What is a decision in phoodoo world?

This is a thread to allow discussions about how those lucky enough to have free will make decisions.

As materialism doesn’t explain squat, this thread is a place for explanations from those that presumably have them.

And if they can’t provide them, well, this will be a short thread.

So do phoodoo, mung, WJM et al care to provide your explanations of how decisions are actually made?

2,199 thoughts on “What is a decision in phoodoo world?

  1. CharlieM: I am open to the possibility of software systems being able to think one day. But if it does happen it will because they were created by thinking beings in the first place.

    I suspect that if it does happen it will have evolved. After all, that’s the only path to thinking beings for which we have evidence.

  2. Kantian Naturalist: The article you linked to actually has extensive discussions of theories by neuroscientists who have examined this case. That itself is sufficient to show that there’s no reason to conclude from this pathology that consciousness is generated by something that violates the laws of fundamental physics.

    By fundamental physics do mean quantum physics, classical physics or both? And would you say that quantum physics violates the laws of classical physics?

  3. Patrick: I suspect that if it does happen it will have evolved.After all, that’s the only path to thinking beings for which we have evidence.

    Do you mean evolved in a way similar to how Microsoft Windows has evolved? Or do you mean evolved by blind processes?

  4. newton:

    CharlieM: In that case the group of entities is classed as the entity that is doing the understanding.

    Even if it is non coordinated?

    Can you give me an example of a non coordinated group of entities understanding or explaining anything?

  5. CharlieM:

    I suspect that if it does happen it will have evolved.After all, that’s the only path to thinking beings for which we have evidence.

    Do you mean evolved in a way similar to how Microsoft Windows has evolved? Or do you mean evolved by blind processes?

    Closer to the latter, but without the misleading “blind” term. I suppose that models of physical brains could be another route or input to a non-biological strong AI.

  6. CharlieM: Do you mean evolved in a way similar to how Microsoft Windows has evolved? Or do you mean evolved by blind processes?

    Why, do we have evidence that thinking has evolved in a way similar to how Microsoft Windows has evolved?

    We’re waiting for any meaningful evidence for that, as well as for any agent that would be a good candidate for effecting such a process. Meanwhile, we have the evidence of the evolutionary processes being both “smarter than you” and “dumber than you” that we’d expect of “blind” evolutionary development.

    Glen Davidson

  7. phoodoo:
    OMagain,

    Can a person with 150 IQ fix a car twice as fast as a person with a 75 IQ?

    Can the person with a 150 IQ draw something twice as realistic as the person with 75?Do they sing twice as good?Play tennis twice as good?Remember twice as many dates?

    Would a person with a 115 IQ have used the word ‘realistic’ there?

  8. phoodoo: Robin: What’s the size of the heat in your oven?What’s the size of the decay of plutonium 239?

    Perhaps…just maybe…there are other ways to measure material besides size…

    I could go to all the trouble of explaining to you the measurements of heat and radioactivity (decay is a concept, you understand it is not a thing right?) but then we would miss the essential question- Do you believe intelligence is a material object?

    Decay is not simply a concept Phoodoo; it’s an actual observed, material phenomenon.

    In any event, that you seem to think you have to “go to all the trouble of explaining to [me] the measurements of heat and radioactivity” rather than simply providing the sizes I asked for proves my point: simply asking for the size of someone’s intelligence is an erroneous question.

    As to your question – do I believe that intelligence is a material object – the answer is no, I do not believe such. I know it is a material characteristic of neurological activity.

  9. CharlieM:
    So do you agree that it is possible to have thinking beings that consist of pure energy?

    The concept of “pure energy” things is tossed out from time to time and whenever I come across it, I really wonder what the people proposing such mean. Even a rudimentary understanding of E=MC^2 should lead one to conclude that Pure Energy is meaningless (well…ok…a rudimentary understanding likely leads to the misunderstanding…)

  10. Patrick,

    He, nor any other materialist on this site, has offered ANY views about how a brain makes a decision.

    So why should there be any burden on the immaterialist to go even further than your side has? Its a silly game. Of course, one escape out for you guys is apparently to claim you are not materialists, nor are you immaterialists.

    How clever.

  11. phoodoo,

    He, nor any other materialist on this site, has offered ANY views about how a brain makes a decision.

    Yes they have. But in any case, that’s OT for this thread. See the other thread.

    So why should there be any burden on the immaterialist to go even further than your side has?

    It’s nice that you admit your position has nothing. But the fact remains there is much literature on decision making in physical, chemical brains. You may not believe it, but it exists. And as such there is your burden right there. On the other side is the beginnings of a explanation, on your side it’s just you pouting and saying you won’t give your explanation until the other side has given theirs. And, of course, at which point there will be no need, desire or even memory of your promise.

    Its a silly game. Of course, one escape out for you guys is apparently to claim you are not materialists, nor are you immaterialists.

    And of course your chosen escape has been on display in every comment that you make on this thread where you don’t explain how decisions are made in phoodoo world.

    If you can’t explain, fine, admit it as you have just done.

    So, to be clear, you have nothing and are fine with that and will continue to deny that some level of explanation exists on the other side.

    Once again, this thread has served its desired purpose. Excuse after excuse.

  12. OMagain,

    Already been answered multiple times. Why do you continue to evade the question? Are you learning your dodging skills from Richard? Every time he want to avoid tough questions he accuses the other side of dodging.

    Now your excuse it, there are books out there that explain it?

    Richard would be proud of the new wrinkle you have added. Claim the answer exists in the ether.

  13. Mung: Stuff happens. A Decision!

    That’s Phoodoo World for ya. Immaterial stuff happens: A Decision! No one apparently can say how…

  14. Robin: That’s Phoodoo World for ya. Immaterial stuff happens:

    It’s very telling. On the one hand they have literally nothing to offer, and on the other they devalue other people’s work until it has no value either. Presumably so they don’t feel so bad.

    phoodoo,

    Already been answered multiple times. Why do you continue to evade the question?

    There are no questions for me to answer on this thread. Re-read the title at the top of your browser window.

    Now your excuse it, there are books out there that explain it?

    I don’t know what you are talking about.

    Richard would be proud of the new wrinkle you have added. Claim the answer exists in the ether.

    I don’t know what you are talking about. I may have been having a conversation with somebody else perhaps. But for you I have only one question, and I bet you can guess what it is by now.

  15. fmm,

    There can be no mechanism involved because if there was the entire system would be algorithmic. So it is fruitless to look for the exact process that occurs.

    I think that integrated information theory is a good step forward in this regard but it’s not the end of the story.

    Your second paragraph seems to contradict your first. How on earth do you know it’s not the end of the story, out of interest? Have they not yet got to the bit of magic you know exists along the way to the magical soul fairy? Nothing in that link requires any immaterial ideas along the lines of the ones you and phoodoo espouse. So I’m not really sure why you brought it up. It does the opposite of you want.

    Q: How are decisions made in phoodoo world?
    A: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_information_theory
    Q: So you admit you have nothing re: immaterial decisions separate from mere chemical causality?
    A: I think that integrated information theory is a good step forward in this regard but it’s not the end of the story. God is still at the end of the rainbow, I’m sure.

    Laughable.

  16. fmm,
    From that link:

    The ability to perform this jump from phenomenology to mechanism rests on IIT’s assumption that if a conscious experience can be fully accounted for by an underlying physical system, then the properties of the physical system must be constrained by the properties of the experience.

    Did you even read it?

  17. OMagain:
    fmm,

    Your second paragraph seems to contradict your first. How on earth do you know it’s not the end of the story, out of interest? Have they not yet got to the bit of magic you know exists along the way to the magical soul fairy? Nothing in that link requires any immaterial ideas along the lines of the ones you and phoodoo espouse. So I’m not really sure why you brought it up. It does the opposite of you want.

    Q: How are decisions made in phoodoo world?
    A: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_information_theory
    Q: So you admit you have nothing re: immaterial decisions separate from mere chemical causality?
    A: I think that integrated information theory is a good step forward in this regard but it’s not the end of the story. God is still at the end of the rainbow, I’m sure.

    Laughable.

    It’s also the “alternative” to non-magic evolutionary processes. Only without any identifiable agent.

    But why isn’t it accepted science?

    Glen Davidson

  18. Kantian Naturalist: What we want to know is how the immaterial soul can detect immaterial reasons, and how it can be be affected by those reasons, and how it can affect the material body such that one’s actions are a consequence on reasoning (according to dualist metaphysics).

    By use of it’s brain.

    You want to treat the brain as if it’s somehow separate from the mind but that is a strawman characterization of your opponents position.

    In this universe AFAIK The brain and consciousness form an irreducible entity called the mind.

    The brain handles all the computations but the Mind does the deciding.

    You want to treat consciousness like it’s just another materiel thing. If you could do so that would defeat the entire purpose because materiel things don’t choose

    Things like “detecting immaterial reasons” and “affecting the material body” simply make no sense when we are talking about agents it’s a giant category error.

    Think of it this way

    You can’t explain how a husband communicates with his wife by positing a particular mechanism for the transfer of information from one brain to another. To attempt to do so is just silly

    peace

  19. Robin: “Weighing options” is not how decisions work; it is simply decision making.

    This is totally incorrect

    Weighing options is how decisions are made it’s not decision making.

    Deciding is simply the act of determining that option one is less desirable than option two. Something that matter can not do by the way

    Robin: It’s no different than saying that putting water in a kettle on a stove is how water boils

    It’s not how water boils but it is how you boil water.

    Do you see the difference? Hint it starts with a Y and ends with a u and denotes person-hood.

    Robin:

    Here’s a really good example of an actual answer to a how question:
    how does an internal combustion engine work

    I notice you post a material process. Do you think that the only valid explanations involve materiel causes. Can you not even fathom an explanation like this?

    http://www.ehow.com/how_4622896_build-internal-combustion-engine.html

    peace

  20. OMagain: . How on earth do you know it’s not the end of the story, out of interest?

    Well because ITT as it is presently configured assumes that consciousness can emerge out of physical matter. There is no evidence that this is the case and there is good reason to believe it’s not the case.

    A final theory will look for consciousness behind Integrated information instead of positing that consciousness emerges from integrated information. IMO

    GlenDavidson: Nothing in that link requires any immaterial ideas along the lines of the ones you and phoodoo espouse. So I’m not really sure why you brought it up. It does the opposite of you want.

    I don’t think you understand,

    ITT is not going to force you to give up your materialism. There is no theory that can ever force you to do that. Materialism is a presupposition you have and you will judge any theory that comes along in those terms . You can relax you are safe.

    What ITT does is make an attempt to show how consciousness is related to the physical structures of brain that is all. That is what you asked for so that is what I provided

  21. GlenDavidson: It’s also the “alternative” to non-magic evolutionary processes. Only without any identifiable agent.

    I have no idea what you mean here

    GlenDavidson: But why isn’t it accepted science?

    It’s pretty new but it has produced lots of peer reviewed scholarship and has found uses in places like the medical profession. So I’m not sure why you would not call it accepted science.

    It’s providing new interesting insights all the time. Check this out from the news just a week ago

    check it out

    http://www.sciencealert.com/this-physicist-is-arguing-that-consciousness-is-a-new-state-of-matter

    peace

  22. while I am sharing links here is another one that hints at why minds and not materiel brains/computers choose

    quote:
    Choosing a learning algorithm just means choosing which patterns a machine will be bad at. Maybe all tasks of, say, visual pattern recognition will eventually fall to a single all-encompassing algorithm. But no learning algorithm can be good at learning everything.
    end quote:

    from here

    http://nautil.us/blog/the-fundamental-limits-of-machine-learning

    peace

  23. fifthmonarchyman: You can’t explain how a husband communicates with his wife by positing a particular mechanism for the transfer of information from one brain to another. To attempt to do so is just silly

    Except we actually do know quite a bit about how brains produce and comprehend language.

  24. CharlieM: By fundamental physics do mean quantum physics, classical physics or both? And would you say that quantum physics violates the laws of classical physics?

    As I understand, there are two theories of fundamental physics: quantum mechanics and general relativity. Each of these theories is fundamental in the formal sense that any measurement taken anywhere in the history of the universe can be a test of a hypothesis derived from the laws of the theory.

    I wouldn’t say that quantum physics violates the laws of classical physics. That seems like a misleading way of putting it.

    I would say rather than quantum mechanics is based on a different conception of what the fundamental laws are. But we can use those laws to explain why classical physics seems to work, as long as the objects are not too small.

    Personally, I think that anyone who appeals to “what physics says” in order to do any metaphysics has got to worry about the fact that we don’t yet know how to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. Maybe they are both wrong!

    The reason why I put the focus on biology rather than physics is because I do not think that prospects are good for reducing biology to physics. I want to understand rationality as a biological phenomenon, and not worry about what the physicists end up doing.

  25. Kantian Naturalist: What we want to know is how the immaterial soul can detect immaterial reasons, and how it can be be affected by those reasons, and how it can affect the material body such that one’s actions are a consequence on reasoning (according to dualist metaphysics).

    fifthmonarchyman By use of it’s brain.

    You want to treat the brain as if it’s somehow separate from the mind but that is a strawman characterization of your opponents position.

    I’d like to hear phoodoo comment on your characterization of decision-making, FMM.

  26. Kantian Naturalist: Except we actually do know quite a bit about how brains produce and comprehend language.

    Brains don’t comprehend anything and you need to elaborate as to what you means by “produce language” If it has anything to do with conveying understood meanings brains don’t do that either.

    peace

  27. fifthmonarchyman: Brains don’t comprehend anything and you need to elaborate as to what you means by “produce language” If it has anything to do with conveying understood meanings brains don’t do that either.

    That’s a pretty astounding claim from someone who knows nothing of contemporary neuroscience and doesn’t want to know any.

  28. Kantian Naturalist: That’s a pretty astounding claim from someone who knows nothing of contemporary neuroscience and doesn’t want to know any.

    He knows NOTHING of contemporary neuroscience huh? Nothing? He doesn’t know the “concept” even? That’s amazing that you have so much knowledge of his knowledge. You must have learned this little trick from Dennett.

    How much knowledge do you have of contemporary neuroscience? 9? 12? Big? How much does anyone know about contemporary neuroscience? Do we know what is consciousness? Does anyone know how a decision is made? Do they know about “Puff the Magic Emerger?”

    Remember that humility you could use, you still haven’t found it. You are supposed to be a scholar. Why don’t you just come here and present what you think is good, true information then? Who do you feel you need to convince about how right you are?

    I have stated clearly my feelings about this site and the skeptic community. I feel they are dishonest and motivated by their own personal desire to silence honest information, like what they try to do about vaccines, about evolution in schools, about GMO foods. They are purely agenda driven, as well can see here by the complete lack of civility and honest discussion here. Do you think FMM is dishonest? Is rude? Do you think Mung is? Charlie is? Colewd is? William J. Murray is? I think you would have a hard time making that case about them.

    How many on your side show the same ability to simply present what they feel is truth, void of all the anger and spit your side so overwhelmingly brings here. You at least should be able to rise above it, you are in academia after all, and yet you can’t and don’t. Insulting FMM, when he is so tirelessly polite to you? Why don’t you think about what you goal in writing is. I start by discussing things with people here. Once they demonstrate that they would rather puff out their chest and insult they get it back from me. But I NEVER begin by talking to folks that way. People should remember who they are.

  29. Kantian Naturalist: That’s a pretty astounding claim from someone who knows nothing of contemporary neuroscience and doesn’t want to know any.

    it’s not about neuroscience it’s about ontology.

    Brains don’t comprehend because they are not minds. I would think that someone so enamored with philosophy would have a handle on different categories of existence.

    peace

  30. fifthmonarchyman: it’s not about neuroscience it’s about ontology.

    Brains don’t comprehend because they are not minds. I would think that someone so enamored with philosophy would have a handle on different categories of existence.

    It’s precisely as a philosopher that I disagree with these statements completely. It will take an OP to explain why.

  31. fifthmonarchyman:
    Well because ITT as it is presently configured assumes that consciousness can emerge out of physical matter. There is no evidence that this is the case and there is good reason to believe it’s not the case.

    On the contrary, all behaviors we observe and label “conscious” are performed by physical beings. Damaging or eliminating those physical beings eliminates those behaviors.

    There is no good reason or evidence to support the idea that anything non-physical is involved.

  32. Patrick,

    If “non-physical” means things that can’t be seen or observed, then of course you don’t have evidence, other than the results. Which we have, consciousness! !

  33. phoodoo:
    Patrick,

    If “non-physical” means things that can’t be seen or observed, then of course you don’t have evidence, other than the results.Which we have, consciousness!!

    What is the difference between “non-physical” and “non-existent”? How can you tell?

    Without evidence for the non-physical, the only rational conclusion is that conscious behaviors are the result of physical processes.

  34. fifthmonarchyman: This is totally incorrect

    No, you are totally incorrect on this.

    Weighing options is how decisions are made it’s not decision making.

    Completely erroneous. This is precisely why your view of the world is rejected by the educated. Your concepts are muddled and in most cases totally unrelated to reality.

    Deciding is simply the act of determiningthat option one is less desirable than option two.

    THIS is quite true, but is NOT an answer to how the deciding is done. THAT’S what you’ve failed to provide.

    Something that matter can not do by the way.

    Nonsense.

    It’s not how water boils but it is how you boil water.

    Here’s the problem with this silliness – no one on this board has asked you how they make decisions, but rather how decision making works in this “immaterial” nonsense you’ve put forth. And surprise, surprise, you have have no answer.

    Do you see the difference? Hint it starts with a Y and ends with a u and denotes person-hood.

    And yet, you can’t answer the question.

    I notice you post a material process. Do you think that the only valid explanations involve materiel causes. Can you not even fathom an explanation like this?

    No. The only valid explanations are actually explanations. You (and a few others) seem to have an inability to grasp the concept of explanation. Hence the reason I posted the example.

  35. phoodoo:
    Patrick,

    If “non-physical” means things that can’t be seen or observed, then of course you don’t have evidence, other than the results.Which we have, consciousness!!

    The results we have indicate consciousness is the result of material processes. There’s nothing to indicate that consciousness is the result of anything immaterial and further, there’s nothing to indicate there is anything “immaterial”.

  36. fifthmonarchyman: newton: Rivers do choose based external factors which path to take. The Corps of Engineers spends millions to keep the Mississippi from choosing the Atchafalaya basin.

    Well there you go.

    I thought this was supposed to be a skeptical crowd.

    Maybe we need to perform some sort of sacrifice to appease the river and convince it to stay in the path we want.

    the next thing you know you guys will be consulting a witch doctor to communicate with the trees

    peace

    Arborists talk to trees, witch doctors depend on revelation to know

  37. phoodoo: Do you think FMM is dishonest? Is rude? Do you think Mung is? Charlie is? Colewd is? William J. Murray is? I think you would have a hard time making that case about them.

    I think all of them, and you, are basically lazy. You don’t read, you don’t challenge yourselves, you’re not informed about what it is that neuroscientists do and don’t know, and you dress up your laziness in absurd excuses like “but neuroscience can’t explain THIS!”. Well, maybe it can and maybe it can’t, but until you actually buckle down to read something that involves more effort than skimming a blog post somewhere, you’re not really entitled to assert that one way or the other.

    That’s what I find offensive — not your dishonesty or rudeness, but your laziness. A lack of interest in learning, or really an unwillingness to put forth any sort of intellectual effort. The only things that you think anyone understands are the things that already fit into your cramped and narrow imagination.

    And not wanting to learn something because it might conflict with some deeply held, cherished conviction is not just laziness but cowardice. I refuse to pretend that I can respect an intellectual position grounded in laziness and cowardice. And while certainly that’s not true of all theism, it is manifestly on display amongst the theists who participate at TSZ.

  38. fifthmonarchyman: Brains don’t comprehend because they are not minds.

    I can agree with the first three words, but not with the rest.

    That is to say, we should ascribe comprehending to people, not to brains. However, I don’t doubt that brain activity is involved.

    In all honesty, this is a fussy little point that isn’t worth making an issue over. You would have done better to just let it pass without responding.

  39. Robin: The concept of “pure energy” things is tossed out from time to time and whenever I come across it, I really wonder what the people proposing such mean. Even a rudimentary understanding of E=MC^2 should lead one to conclude that Pure Energy is meaningless (well…ok…a rudimentary understanding likely leads to the misunderstanding…)

    This equation tells us that mass can be considered a form of energy. A quality that energy can assume in certain circumstances. Massless “particles” are fundamental to quantum physics.

    But I suppose this is taking us too far off topic.

  40. Kantian Naturalist to fmm: Except we actually do know quite a bit about how brains produce and comprehend language.

    I agree with fmm. Brains doing this or neurons doing that is meaningless. These entities acting in such an isolated way are figments of our imagination. We talk of these entities in a way that they never exist in reality. Isolate a real brain in this way and all that you will have is a few hundred grams of dead matter. So what is doing the comprehending?

  41. Patrick: Software systems do this all the time.

    No, they don’t. I have disk after disk of software just sitting there, doing nothing. That’s what software does. Nothing. But that doesn’t mean it has decided to sit there and do nothing.

  42. CharlieM: This equation tells us that mass can be considered a form of energy.

    No, it really doesn’t tell us that. What it actually tells us is that energy is a property of matter and that as such, some amount of matter can always be converted to energy. However, it also tells us that at no time can there be energy without matter.

    A quality that energy can assume in certain circumstances. Massless “particles” are fundamental to quantum physics.

    How is the concept of massless particles suppose to support some concept of “pure energy”? The concept of massless particles is quite specific and pretty limited (see Special Relativity) and within those conceptual frameworks are not considered “pure energy” by any extent. So what’s your point?

    But I suppose this is taking us too far off topic.

    Maybe. My whole point in bringing this up is that I still have no idea what you think “pure energy” means or what sort of configuration it could possibly take.

  43. Patrick: Without evidence for the non-physical, the only rational conclusion is that conscious behaviors are the result of physical processes.

    Argument from Ignorance. Physicalism of the Gaps. Begging the Question.

    It’s the atheist trifecta.

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