useful and interesting, whether or not you ultimately agree that it proves his point.

Get the book here.

By Bruce Hood

Breaking: PCes uphold promise for transparent Government

Baird accuses budget watchdog of overstepping bounds

Their hypocrisy reached new levels of disrespect for the Canadian citizenry, making zero attempt to even bother disguising their contempt for the people that voted for them on a platform of increased transparency and government accountability.  Their belief that they are the rightful heirs to totalitarianism is revealed in unembarrassed honesty, and their transparent lying about their commitment to transparency paradoxically fulfills their promise to be transparent, and who the fuck said anything about accountability, that’s a different ball game that has nothing to do with transparency. They insist that they are being completely objective, and report that their word that they are behaving responsibly passes their rigorous standards of ethical conduct, and they are being accountable to themselves more than ever.

Criticism sends ‘strong message’

The government has criticized Page in the past, including for his estimated cost of the F-35 fighter jets. A report by Auditor General Michael Ferguson last April supported Page’s estimates rather than the government’s. Earlier this year, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty criticized Page for his assessment of Old Age Security being sustainable following changes to health-care funding.

Speaking after question period, Mulcair said Baird’s criticism looked pre-planned.

“He had his document in front of him, he was reading. This is something sent in by the Prime Minister’s Office, so it’s a warning that Kevin Page has made the ultimate mistake. He doesn’t tell the Conservatives what they want to hear. And he actually wants to be able to say the truth to the Canadian population,” Mulcair said.

“Right now the Conservatives are sending another strong message. You’re not allowed to disagree with them and, by the way, even if you have a mandate under the law to give information to parliamentarians and to the Canadian public, you can be starved of that information, even if it’s a clear infraction of the law.”

See? They aren’t trying to hide that fact whatsoever.

Is Dark Matter a Glimpse of a Deeper Level of Reality?

Is Dark Matter a Glimpse of a Deeper Level of Reality?

Something that’s been going through my mind lately, for around 4 or 5 months, with all the talk by determinists, is that it is premature to start saying we know everything about physics. It just strikes me that this is similar to about 120 years ago when some held the view that physics was complete, and all that was left to do were ever finer measuring of everything discovered.

This article at Scientific American explains recent attempts to theorize matters of space and time in ways that are outside the bounds of our minds to truly understand, such as time being an emergent property of a deeper reality, and even more bizarre things.

An example is made of dark matter, which does not seem t abide by the known properties of matter, and mention is made of MOND and other incomplete, but situationaly explanatory,  hypothesis and theories like Superstring.

It starts out by revisiting a 2 year old paper that was initially viewed with great scepticism, but has seen a resurgence of discussion lately:

Two years ago several of my Sci Am colleagues and I had an intense email exchange over a period of weeks, trying to figure out what to make of a new paper by string theorist Erik Verlinde. I don’t think I’ve ever been so flummoxed by physicists’ reactions to a paper. Mathematically it could hardly have been simpler—the level of middle-school algebra for the most part. Logically and physically, it was a head-hurter. I couldn’t decide whether it was profound or trite. The theorists we consulted said they couldn’t follow it, which we took as a polite way of saying that their colleague had gone off the deep end. Some physics bloggers came out and called Verlinde a crackpot.

There is the matter(lol) of dark matter and energy, and now speculation about what black holes really are:

In that case, black holes represent a new phase of matter. Outside the hole, the universe’s “degrees of freedom”—all that its most fundamental building blocks are capable of—are in a low-energy state, forming what you might think of as a crystal, with a fixed, regular arrangement we perceive as the spacetime continuum. But inside the hole, conditions become so extreme that the continuum breaks apart. “You can make spacetime melt,” Verlinde told me. “This is really where spacetime ends. To understand what goes on, you need to use these underlying degrees of freedom.” Those degrees of freedom cannot be thought of as existing in one place or another. They transcend space. Their true venue is a ginormous abstract realm of possibilities—in the jargon, a “phase space” commensurate with their almost unimaginably rich repertoire of behaviors.

As I have recently read, the question of Quantum effects being relevant in our brains with the knowledge, now, of a deep structure of nanotubes that may have functional components in the overall operation of neurons that we haven’t considered before, there is very much unknown regarding how the brain functions. There is Gödel’s proof that no purely deterministic system, such as a computer, can have consciousness. There is the inability to explain what ideas and our sensory perceptions really are by any stretch of ‘known’ physics, that determinist’s insist is irrelevant (even Gödel concludes this, though), with which I have serious reservations about right from the get go.

Much to boggle the mind these days, in any event!

A Taxonomy of Free Will Positions

Just found one of the most wicked reference sites for philosophy. I am looking at this page right now:

A Taxonomy of Free Will Positions.

Image chart displaying the taxonomy presented The Information Philosopher

Flow chart of free will topics covered and their interrelation

The description of the site is Information Philosopher is dedicated to the new Information Philosophy, with explanations for Freedom, Values, and Knowledge.

It is an incredibly comprehensive reference with the full section on Freedom published in book form, but available to read online, and download, by chapter, the whole  book :

Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy

Free Will: The Scandal in Philosophy was published June 19, 2011.

See the press release.

Order a copy from

Amazon, Amazon in the UK
Barnes & Noble
Harvard Book Store’s Espresso Book Machine

480 pages, 40 figures, 15 sidebars, glossary, bibliography, index.

Philosophers who want to review the work online can download a PDF.

To request a review/examination copy, send an email with your philosophy department mailing address to bobdoyle@informationphilosopher.com.

The references are complete and numerous – no explanation is not linked to the sources and philosophers the work is based upon.

See you next year!

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense: Scientific American

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense: Scientific American.

I, and others in the sceptical community, think that a resource that everyone can easily reference whenever Christians, other religious preachers, and I think should include  pseude-science and new ageist charlatans, posit well debunked and refuted talking points ad nauseum. I think I’ll start a category called Refutations, with the appropriate sub headings, for the over-used and oft presented idiocies, along with the places and documents and articles that contain the often well known and well ignored answers.

The Incivility Gender Gap | Marriage 3.0 | Big Think

The Incivility Gender Gap | Marriage 3.0 | Big Think.

Most interesting. There is lots of discussion around these matters lately regarding incivility on the internet and society in general:

Sixty-three percent “believe we have a major civility problem in America,” and 81% believe “incivility in our government is harming America’s future.”

Another blow to the boys club:

Incivility thrives when social life is niched and anonymous. Online comments sections are the most depressing and extreme example of America’s collective hair-trigger temper (it’s as if the nation is suffering from a wicked, mood-destroying hangover that drives them to lash out). In the most basic sense, incivility is a social practice exercised against people whom we do not know, understand, care about, regard, or respect. These people simply aren’t accorded the same rich humanity—they don’t seem as “real” to us—as those who live in our particular niche, or share our ever more sequestered, cabalistic worldview.

The smaller the community, the harder it is to be uncivil. Perhaps for these reasons, the study finds that rural Americans are judged the least uncivil, and urbanites the most.

The most striking finding to me is an apparent incivility gender gap. This year, the researchers wanted to get a more fine-grained perspective on perceptions of incivility by various demographic factors. They asked respondents who they considered to be uncivil, by sex, party affiliation, and so on.

The results, KRC research says, are “fairly stark.” In the case of sex differences, the results are tremendously so: 67% of people judged men to be more uncivil than women. Only 33% thought women were more uncivil.

Men and women in the survey were also “in agreement” about these positions, so it’s not that men find women uncivil and vice versa.

Are women the repository for civility today, or its ambassadors?

Your stunted opinion, slimebag?

Brainz Buffet!

Checkmate, mate.

Praise Tarti’

User name ≠ display name

Even though tushcloots is my user name on windaelicker, it isn’t for wordpress,com

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