All of Zane Scheepers's Comments + Replies

My model simplifies all human actions into 2 categories. Wants and needs. Needs are what a species requires for survival. Food, shelter, procreation , etc. What do we all want? We want happiness. All human actions are about satisfying our wants and needs. Sometimes, both, but never neither. The list is things which satisfy our wants and needs, in order of priority, and preference (makes us the most happy ).

That's my point, very few people understand the process, but they can all See the rainbow. It is common usage that a rainbow is the perceived arch of colours, not the process.

You don't Need a preference for every possible scenario. You only need a basic set that covers every possible scenario. For example, let's say you don't like spicy food. You don't have to try chicken curry, beef curry, mutton curry, fish curry, from every curry shop in every city, in every country in the world, to know you won't like it. A basic set of preferences can cover all situations.

So you say. Do you prefer summer to winter? Tea or coffee? Chocolate or vanilla ice cream? What determines those preferences?

Billions. But all it takes is one shred of evidence to make it a wrong theory. So far all anyone has offered I unsubstantiated opinions. Do you get my point. One simple, "Its impossible because of X " can save me wasting my time pursuing the idea.

Oh, I am. But is there anything wrong with asking for help from people who might already know the answer? analogy

How often have you had to change your name to Thomas John Walterson and move to Australia? More importantly, If you thereafter had to change your name to Thomas John Pieterson and move to New Zealand, does I make sense to draw up a compel new list of or and cons, or to just alter the preexisting list? I never said the list covers all possible scenarios. I'm talk in about a list of basics which when applied, determine your action. For example, do you like hot or cold weather? Apply to scenario. By applying the basic list, you can resolve even unimagined scenarios. You don't make up a preference for tea or coffee each time you are offered tea or coffee. The preference is already determined.

You don't have any such basic list.

Far from it. I appreciate your honesty. I know I my mind is untrained. I don't explain myself properly. I can't get the concepts i have in my head accross to other people. I will try harder. Thanks.

So what? A camera records a light pattern which it later emits to our eyes, resulting in a visual representation. A rainbow is link any other image in a mirror. A virtual image. It exists in the mind of the observer. The same way two people see two different images in a mirror. Technically, we each see two images. One for each eye. We also see two rainbows, uncles we are looking at an image on a screen.

If a rainbow is something that happens in the mind of the observer then it is not possible for a camera to take a picture of a rainbow. At best, it can take a picture that will strike a human observer as rainbow-like, or something like that. And, sure, you can choose to define "rainbow" that way, as referring to what happens in a person's mind when they look towards a region where there are lots of water droplets illuminated by a light source behind that person. But I don't see why we should define "rainbow" that way. (I don't think we have any disagreement about what's actually happening in the world when someone "sees a rainbow".)

That, combined with maslows hierarchy of needs as the operating procedure of the subconscious.

Ok, I will tell you my thought process so that maybe it can be of help in understanding why people have been downvoting you. Obviously, this is just my perspective and I am direcly sharing my thoughts without the usual niceties filter in the hope that I can be of help. So, firstly this is the only post I have read of yours. I expressed in my first comment why I think is not developed. During our brief exchange we kind of changed the subject of discussion to the idea of conscious will. I suggested a book. You jumped on the book (and Maslows hierarchy) as if it is supporting your argument. But I just suggested the book so I would assume you haven't read it yet. In addition the arguments in the book (which I have read twice), though fascinating, seem to have absolutely no relation to your idea of a 'list' that this thread is about. Same goes for Maslows pyramid. So my personal judgement is that you are at the stage that you need to study existing knowledge and also the art of developing coherent ideas. Of course play around with new ideas but in the same way you can not create a musical piece before you understand the foundations of music, you can not generate coherent hypothesis before you understand in depth the rules of logic and the current state of your subject matter. Practice humility. Assume you don't really understand anything about human nature yet and concentrate on learning from others. Although the downvotes seem to be out of spite I don't believe many people in the LW community tend to do that. I think they are down voting your argument itself as well as your approach to ideas in general because it does not meet the community standards. Think of it as honest feedback. I hope this was helpful and not perceived as patronising.

The point is that a photon is a boson particle. At the moment we detect a collision, the photon ceases to exist. Prior to the collision a photon existed. We can only ever detect where and when a photon has struck something. Never the photon itself.

I know that photons are bosons. I know that they cease to exist when they interact with electrons. What I don't understand is why you think that those facts (which are not in dispute) make it wrong to say that we detect photons.

I never claimed to be right. I'm just asking if there's evidence I'm wrong.

How many not-wrong theories are there? How much probability mass does each one get?
With the magic of probability theory, you can convert one into the other. By the way, you yourself should search for evidence that you're wrong, as any honest intellectual would do.

Does an electron prefer a lower orbital? Is this a physical thing which has a preference about the world? Indirectly it shows that matter prefers to have less energy. You could say the universe prefers entropy. Consciousness is simply awareness of our preferences.

I don't think you understood the argument. Let's agree that an electron prefers what it is going to do, over what it is not going to do. But does an electron in China prefer that I write this comment, or a different one? Obviously, it has no preference at all about that. So even if it has some local preferences, it does not have a coherent preference over all possible things. The same thing is true for human beings, for exactly the same reasons.

I'm trying to point out the difference between detecting something and detecting it's effect. We detect the spike in energy resulting from light striking something.

That gives me a "you have reached your limit and can't read any more" message. I found what seems to be the same book on Amazon UK and tried their "look inside" feature but failed to find anything saying anything to do with seeing or feeling photons. Anyway. Whether to say "we detect photons" or "we detect photons striking our retina" or "we detect photons interacting with electrons in rhodopsin in our rod and cone cells" or "we detect electrical impulses in our retina arising from photon-electron interactions" or whatever is, it seems to me, a matter of terminology only. We're describing the same process in any case. You (if I'm understanding you right) consider it definitely wrong to say that we detect photons, and I don't yet understand why. (I can think of some possible reasons but I don't find any of them convincing and I would rather not argue against a straw man.) Am I correctly understanding your position? If so, why do you consider it wrong to say that when a photon interacts with an appropriate electron in a rod or cone cell in a human retina, that photon has been detected? What bad consequence ensues from using the word "detect" like that? (Or, if your objection isn't about bad consequences: how is using the word "detect" like that inconsistent with other usages we're attached to? Or ... whatever it is that's wrong, what's wrong?)

How about this, where does a rainbow exist? Is a rainbow the process which results in a light pattern? Or is a rainbow the arch of colors we perceive in our indirect version of reality?

There is no such thing as "where a rainbow exists". Rainbows aren't (in so far as they're properly considered things at all) things that have locations. What a rainbow has is more like a direction: it is located around the cone at an angle of 42 degrees from the line between the sun and you. (Which means that in some sense differently located people see different rainbows, though in practice it's more convenient to express things differently and treat rainbows seen by two nearby people looking in similar directions as "the same rainbow".) I wouldn't say that a rainbow is a process; I don't see any way in which that makes anything clearer. I don't think I'd say it's "the arch of colours we perceive in our indirect version of reality" either, because if you make a rainbow strictly an artefact of human perception then you have trouble dealing with the fact that e.g. a camera looking in the same direction as you will record "the same" rainbow as you do.

Qualia fall under input data. The list is preferences like tea or coffee, shower or bathe, black or red, Tec.

If you're straight, you can't choose to be gay. If you're bi, you're attracted to both sexes. Your orientation is fixed.

I disagree that this is true for everyone.

I made no claims. I simply had an idea I wished to share. I've since discovered that someone else already had this idea.

In debates, you don't get points if someone already agrees with you prior to the debate. You get points if someone changes your opinions. Allocating points to common beliefs simply reinforces the belief, true or not. If 99 out of a hundred people agree that we can't see light, they would never delve deeper into why we can't.

Are you talking about Wegner's book when you say that someone else had the same idea?

As for your last point, I understand that you consider the absorption of the photon as detection. By your logic, a rock detects light. Do rocks also feel cold?

(It feels to me as if I'm trying to have a serious discussion while you're trying to score points. I hope this impression is wrong.) The absorption-by-an-electron mechanism is exactly the same one you describe as how photons (or, as you would prefer to say, collisions between photons and other things) get detected. Obviously that absorption is only the first step in the process, and obviously there are instances of photon-absorption that don't lead to anything we would want to call detection. What I was saying (and I apologize if I was insufficiently clear) is that the process we both agree happens, where a photon excites an electron and the electron then does other things whose effects end up including, e.g., certain kinds of effects in a person's brain or a digital camera's memory circuitry, can just as well be called "detecting a photon" as "detecting a photon collision". I think your final question is more snark than actual argument, and I hope the foregoing paragraph has indicated why the snark is not appropriate. But I'll answer it anyway: rocks don't generally "detect light" in any useful sense, but in any case they come closer to "detecting light" than to "feeling cold" because feeling is a term that we use specifically to denote processes in an actual brain. One could reasonably say that a thermostat "detects low temperatures" but not (other than as deliberate anthropomorphism, perhaps for fun) that it "feels cold". Similarly, I would be happy to say that a rod or cone cell in a human retina "detects light" but not that it, say, "sees the sun"; or that whatever organs in the human body respond to cold -- I realise that I have no idea offhand what they are -- "detect low temperatures" but not that they "feel cold".

Just a comment. I'm used to being down voted by people who don't understand my views. I'm even used to people down voting my answers because they disagree, but without actual proof that I'm wrong. I'm used to this happening on OTHER sites. I expected better on LW. It's not that votes mean anything to me directly but it's an indication of the mentality, openmindedness and intelligence of the people on the site. This site is highly regarded in the intellectual community. It falls way short of its reputation.

How about providing some proof that you are right?
Possibly because at first glance your writing comes across as remarkably similar to poetic profundities without substance. Perhaps, try being more straightforward with your definitions, assertions, and claims.

Homosexuality being influenced by genes does not mean one cannot choose to change their sexuality.

In his book, "The illusion of conscious will " Wegner asks, "Does the fact that thoughts usually proceed actions actually prove that thoughts are the cause of actions? ". You assume they do.

I don't know why you think I am assuming this. Regardless of the causes of your opinions, one thing which is not the cause is a coherent set of probabilities. In the same way, regardless of the causes of your actions, one thing which is not the cause is a coherent set of preferences. This is necessarily true since you are built out of physical things which do not have sets of preferences about the world, and you follow physical laws which do not have sets of preferences about the world. They have something similar to this, e.g. you could metaphorically speak as if gravity has a preference for things being lower down or closer together. But you cannot compare any two arbitrary states of the world and say "Gravity would prefer this state to that one." Gravity simply has no such preferences. In a similar way, since your actions result from principles which are preference-like but not preferences, your actions are also somewhat preference-like, but they do not express a coherent set of preferences. All that said, you are close to a truth, which is that since the incoherence of people's lives bothers them (both in thoughts and in actions), it is good for people to try to make those both more coherent. In general you could make incoherent thoughts and actions more coherent in two different directions, namely "more consistent with themselves but less consistent with the world" and "more consistent with themselves and also more consistent with the world". The second choice is better.

Wow! That's exactually what i was thinking. The list is just my idea of how our actions are determined, without the involvement of the conscious mind.

No, I'm not confusing the two. Certain actions are performed by the reptilian brain and others by higher functions. Observing professional sportsmen and women it's obvious that even these reflex actions can altered. My point is, if muscle memory can allow us to operate on autopilot, how far does the ability of the subconscious extend? Is it possible the subconscious controls all actions and the conscious only becomes aware post facto.

Sure, but I am not sure how that relates to the 'list' idea. In any case, I believe it is quite evident that conscious and subconscious levels are constantly interacting with each other so it is not a case of all or nothing. If you are interested in the (not yet resolved) question of their interaction and the source of action in general the book "The Illusion of Conscious Will" by Daniel Wegner examines whta you refered to as the 'post facto' perspective in depth (providing experimental data). A fascinating book!

Now that's what I was looking for. Thanks.

I appreciate your opinion. If you could justify your opinion with supporting evidence I would greatly appreciate it.

The factors are far too complex to predict human behaviour. The list is not perceived consciously. Even if we had the complete list of a person, the situation includes not just external phenomena, but internal variables such as gut bacteria, hormones, etc which combined determines a situation. So a situation which appears the same outwardly could be dramatically different internally.

I agree with your points. To restate my question, what extra insights does your model provide, compared to (for example), an ever-updating Maslow's hierarchy of needs []?

Like, is detecting light, perceiving light?

No, not like that. That's a question about words more than about things. (At least, it seems so to me.) I can't offhand think of any situation in which answering the rainbow question would really matter, or really seem to matter; but if there were one, the sort of "something else" I would expect to be more fruitful to address would be a question about the underlying physics.

The conscious mind can be excluded from thought processes. Only becoming aware, post facto, of the reason an action was performed. I agree it needs work, but is it a line of thought worth pursuing?

This is a standard prediction since the unconscious was theorized more than a century ago, so unfortunately it's not good evidence that the model is correct. Unfortunately, if what you've written is the only things that the list has to say, then I would say that no, this is not worth pursuing.

Basically because processing information is slow. Generating a list when a situation arrises means the ball hits your head before you can figure out you'd rather not experience the pain. Most of our actions are subconscious, like walking and don't rely on conscious effort.

I think you are confusing high and low level processes. The brain is comprised of many subsystems developed through the evolutionary proccess. The circuits that allow us, for instance, to avoid sudden motions are much lower (brain stem, amygdala etc.) than the neocortex which is the sit of higher level proccesses such as rational assesment. These circuits are activated before the signal is proccessed by the higher levels but not because they have a list. They are just optimised for certain very general situations.

Light from a building is dispersed, light from a mirror is reflected. With dispersed light, we see (in our minds ) the object dispersing the light. Light disperced by raindrops, makes the raindrops visible. Light reflected by raindrops makes the sun visible.

I think you may be making a distinction that isn't really there. The way in which light from a building is dispersed is by being reflected in different directions off lots of little bits of surface. ... Having written this, I wonder whether it's quite right. If you point a laser at a rough surface, you get a "speckle" effect that derives from interference between different paths the light can take from the laser to your eye; perhaps the appearance of ordinary rough surfaces owes something nontrivial to such interference effects and it's therefore not adequate to think of it as the result of lots of tiny reflections. It seems to me that the answer to the question "what object, if any, am I looking at when I see a rainbow?" should probably not depend on this level of careful physical analysis. Let me ask a slightly different question. It seems like you're very sure that there is a Right Answer to that question. Why? I would say that there probably isn't a Right Answer, because I don't think the terms in the question are precisely enough defined for there to be one in difficult cases; and I would say that of course we can make more precise definitions that make there be a definite Right Answer, but I don't see much need to do so. In any tricky case where that answer really matters I would expect to find that the question we really need an answer to is something else that's better addressed directly.

Sorry, I'm New here. Thanks.

A rainbow consists of millions of tiny reflections of the sun, off the inner, concave , surface of raindrops, having undergone refraction. You're seeing multiple reflections of the sun.

When I look at a wall illuminated by the sun, I am also seeing lots of tiny reflections of the sun. So if you're saying that when I look at a rainbow, the object I am actually perceiving is the sun, why does that not apply equally to the wall of a building? An obvious alternative would be to say that when I look at a rainbow, what I'm seeing is lots of water droplets. That seems unsatisfactory too, because if I look at the rainbow for a minute then typically there are no water droplets in common between the starting and ending configurations. So maybe I'm seeing an assemblage of water droplets which is stable in something like the way our bodies are stable even though their material is mostly replaced every few weeks. I don't much like that either, though I have no very concrete objection to make to it. The alternative I actually prefer is to say that these questions are mostly about words rather than about things, and that there's not much value in picking specific answers to them.

About your example, would a reflection from a mirror qualify? How about a rainbow? Isn't that why the images produced are called virtual images? And don't we see objects?

With a reflection from a mirror, there is an actual object responsible for that light field, which is (at least) very similar to what we seem to be seeing; I think it's obviously reasonable to say in that case that what we are seeing is the thing in the mirror. But suppose the actual optical apparatus consists of a bunch of lasers and diffractive optical elements and things, and there is no good candidate for "what we're perceiving" that in any way resembles the apple we seem to be seeing. Personally I'm happy just saying that there isn't any thing we're perceiving in that situation, or perhaps that we're perceiving a non-existent apple, or that we're perceiving an illusion of an apple, or something. But I can see how someone might find "we're perceiving the light" a less unsatisfactory answer than those. A rainbow is an interesting example. When I "see a rainbow", would you say I'm actually perceiving a rainbow? If so, just what is the rainbow? What kind of thing is it, in your account of the world? I agree that we see objects. That's the usual case. That's why my weird example in which we might want to say something unusual is one which in some ways greatly resembles the usual case of seeing an object, but in which it's not clear that there's any good candidate for "the object we're seeing".

Would you care to elaborate?

Did you see that my comment was a link to a relevant Wikipedia page?

Going by the first comment, I'll reserve judgement go now.

Photons don't interact with photons. A photon only interacts with itself.

Not entirely right [].

A tiny fraction, you say? We'll see! Having argued this point I can tell you from personal experience that a large portion of readers believe we can see actual light.

A large portion of what readers? LW's population is a bit unusual.

In other words, a door is a source of light.

I'm saying detection is a mechanical process of which we aren't conscious. Even image creation in the visual cortex is subconscious. We only become conscious of a few objects. We conclude that our eyes detect light, but we do not actually perceive light itself.

This seems ... uncontroversial; I would be surprised if more than a tiny fraction of LW readers thought otherwise. Your post seems to me to be making at length a point that's already well understood around here. (That's not necessarily a bad thing -- it depends on what your goals were in writing it.) (Though I think there is some scope for definitional arguments around "we do not actually perceive light itself". In normal circumstances we perceive (say) an apple by detecting the light emanating from it that reaches our eyes; but suppose some cunning configuration of optical elements produces a light field near-identical to the one an apple would have produced without there being any apple-like object involved; we might want to insist that there's something in the real world that we're perceiving even if it isn't really an apple, and that light field might be a candidate for that something.) Incidentally, I think the last paragraph of your post is simply wrong; I would say that a photon can be detected, and the way we detect it is by giving it the opportunity to be absorbed by an electron in suitable circumstances. So no, light isn't "undetectable" even though photons can't be detected without absorbing them. This, again, is a disagreement about definitions rather than about the underlying facts.
1Zane Scheepers5y
In other words, a door is a source of light.