[ExI] Why stop at glutamate?

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Thu Apr 13 22:49:57 UTC 2023

On Thu, Apr 13, 2023 at 1:59 PM efc--- via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Thu, 13 Apr 2023, Jason Resch via extropy-chat wrote:
> > qualia being that way, or conceive of them being that way, but I don't
> think it is necessary to. I think qualia are real, humans have
> > them, and an appropriately programmed computer could have them too.
> >
> ...
> > Qualia are incommunicable for several reasons (incomparability,
> complexity, limitations of language, limits of introspection, the
> If qualia are real, but something which can never be communicated, don't
> you think you open a can of worms?

Since Galileo, science has removed any discussion of qualities (*how is it?*)
from science and made science exclusively about quanta (*how much is it?*).
If the can of worms is opened, I would not say that I am the one who opened
it. Rather, it has been a feature and limitation of our language as long as
humans have had language. I can tell you how many feet tall Mt. Everest is,
but I can't tell you how Mt. Everest looks to me. I can tell you how many
calories are in a Hershey's kiss but not tell you how it tastes to me.
Communication is only possible where there exists common ground. We have
common ground in the quanta/numbers/measurements of the physical world, but
we lack common ground between our own internal states of mind.

Which part is it that you disagree with:
1. That qualia are real
2. That qualia cannot be communicated

> There are plenty of concepts that can be argued, are real, but can never
> be experienced by others or communicated, and I think this is fertile
> breeding ground for misconceptions and endless debates.

Perhaps this accounts for the endless debates around consciousness over the
past few hundred years.

> I think I misunderstand you.
> I come to think about Wittgenstein and his language games, and that
> qualia would have meaning in the 1 player game (by design) of yourself. ;)
> But would break down when extended, because due to our very nature and
> the limits of current technology, it will always be a 1 player game.
> > There are rational definitions of God. Some religions define God as all
> of reality (e.g. Brahman), which exists by definition. Other
> Yes, I quite like Spinozas idea. If I would be a believer, I think it is
> quite an attractive view in a way.
> > Likewise, as my other post showed, purely rationalistic theories of
> consciousness, (such as computationalism), imply that
> I read a long post on your blog and I quite liked it. Maybe you could
> even expand on it by writing a book? =)

I am. :-)

> > In the end, the goals of the theist and the scientist are the same, to
> find the truth, and better understand our place and in
> > reality.
> Are you sure? I would say that the scientist wants to find the truth and
> increase his understanding, but the theist would want to experience the
> truth, but has no requirements when it comes to understanding and the
> way or methodology of finding it.
> I think this would be an excellent topic for a separate thread.

I agree.

> > "I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative
> from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness.
> > Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing,
> postulates consciousness."
> > -- Max Planck in “Interviews with Great Scientists” (1931)
> Do we start from the world, or from our consciousness of it?

Whether the world or consciousness is more fundamental, is another topic. I
am of the opinion it depends how we define world. I think there is
something operating below our consciousness which accounts for it, but
also, that in a certain sense, our consciousness is more fundamental than
the apparent physical reality we find ourselves in. This takes a lot of
background to explain, but I cover it in this article:
https://alwaysasking.com/why-does-anything-exist/ (or if you prefer video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hGH-roVl3w )

But I would say that at least our knowledge of the world begins with our

"It is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that
the substratum of everything is of mental character. But no one can deny
that mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience, and all
else is remote inference."
-- Arthur Eddington in “The Nature of the Physical World

"Admittedly our sense perceptions constitute our sole knowledge about
things. This objective world remains a hypothesis, however natural."
-- Erwin Schrödinger in "Mind and Matter

"We are able to perform observations and experiments only because we have
conscious experience of the world around us. In this sense, scientific
knowledge is dependent on the reality of consciousness."
Phillip Goff in "Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of

> I read
> somewhere, can't remember where, that theology starts from god and tries
> to derive the world, and philosophy (the quote I think was before the
> strict separation of philosophy from science) starts with the world and
> tries to drive god.

Great quote. :-)

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