[ExI] Why stop at glutamate?

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Thu Apr 13 03:18:53 UTC 2023

*This is the heart of the problem. The idea that 'a code' has to refer to
'something'. Some concrete, non-code, non-signal 'thing'. That is a
misconception. There is no 'like anything'. Really.*
No matter how many examples, applications, reasoning, logical proof, and
evidence from experiments we give to Brent and Gordon they cling to their
nonscientific view. I still engage in this conversation for a few reasons.

1) It is kind of fun even if something is frustrating 2) It makes me think
deeper about certain issues that I give for granted because the
functionalist, relational way of thinking is pretty natural to me and it is
difficult to see how somebody thinks in a different way. But I see how
misguided that way of thinking is. That is simply not how the universe
works. 3) Maybe people on the fence or casual observers of this list can
read these debates and think more deeply about these issues too. They are
very important in terms of the consequences in particular for what concerns
the general topic of AI consciousness and if the AIs are minds that should
be respected and given rights like ours. It is a very important topic to me
and humanity in general.

I want to make a correction to Ben's statement that is Turtles all the way
down. The Turtles go deep but not all the way down. It stops in a place
similar to the way we derive set theory from the null set. All that you
need is nothing, that splits in 0 and non-0, and so on and you get
In physics, we have plenty of evidence everything came from nothing.
Creation is just a re-arrangement of nothingness. You have nothing you dig
a hole somewhere in the nothing and now you have -1 and 1 (the stuff you
dug from nothing), the total is still zero but you have 2 things instead of
nothing. In our universe, we also got some very small asymmetry to preserve
a little more 1s than -1s but that is another story. But basically yes,
everything is just signals, and codes, and there are no referents. The
information is all in the relations.

This is not just a worldview is really what everything we know about
physics, math, biology, and neuroscience so far. I'm not sure why it is
stated there are camps. There are no camps in fundamental physics about
this, maybe some isolated thinkers that have some pre-conceived ideas about
reality and their positions are more like politics than a real scientific
view and understanding.
There are few topics that are still bastions of this pre-scientific way of
thinking mostly because the subject is complex, in particular neuroscience.
It used to be that the topic of the origin of life had a lot of weirdos
like that with their ideas of esprit vital that turns out to be bs.

Now consciousness attracts a lot of these bad thinkers, mostly
"philosophers" of mind that have the equivalent of vital spirit garbage as
their explanation of why human minds are so different from artificial
It is the last bastion, the last corner of reality where they can hide, but
not for long.
Soon there will be the equivalent of the flood of evidence we have right
now about the origin of life that their positions would be considered a
footnote of history and something to ridicule.


On Wed, Apr 12, 2023 at 6:24 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 12, 2023 at 11:49 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On 12/04/2023 16:01, Jason Resch wrote:
>> > Just when I thought I understood your theory this last paragraph above
>> > completely undermines that understanding.
>> Have you considered that it might just be, literally, nonsense?
>  At this point in time, there are over 40 people, explicitly supporting
> <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Theories-of-Consciousness/6-Representational-Qualia>,
> the petition saying they agree with what we are all saying, concisely and
> quantitatively.
> Do you think there is any chance an argument like "It's just Turtles, all
> the way down." could achieve anything close to that amount of support?
> On Wed, Apr 12, 2023 at 1:58 PM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> 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
>> This is the heart of the problem. The idea that 'a code' has to refer to
>> 'something'. Some concrete, non-code, non-signal 'thing'. That is a
>> misconception. There is no 'like anything'. Really.
>> "Decoding the meaning" just means mapping a set of signals to another set
>> of signals. That's all. Associating signals together. All there is are
>> signals, the brain doesn't (can't) deal with anything else. The signals
>> ultimately come from the sense organs, which detect patterns in the
>> environment. (more signals, really). It's just Turtles, all the way down.
>> This insistence that the brain has to contain 'real things' that are not
>> neural signals is pathological, really. It goes against all the evidence
>> and logic, and just leads to endless pointless arguing. This concept
>> belongs with phlogiston and the luminiferous aether. We know better now.
>> I think we should stop at glutamate, and give it a decent burial.
> We predict experimentalists will soon prove which camp is THE ONE, forcing
> everyone into it.
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