Ends and Odds

This is assortment of miscellaneous stuff I’ve come upon recently.

Feel free to comment on them or any topic you like as long as it is relating broadly to the topics I tend to discuss on this blog. .

Kinetic Art

I posted the above as a comment in another blog but didn’t get much reaction. I generally hate videos as taking too much time but this one is only 55 seconds.

What strikes me as how well this represents the brain and nervous system. You need to see the whole video to get the point. At the back are metal plates that receive the energy of the wind (sensory neurons). The energy from the plates rotation is transmitted to a sort of hub that modifies the input (thalamus) and posses it on to the panels of the face (cortex) that fluctuate according to the sensory input. What’s missing is the internally generated stimuli. What we have a fundamentally reactive, somewhat mimetic, system that can generate patterns. The brain and its neurons must be similarly. Individual neurons or assemblies of them have no knowledge themselves. They can only react and tune themselves to react better based upon rules we have yet to discover. No programming is required.

Particles are emergent properties of fields

I’ve been following Tim Andersen on The Infinite Universe. He also has some interesting ideas about electromagnetism, quantum mechanics interpretations, and a spatial dimensions beyond our three. This post argues as I do that:

Everything you are made of emerges from fields as part of the process of decoherence.

That doesn’t mean that metaphysically, particles don’t exist. That would be like saying that a state change like ice melting “doesn’t exist” just because it is an emergent property of many water molecules changing their behavior. Rather, it means that what we call particles are not fundamental to our universe. They are a state or process of fields rather than fundamental objects themselves.

We Are Electric

Just got the book by Sally Adee and it looks interesting. It begins with Galvani and Volta and goes to bioelectronics. It isn’t just about or even primarily about consciousness.

I am also re-impressed how great the SELFO paper was from Alison Hanson that I have discussed previously.

Looking at the rhythmic electrochemical oscillations at all levels of life, we can better understand the evolutionary origins of consciousness. The slow waves which appear in very primitive seem conserved all the way up to the human brain and fit well for the master integration circuits that generate consciousness. Some day we have a more complete picture of this evolution and understanding how consciousness arises in life.

Why condensed matter physicists reject reductionism

If you needed reasons to reject reductionism, there are some good ones in the article. Apparently in condensed matter physics no body can actually use reductionism to explain anything. Some might pay homage to it as a principle but it is useless for explaining anything.

What is interesting to me is that it’s the people who actually do the work in studying the higher levels of structure that are often the ones most convinced that reductionism doesn’t really work. Now physicists are not philosophers, which means that they are not trained to see the ontological and epistemological meaning of the theories they create. But I do think it’s telling that those closest to complexity have the deepest intuitions of and commitments to emergence.

I think condensed matter physics might be the closest we have at the moment for explaining consciousness with a theory direct from physics. Consciousness is swarm of virtual photons (FYI the particle tied to EM fields) forming its own “condensed matter” so to speak. Perhaps?

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15 Responses to Ends and Odds

  1. Spectacular video. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wonder what the difference would be between rules we have yet to discover and programming we have yet to discover.

    The particle vs field thing is something I’ve wrestled with on and off for years. The question for me is, fields of what? Decoherence seems to make a particle a pinched off bit of a field. Which makes it feel like a field is a composite of all those pinched off bits. But the dynamics of those bits are never independent, the way they’d be with classic particles. So it seems like we can definitely say classic particles aren’t fundamental. But we could talk about a reconstructed version of them as the foundation of fields. Maybe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • James Cross says:

      “fields of what?”

      Fields have associated particles. The virtual photon is the particle of the EM field.

      They had to bring in virtual particles so they could explain how particles exchange information and interact.

      Liked by 2 people

      • There was an article or blog post a few years ago from a physicist who insisted that virtual particles weren’t real particles, just something to make the math work. But it seems like many discoveries in physics start out as just something to make the math work.

        Liked by 2 people

        • James Cross says:

          The fact virtual particles are needed “to make the math work” should make you question the idea of particles.

          Liked by 2 people

        • In the sense that maybe they’re all virtual? Maybe. Or maybe we should focus on the part where they’re a necessary part of the accounting. Ultimately is “real” anything more than what works?

          Liked by 2 people

        • Hasn’t anyone watched John Stewart Bell’s theorem suggesting that the nature of reality is that only as conscious observers do we conjure articles into their existence? (See the video of the Secrets of Quantum Physics video from 33:00 minutes)

          Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          No and have mixed (largely negative) feelings about the idea.

          I would say that our knowledge of reality and the objects of consciousness are created by conscious observers, but reality underlying the conscious object is more than what any one conscious observer observes and exists independently from any conscious observer.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Unless I’m mistaken, Bell’s Theorem is scientific fact as seen in the video.
          Conscious observers ie Simulation Theory (3rd option) you are purporting? If not that.. Panpsychism?

          Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          I’m not arguing we are living in a simulation. I am arguing our model of the world is a simulation.

          Liked by 1 person

        • How do you come to that realisation?

          Liked by 1 person

        • James Cross says:

          I wouldn’t call it a “realization” as much as the only viable conclusion.

          Certainly any notion that conscious observers conjure objects in existence may or may not have some relevance to the quantum world, but it clearly doesn’t work at all in the classical world. If a train is coming down the tracks, it might be I conjure features and attributes of the train into existence but I can’t with my own thought make the train disappear. Unless you insert into the metaphysics something like a mind of God to conjure existence. then reality exists outside conscious minds.

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        • The video which is almost unsearchable is here: The Secrets of Quantum Physics 1of2 Einsteins Nightmare | Watch Documentary (BBC Four) https://youtu.be/JeNhGJdCqpg

          Like

  3. Philosopher Eric says:

    On the body electric, I see that McFadden has referred to this as a sort of prehistory to his cemi. I just watched his month old interview on the Chasing Consciousness podcast, which filled in some gaps for me regarding his quantum biology stance. Though it’s becoming more and more validated in opposition with status quo interests, it’s his cemi that I think will eventually propel him to the very highest echelon of thinkers in science. https://www.chasingconsciousness.net/episode-35-johnjoe-mcfadden-quantum-biology

    Liked by 1 person

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