[ExI] Religious idiocy (was: digital nature of brains)

Eric Messick eric at m056832107.syzygy.com
Fri Feb 5 00:10:05 UTC 2010

Stefano writes:
>So, is the integer "3" a word symbol or a sense symbol?

The integer 3 is a concept for which a brain probably has a symbol.
That symbol will be distinct from the symbol for the word "three", and
both are distinct from the impressions (represented by sense symbols)
generated when someone views a hand with three fingers held up.  All
those symbols are related to each other, and activation of any one is
likely to make it easier to activate any of the others.

> And what about the ASCII decoding of a byte?

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking here.  ASCII maps byte values
to stereotypical glyphs, so I'm assuming you're referring to the glyph
'3' as a decoding of the byte value 0x33.  When you look at that
glyph, a particular sense symbol will be activated, which will likely
lead to activation of the corresponding concept and word symbols
mentioned above.

> Or the rasterisation of the ASCII symbol?

Again, I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at.  Is that
rasterisation what shows up on your video monitor when the computer
displays the '3' glyph?  I could think about the concept of that
occurring, or I could look at the result (see above).

>And what difference would exactly make?

Not much, really.  They're just names for things, so we can talk about
them.  The brain probably uses similar mechanisms to process all those
symbols.  That processing is likely confined to different areas of the
brain for each type of symbol, though.  I don't think anyone knows yet
how the brain does any of this processing.  We don't even know much
about how the symbols might be encoded, although theories do exist.

I happen to like William Calvin's theory as presented in "The Cerebral


I don't think we're yet to the point where we can put that theory to
the test.

We do know a good deal about the low level processing, but things get
complicated as we climb the abstraction ladder.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list