[ExI] Why stop at glutamate?

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Thu Apr 13 11:59:58 UTC 2023

Hi Daniel,
But let me add a few things.
1) There are not many other particles to discover. At least, not
fundamental ones. The Standard Model of Physics is a pretty complete
picture of nature. That is something that not many people appreciate. Yes,
there are things we still need to understand in Physics, major ones, like
why QM and GR do not get along but in terms of fundamental blocks of nature
we know pretty much what they are and there is not much space for others.
That is what is both beautiful and sad in the current state of Physics.

2) About qualia, it is not that they are just meaningless but also that
people that care about them are usually open or closeted theists.
They believe that they are something magical and point to something unique
about humans that make us different from computers.

My main beef with Gordon is exactly around this issue. I think Gordon is a
very smart and eloquent person. I don't know much about his profession but
I'm an admirer of his passion and skills for bird photography. It is
obvious by his elaborated descriptions of his worldview that is a smart
person. But because of his superstitious belief (and I'm from other posts
he made he does believe in a creator for example), he wants to defend at
any cost his view that machines cannot be conscious, and that brains are
special. Why? Because humans are made in the image of god. It is that
simple. They can deny it but it is their main motivation. So
qualia==soul==God. And I say, f that.

Gordon goes all the way by finally admitting "I'm not a strict empiricist".
At the same time, he believes in the importance of grounding and referents.
LOL. You see the problem with these theists' views is that they contradict
themselves even internally not just in terms of how their view doesn't
match reality.

Jason, just posted a super interesting paper about consciousness showing
that all that is needed is just self-referential loops. I didn't read it
yet but that paper is exactly the type of work we need to put the nails in
the coffin of the soul believer's worldview.

One more thing about why the universe is just relations and not things. And
why there are no referents.
Let's talk about some of the most fundamental "things" in the universe.
Physical laws. Let's take one of the most fundamental laws of all. The
second law of Newton F=ma.

This law is a tautology. What do I mean? Well, it basically says if you
have an object A with mass m1 and you apply an external force F1 then the
object will experience an acceleration a1=F1/m1. But then you say but how
do you define mass? Well, it is the resistance that an object experiences
when we apply a force F1, so m1=F1/a1. You go back in a circle.

How do you get out of this madness? By understanding that F=ma is an
"operational definition" it is basically describing a relational way to
organize the world around us. What do I mean by this?

For example, to define what mass is do the above over and over for many
objects with mass m1, m2, and m3 that are organized in terms of how big
their acceleration is when I apply the same force. I have a pulley with a
weight attached that pulls objects with a given force F1 and I attach a
rope from the pulley to different objects m1, m2, and so on. I measure the
acceleration and then I can do m1<m3<m5<m2 and so on. I can order the
objects in terms of their mass in this way. But you see all that I know is
simply how these objects are related nothing else. No referents.
The same applies to other fundamental properties of nature like charge and
so on.

It is not obvious we can do this with everything, even abstract words, but
we can. Maybe the relationship is not a simple ordering, maybe it is some
more complicated relationship, but this is how we derive meaning for
anything, through relationships.

This is not my idea but how actually the world works and it is really the
only self-consistent and logical approach to knowledge.


On Thu, Apr 13, 2023 at 4:00 AM efc--- via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Wed, 12 Apr 2023, Giovanni Santostasi via extropy-chat wrote:
> > 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.
> > 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
> Hello Giovanni, you got me with nr 3! Every couple of years (well,
> probably decades) I stumble upon a good old qualia discussion, and I am
> kind of set in my ways (or someone hasn't persuaded me to change my
> view yet).
> So I apologize for potentially kicking a dead horse, but could you
> correct me?
> Last time I was engaged in this type of discussion, I ended
> up in the following "camp".
> 1. I think that materialism is quite a nifty way of explaining the world.
> And with "matter" I mean the current physics point of view all the way
> down to what ever particles are still not discovered.
> 2. Based on (1) I think qualia and redness is a "process" that includes
> object, subject, and interpretation of information and signals.
> 3. I think based on (1) and (2) that "subjective redness" is nonsense or
> at least meaningless, and I'll happily sacrifice that, souls and
> platonism to be consistent with 1 and 2 until proven wrong.
> Do I understand you _kind of_ correctly?
> Since I am not a physicist I'm just trying to understand if I managed to
> understand you correctly.
> Best regards,
> Daniel
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> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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