[ExI] Molecular Materialism

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Mon Dec 30 20:12:44 UTC 2019

Hi Stuart,

On Mon, Dec 30, 2019 at 4:23 AM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Quoting Brent Allsop:
> > Stuart LaForge pointed out some great new ways to empirically test for
> > Molecular Materialism.
> >
> >
> > Will responded to some of the other stuff Stuart was saying with:
> >
> >
> > determining what wavelengths can be seen is not the same as determining
> > what qualia are experienced.
> >
> >
> > I agree with Will here.  I think it is incorrect to assume that glutamate
> > or redness is always affiliated with red light.  It is more likely that
> > whatever is most important to that particular species will be represented
> > with glutamate/redness.  We need to be able to pick the strawberries from
> > the green leaves.  Since the strawberries are most important to us, and
> > since the ripe ones are the ones that reflect red light, that is why our
> > brain chooses to highlight the important ripe ones with glutamate
> redness.
> > For example, I believe bees can see wavelengths we can?t, which are the
> > wavelengths most likely to be reflected by flowers containing the most
> > nectar.  It is likely that evolution used glutamate redness to represent
> > these different raveling?s of light to highlight what is important to the
> > bees.
> Don't back-pedal on me here, Brent. If "redness" is not correlated
> with red light, then "redness" is a misnomer.

But who's redness?  Remember there is a good chance that your redness is
what most people represent green with.  So who's redness would be
correlated with red light?

> If glutamate is
> associated with red strawberries in humans and the ultraviolet
> signature of flowers burgeoning with nectar in honeybees, then the
> glutamate molecule cannot be said to have the redness quale as a
> property.

This doesn't follow at all.  Why couldn't a bee use my redness to represent
knowledge of something, different, entirely?

> Instead, the best one could say is that glutamate is a
> component of some systems that have the redness quale as a property in
> the context of red light and yet others that have the "yummy flower"
> quale as property in the context of ultraviolet light. That would mean
> that qualia are mental constructs instead of physical properties.

I'm having troubles understanding the way you think about consciousness or
what you are trying to say here.
Any "mental construct" must be physical, right?

You would then be forced to admit you have an abstract soul
> constructed of math and numbers, poor thing. But, take heart for so do
> the honeybees, and you have it so much better than they do.

How does thinking redness is just a colorness property of something like
glutamate, and that glutamate can be engineered to represent anything
knowledge lead one to we have a "soul constructed of numbers"?

> Bat?s use echolocation instead of light.  Their echolocation can detect
> > objects in the air.  I'd predict that a bat's brain uses the same
> > redness/glutamate to highlight whatever echolocated data was is important
> > to the bat.
> Yes. Now you get it, glutamate is a symbol whose meaning is purely
> subjective. Congratulations, you are finally qualia blind. :-)

The word "red" is an abstract symbol, we can define it any way we want.
Physical redness is a set of physics which can also be a symbol we can use
to represent anything we want.
We can define redness to represent red light, or green light, or knowledge
of echolocated bugs flying through the air, just as we can do with the word
"red"  But there is nothing the word red is like, while redness is physical
This model is the opposite of a qualia blind model, so I don't understand
what you are trying to say or describe.
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