IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP

brain (fwd)

cmspecht at acsu.buffalo.edu cmspecht at acsu.buffalo.edu
Fri May 9 16:08:21 EST 1997

On Fri, 9 May 1997 Eugene.Leitl at lrz.uni-muenchen.de

> On Fri, 9 May 1997 cmspecht at acsu.buffalo.edu wrote:

> > the question of whether or not we are deterministic is not meaningles.  i
> > can immediately think of two reasons why: 
> > 1)	a fundamental basis of many religious beliefs is that we have
> > 	the capacity to make many decisions about our behavior

> I thought we were discussing (neuro)science here, not religion. These 
> domains obviously do not overlap at all.

no eugene, we are discussing free will.  have you read much about it?
there is much to learn in many disciplines.

and while i am well aware that science does not overlap with religion (and
am in fact not a believer), you cannot deny religious faith, eugene.  it
is real.  and there are many many many many ways of explaining the world.
science is one, and religion is one, and there are more.

> > (and if that isn't enough),
> > 2)	if you happen to study the brain (experimentally) you have to set
> > 	any notions of free will aside (at least in your laboratory) - 
> > 	for  one cannot suppose to understand the workings of the mind or
> > 	any behavior if it is not physical and measurable.
> >  
> > intuitively, it is very difficult to think that our behavior is completely
> > mechanistic.  however, there is not a single documented case of a
> > non-physical (i.e. anti matter (free will if it did not have a physical
> > function as a neural outcome)) event conclusively determining a physical
> > event.  and yet there are a gazillion examples where physical events have
> > been shown to cause the non-physical.
> Ignoring spiritualism, I actually thougth the free will to be a nonissue. 

then i suggest you get reading.  perhaps physicists 'ignore' the
construct, but many scientists do not.

> I cannot even predict the outcome of a simple cellular automaton at t+1024 
> without going through all the tedia of simulating it. Who cares if a 
> physical system is deterministic at the superstring level, if I cannot 
> use this to predict diddlysquat.

basic logic, eugene -

if you demonstrate a single deterministic physical system yet you are not
able to predict from it DOES NOT MEAN that you cannot predict from ANY
deterministic physical system.

> Ever worse, as I am not God, I cannot 
> read the system state at t without destroying it, and I have no clue 
> about the true Hamiltonian. Wondering about free will is the least of my 
> worries in this case.

Is this about YOU or the poster's question concerning free will?
> > the question is NOT a simple one, whether quantum mechanics is the law or
> > is not.  so far, it cannnot ultimately explain consciousness.
> In a scientific frame of refenence, there is no "consciousness". So far 
> there is no evidence of "consciousness" to be a nonphysical process. So 
> the question is, is QM adequate to explain all physical processes? Of 
> course not. Relativity and QM are known to be unresolvable. We still lack 
> GUTs. 

(where did you hear this?)
when you've read a bit you will have learned that there is MOST definitely
a consciousness from a scientific reference. for pete's sake, what you
are thinking at this moment is contained there.

> Must we resort to Holy Grail science to explain (away) cognition, 
> however? Computational physics has made good progress with simplifications, 
> as has computational neuroscience. I see no evidence for the turning of 
> the tide.

i do not understand this point so i cannot reply.

> > i would suggest to the original poster that this is more a question dealt
> > with by the philosophers (not that this precludes, by any means, a
> > scientist from attempting to understand it).
> Philosophy != science. I thought we had ample evidence from the history, 
> about insight-gaining properties of philosophy (or, better, lack 
> thereof).

i do not understand this whatsoever.  have you no use for philosophers
either, eugene?

> > for some good, well-written work on the latest
> > scientific/cognitive/philosophical view (called cognitive revolution or
> > the mentalistic paradigm), i would suggest a book of essays by johnathan
> > searle (philosopher) entitled "minds, brains and science," or the late
> > writings on the subject (and experimental work in the visual system) by
> > francis crick.
> > colleen specht

> ciao,
> 'gene

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net