[ExI] Why stop at glutamate?

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Tue Apr 11 08:47:27 UTC 2023

On Tue, Apr 11, 2023, 12:05 AM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> You guys are just pulling my leg right?


  You really understand these simple (what is the code, and what is the
> referent) ideas

I couldn't tell you how they are encoded, but I can tell you that the only
way we know of so far, for disparate brain regions to communicate with one
another is by way of nerve signals. Therefore I hypothesize that
information, including both low level discriminations like color, as well
as high level discriminations like 'dog' or 'cat' are transmitted from one
part of the brain to the other in the on and off signalling of nerves. How
about you, do you think there is a certain neurotransmitter specific for
each word in our brain?

 and are just giving me a hard time?

No, at least not intentionally.

> Either way, you failed to answer the all important question: How do you
> decode what is encoded?

With a decoding process. Think: how does a modem or digital TV signal
decoder work? There are means why which any information, pictured, sound,
video, can be serialized to a string of bits and then on the other
receiving end, turned back into some meaningful representation. This is the
essence of all data communication and data storage systems.

I propose the brain uses nerves both to transmit data, as well as neural
networks to process, encode or decode data. To my knowledge this is the
conventional understanding within neuroscience.

What is the referent?

The signals may reference or represent relationships, encodings or
information and memories in other parts of the brain. When your brain
builds it's visual representation of the world around you approximately as
much data is pulled from memory as is brought it from the optic nerves.
Data and references from past experiences are brought in to construct an
understanding of what is being seen based on clues from the patterns taken
in by the senses.

You guys are talking about the code, that isn't like anything, so it needs
> a dictionary to know what it means,

Instead of dictionaries think of pattern recognizers. Those are the
building blocks of most of the neocortex. The brain has tens of millions of
them (or maybe hundreds of millions?), That is what each neocortical column
is and does. It take some signal and process it to recognize what it is and
what it represents.

I am talking about the referent that is what you get when you decode the
> word 'red'.  Where is the grounding in any of what you are talking about?

Ultimately in the patterns and relationships that word has to all the other
parts of your brain they get activated when as the word 'red' is processed
by the language center of your brain and communicated out and shared with
other parts of the brain.

Where is the meaning?

Same answer as my above paragraph.

Where is the quality, which the code word red is a label for?

If you are talking about color now rather than the word red, then the same
answer as above but substitute 'word' with 'color' and substitute 'language
center' with 'visual center' in the above paragraph.

(No I am not trying to pull your leg, this is the kind of answer that
nearly any neuroscientist woukd give you for questions like these.)


> On Mon, Apr 10, 2023 at 9:13 PM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Mon, Apr 10, 2023, 8:51 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> Hi Jason,
>>> Great, qualities are "encoded in the patterns of neural activity" could
>>> be a theory that is not yet experimentally falsified.
>>> I know there are many others that have made similar claims, I just
>>> haven't been able to get anyone to canonize that theory,
>> What theory is it? I could see materialists, mind brain identity
>> theorists, neural correlationists, and functionalists all potentially
>> agreeing with that statement.
>> so people like you could just join that camp.  I suspect it might be kind
>>> of like I can't get any of the many people that bleat and tweet things
>>> like  "in defense of naive realism" to canonizer the theory that predicts
>>> redness is a property of the strawberry.
>> Does anyone believe that? People have, for at least 2300 years,
>> recognized that color exists in us, not in the world. Democritus, Galileo,
>> Newtown, Shrodinger, have all said that.
>>> Can I ask you another question?  You say qualities are "encoded."  To
>>> me, a "code" is something that is not what it represents, like the word
>>> "red" merely represents its grounding referent.  Or a physical hole in a
>>> paper may be a physical property that isn't a redness property and only
>>> represents another property (requiring a transducing dictionary to tell you
>>> the meaning of the code).
>>> How would you decode, what is "encoding" those qualities?  Please don't
>>> tell me you'd use light. ;)
>> Other parts of the brain decode the meaning of the signals they receive.
> They decode it to WHAT?  Decoding from one code, to another code, none of
> which is like anything nor are they grounded is not yet grounding
> anything.  It is still just a code with no grounded referent so you can't
> truly decode them in any meaningful way.
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