Jul 29 2014

Reward and Punishment in the Brain

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57 Responses to “Reward and Punishment in the Brain”

  1. BillyJoe7on 29 Jul 2014 at 9:15 am

    …uh oh…here we go again…

  2. banyanon 29 Jul 2014 at 9:17 am

    “Scientists do this sort of this not only because they like to torture people but to study the brain’s response.” FTFY.

    I used to work in an anxiety research lab. The neurology was interesting, but the story that kills at cocktail parties is how I used to scare the shit out of people in the basement of the Psychology building for science.

  3. Bill Openthalton 29 Jul 2014 at 9:51 am

    This reminds me of a poem (in Dutch) by Daan Zonderland (Dr Daniel van der Vat), who was an anglophile and worked in London between 1945 and 1967 as correspondent for the newspaper “De Tijd”:

    Er was eens een professor
    Die at betonnen pap.
    Dat deed hij niet uit honger,
    Maar voor de wetenschap.

    Zijn vrouw stond luid te huilen
    En riep bij iedre hap:
    ‘Ach, Hendrik, neem tenminste
    Een beetje bessensap.’

    There once was a professor
    who ate concrete porridge
    not because he was hungry
    but for scientific knowledge

    His wife was wailing loudly,
    and cried at every nosh,
    “Oh Henry, please consider
    adding some apple sauce.”

    Actually, it says berry juice and not apple sauce, but it wasn’t easy to get it to rime :) .

  4. Bill Openthalton 29 Jul 2014 at 9:54 am

    Actually, that should be rhyme. Damn homonyms/homophones.

  5. The Other John Mcon 29 Jul 2014 at 10:00 am

    banyan — hilarious!: “the story that kills at cocktail parties is how I used to scare the shit out of people in the basement of the Psychology building for science”

    You’ll have to share some. I’ve dabbled in sleep deprivation research, and boy do the subjects get f**king pissed/cranky/angry after just one night’s sleep loss. We had to monitor their bathroom breaks lest they sneak into an empty stall to catch some zzzzz’s. The group I was working with used to do 2 to 3 night’s sleep deprivation, but they eventually stopped such long studies because subjects were just getting too whacked out and threatening.

  6. Billzbubon 29 Jul 2014 at 10:20 am

    @Bill Openthalt: That’s okay, if Dr. Novella can use “sent” instead of “scent”, you can use “rime” instead of “rhyme”. Government scientists need to find the pedant center of the brain that is giving me pleasure from posting this and use jet contrails to disperse an antidote to us all.

  7. Bill Openthalton 29 Jul 2014 at 10:33 am

    Billzbub –

    Thanks :) Do I scense a devilish streak?

  8. Gareth Priceon 29 Jul 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Having done slice electrophysiology on the medial habenula, I have waited over 12 years for the habenula to be mentioned in a blog! So imagine my disappointment when I realised that they were looking at the lateral habenula. Could you please blog about the medial habenula one day?!!

  9. Adam Bjerreon 29 Jul 2014 at 6:19 pm

    “I am deliberately using mechanical terms to emphasize that the brain is a machine (albeit a highly complex one). This brings me to another basic lesson – modern neuroscience has taught us that our brains are just complex machines. Everything you think, feel, remember, etc. is happening in the brain, which has specific modules and networks dedicated to such functions.”

    I think I understand your perspective, Steven. Although a biosemiotician might find that statement a bit too reductionistic in trying (understandably) to sacrifice all homunculi/teleology for a safe and eliminative machine-metaphor. But we might have to consider the more dynamical approach to (neuro)biology (Swenson, Schneider/Sagan, Rosen, Ulanowicz, Peirce). Terrence Deacon seems to try to build a solid scientific bridge between meaning and matter in his book “Incomplete Nature” without the dualist baggage. I don’t think that many of the contemporary biological theorists would assign the machine metaphor to the brain. Not even as a complex one. Dennett is even reviewing this long-held notion in light of Deacon’s book (that is at least my amateurish interpretation). http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/dennett/papers/achingvoids.pdf

  10. grabulaon 29 Jul 2014 at 8:45 pm

    “The dualists are simply wrong when they say the materialist paradigm is dead.”

    I see what you did there ;)

  11. Steven Novellaon 30 Jul 2014 at 8:18 am

    Adam – I just interviewed Dennett. There was no hint of his backpedaling on his position on the brain. That interview with be on the SGU in the coming weeks.

  12. Adam Bjerreon 30 Jul 2014 at 10:38 am

    Steven,

    It *was* an amateurish interpretation then. ;-) At least he is “re-examining his fundamental working assumptions”, whatever that means.

    It still seems to me that one of the fundamental debates in (neuro)biology is whether the machine metaphor/talk provides accurate explanations and answers to our fundamental questions about life and mind (especially depression and pain for example).

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the explanations that seem to follow up the levels from molecules to organisms then implies that our experiences in the end then are nothing but illusions – a concomitant phenomenon of the brain’s work.

    The question the “Romantics” (the derogatory label Dennett has chosen for quite a few serious theoretical biologists) are asking then is: How can experiences be real? And if they are not real, how can they physically influence anything in the world? How can experiences do anything then without violating Newtonian physics in one way or another? Maybe Newtonian physics isn’t enough when we want to explain life and mind. Maybe we need to include something like meaning and interpretation and still be able to preserve the 1. and 2. law of thermodynamics. This doesn’t imply dualism. Quite the opposite. It implies intrinsical sign processes that leads to selves. Something machines can only achieve extrinsically.

    Sorry for the lengthy reply. I hope this doesn’t come across as gibberish. Still trying to make sense of brains and their role in experience.

  13. Steven Novellaon 30 Jul 2014 at 11:05 am

    To say that the brain is not “just” a machine implies that something other than the laws of physics is happening.

    I don’t think it is meaningful to say that experience is not “real” or that it is just an “illusion.” This is a category mistake.

    Experience is a process that happens within the brain, so it is real and physical. You can break down experience to components, all of which reduce to the “easy” problems that Chalmers and others refer to. In our interview Dennett makes the point that if you continue the process, it’s easy problems all the way around. It’s just the brain doing what it does each step of the way. At no point is there anything more than brain function.

    It doesn’t intuitively feel right, and perhaps that is the illusion. Our brains function specifically to create a seamless surface consciousness that is unaware of all the complex noisy components underneath.

  14. hardnoseon 30 Jul 2014 at 11:40 am

    “Neuroscientists are happily ignoring the dualists, and proceeding as if the mind is what the brain does. They are searching for neuroanatomical correlates of mental function, secure in the premise that everything the mind does must be happening in the brain.”

    As you said, they are correlates. The mind and brain obviously work together, but we still don’t know if the mind IS the brain.

    I think there are substances and fields not yet recognized by mainstream materialist science, and I think the mind/brain functions may involve some of these substances and fields.

    Non-mainstream neuroscience does consider the idea that the mind/brain is much more than what mainstream neuroscience has been studying.

    You cannot infer causality from correlations (as we skeptics are always saying, but often forgetting). And you cannot infer sufficient causation from necessary causation.

  15. The Other John Mcon 30 Jul 2014 at 11:56 am

    Like BJ said: “…uh oh…here we go again…”

  16. Adam Bjerreon 30 Jul 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you for responding, Steven.

    “To say that the brain is not “just” a machine implies that something other than the laws of physics is happening.”

    I agree with you here and many have in the past taken advantage of that notion and tried to infer some otherworldly and supernatural forces on that behalf. That is of course out of the question and not the point here. Deacon’s suggestion is that to get from non-life to life there has to be a simple chemical explanation that preserves the laws of physics (of course), but where you have constraints on the bouncing atoms. The molecules must somehow be involved in autocatalysis (the reaction product itself is the catalyst for that production) and self-assembly – otherwise life couldn’t maintain a boundary, which is crucial to life (according to Jesper Hoffmeyer).

    “I don’t think it is meaningful to say that experience is not “real” or that it is just an “illusion.” This is a category mistake.”

    That is nonetheless often the ultimate conclusion you reach if you want to avoid little homunculi or intentionality and representation in your theory – and Dennett certainly doesn’t want that as I understand it. Many theorists and especially scientists have implied this in one way or another (Minsky, Rorty, the Churchlands and Dennett among others).

    “You can break down experience to components, all of which reduce to the “easy” problems that Chalmers and others refer to. In our interview Dennett makes the point that if you continue the process, it’s easy problems all the way around.”

    I agree that pansychism is a tempting idea, but it has no role in cognitive science and it might be a straw man in this discussion. Panpsychism doesn’t explain experience, it just assumes that it’s everywhere. The question Deacon asks is this:
    “Though intuitively one can imagine simpler and simpler agents with stupider and stupider intentional capacities, at what point does it stop being intentional and just become mechanism? So long as each apparently reduced agent must be said to be generating its mindless responses on the basis of information, adaptation, functional organization, and so on, it includes within it explanatory problems every bit as troubling as those posed by the little man in the head – only multiplied and hidden.” (p. 83, Kindle vers.)

    Deacons suggestion? The basic principle for life is constraints on matter. This sets up a basis for semiosis (biological information). Life and mind are in this perspective governed not by mechanics, but by signs.
    (From this talk: http://media.uoregon.edu/channel/2013/05/07/the-emergence-of-biosemiotics-from-physiochemical-dynamics-terrence-deacon/)

    This is, as I understand it, why the machine metaphor might be misleading.

  17. mumadaddon 30 Jul 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Here we go again indeed.

    “I don’t think it is meaningful to say that experience is not “real” or that it is just an “illusion.” This is a category mistake.”

    That is nonetheless often the ultimate conclusion you reach if you want to avoid little homunculi or intentionality and representation in your theory

    and this:

    So long as each apparently reduced agent must be said to be generating its mindless responses on the basis of information, adaptation, functional organization, and so on, it includes within it explanatory problems every bit as troubling as those posed by the little man in the head – only multiplied and hidden.”

    I really don’t see why people have such a problem with consciousness being a distributed function of the brain; real time communication and stitching together of inputs from various specialised subsystems. Why does there need to be some sort of central hub or easily identifiable part that is having the experience? Ah, intuition, that’s why.

    @hardnose,

    I think there are substances and fields not yet recognized by mainstream materialist science, and I think the mind/brain functions may involve some of these substances and fields.

    Okay, like what? Please elaborate. I presume this isn’t just idle speculation on your part.

  18. Ekkoon 30 Jul 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Honestly I think people object to the machine metaphor purely on outdated connotations of the word alone. It implies “soullessness” to those who would ascribe a “soul”. It implies a lack of freedom of choice and will. But in reality all choice and “free will” is limited and circumscribed, just to varying degrees based on the organism. “Machines” created by life (DNA) are still made of matter but that doesn’t deny their incredible complexity and beauty any the less in my opinion.

    “I presume this isn’t just idle speculation on your part.”
    You’re optimistic. I’m guessing it’s more of the “science doesn’t know what it doesn’t know” variety.

  19. Ekkoon 30 Jul 2014 at 1:50 pm

    When I wrote the comment above on use of the machine metaphor to describe the brain, I was thinking of Arthur C. Clarke’s famous quote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” as applicable as well as far as consciousness goes. It seems magical or having a supernatural component only in as far as we don’t/didn’t understand its underpinnings in the brain. Then I came across this article on PLoS Blogs by coincidence:
    http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2014/07/19/brains-alien-technology/
    I guess I’m just elaborating a bit on why machine isn’t necessarily an ugly, clunky metaphor to use and that our definition of the word in this context encompasses a lot more.

  20. steve12on 30 Jul 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Hardnose:

    “You cannot infer causality from correlations ”

    A.
    I know we’ve been down this road, but….

    Can you give me an example of mind independent of brain? If they’re separate entities (after all, all we have is correlations, right?), shouldn’t you at least be able to point to ONE piece of evidence?

    There is literally not one lousy piece of evidence of mind w/o brain. NOT ONE!

    B.

    We have causal evidence. If I apply transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to your brain, I directly affect (i.e., cause) a change in the functioning of the neurons with a high T magnetic field and get predictable consequences for your mind. And it gets better. I can predict what mind consequences I will have caused based on the the brain areas I interfere with. That ain’t correlational.

  21. The Other John Mcon 30 Jul 2014 at 3:14 pm

    interesting link, thanks Ekko — I’m not nearly as downtrodden about the future prospects as they are, maybe I’m just hopelessly naïve.

  22. The Other John Mcon 30 Jul 2014 at 3:24 pm

    steve12 – don’t forget transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS – small electrode directly on skull). Also direct stimulation by electrode on brain tissue with open skull, or implanted in skull. Anyone interested, try googling “non-invasive brain stimulation” for current research on this topic.

    We can demonstrate the same causal relationships working backwards, by seeing what psychological/perceptual deficits are elicited by removal/loss/damage to specific brain regions. See the last 100 to 150 years of neurology for relevant citations.

  23. BillyJoe7on 30 Jul 2014 at 6:09 pm

    hardnose,

    I’m going to try to show you the absolute vacuity of this statement:

    “I think there are substances and fields not yet recognized by mainstream materialist science, and I think the mind/brain functions may involve some of these substances and fields”

    You THINK?
    What? You mean you are WILDLY SPECULATING BEYOND THE EVIDENCE?
    On what basis are you WILDLY SPECULATING BEYOND THE EVIDENCE?
    Intuition?
    If not, where is the evidence not yet recognized by mainstream materialist science?

    Not yet recognized BY MAINSTREAM SCIENCE?
    Ah…a journey to the fringe!
    The fringe dwellers have recognised the truth!
    And it’s hidden from the mainstream.

    NOT YET RECOGNISED by mainstream science?
    The fringe DOES recognise the that there are substances and fields NOT YET RECOGNISED by mainstream materialist science?
    But on what basis have they recognised this.
    What exactly are these nebulous SUBSTANCES AND FIELDS??
    Where is the evidence, beyond wild specuation, that there are these SUBSTANCES AND FIELDS?

    Not YET recognized by mainstream materialist science?
    YET?
    What? Because the fringe have the evidence for these SUBSTANCES AND FIELDS, but the mainstream stubbornly refuse to see it? YET.
    Or because the fringe has not YET got the evidence to convince the mainstream?
    Or not YET, because the mainstream will finally one day see the truth of the existence of these SUBSTANCES AND FIELDS for which the fringe has as YET no evidence beyond intiution and wild speculation?
    But they MUST exist because because…you know…because…the mainstream does not know everything!

    But I know I will not have succeeded.
    Oh well…

  24. BillyJoe7on 31 Jul 2014 at 9:16 am

    While hardnose thinks:

    “I think there are substances and fields not yet recognized by mainstream materialist science, and I think the mind/brain functions may involve some of these substances and fields”

    What Sean Carroll says:

    one thousand years from now, you will still hear precisely that same story…There might be new layers underneath…There will certainly be much greater understanding of the collective behavior of these underlying particles and forces…there will be a deeper story about why we have the laws we do, how gravity and quantum mechanics play together, how best to interpret quantum mechanics, and so on.

    What there won’t be is some dramatic paradigm shift…Nor will we have discovered new fundamental particles and forces that are crucial to telling the story of everyday phenomena. If those existed, we would have found them by now.

    I’m not actually trying to say something controversial. I think it is pretty unambiguously correct…But it’s something I think is not as widely appreciated as it really should be.

  25. sonicon 31 Jul 2014 at 12:12 pm

    How could consciousness derive from physics? Perhaps there is a proper bootstrap available.

    To be clear- let’s assume the term ‘interaction’ and the term ‘measurement’ both mean that two objects interact in some way– two electrons bump– that’s an interaction– that’s a ‘measurement’.

    Feynman said-
”You can’t say A is made of B
or vice versa.
All mass is interaction.”

    To some extent it can be said the particles become real when they interact with the other particles– obviously if a particle can never interact, then we can ignore it’s existence for scientific purposes; the fact that it interacts is what makes it real is an extreme example of the principle.

    What the modern physicist might say is the quantum is ‘non-real’, meaning it doesn’t have definite measurables sans interaction with another quantum.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/94184030/An-Experimental-Test-of-Non-local-Realism-Anton-Zeilinger

    If each particle in the universe becomes real only by interacting with another particle, this is a form of awareness. If ‘consciousness’ comes into being with an awareness of the environment, then at least one aspect of that behavior can be seen at the most basic level of matter- the particles themselves become ‘real’ when they interact with, or ‘sense’ if you will, another particle.

    I’m suggesting if matter is ‘non-real’, then a basic aspect of consciousness ‘coming into being when aware of an outside reality’ is part of the basic make up of matter itself.

    Take that and bootstrap it.

    If this seems a bit incoherent, don’t blame me.
    That’s just how the idea came out. ;-)

  26. steve12on 31 Jul 2014 at 12:34 pm

    OJMc:

    “steve12 – don’t forget transcranial direct current stimulation ”

    Good point! I’m making the case weakly , as if TMS is the only example (biased toward the stuff I’ve used).

    In reality, there are many and better examples, and al point to the same conclusion

  27. steve12on 31 Jul 2014 at 12:42 pm

    “If each particle in the universe becomes real only by interacting with another particle, this is a form of awareness. ”

    Awareness on the part of whom? This makes no sense with any acceptable definition of awareness. This is similar to your refusal to sort out observer and detector. Nature will not acknowledge the wiggle room in language. It doesn’t give a shit about it.

  28. leo100on 31 Jul 2014 at 4:17 pm

    David Brooks exposes the materialist view that mind is produced by the brain.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/opinion/brooks-beyond-the-brain.html?hp&_r=1&

  29. steve12on 31 Jul 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I’m gad to see that David Brooks has the intellectual range to go from trite political horseshit to trite poplular science horseshit. That takes some talent.

  30. leo100on 31 Jul 2014 at 8:04 pm

    A question to all naturalists on here what would show that there is an afterlife?. Would it take a corpse coming out of the grave to prove it?. I already mentioned before what I think would falsified the filter theory of the brain.

  31. leo100on 31 Jul 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Of course I am using prove loosely here as there is not such thing as proof. Only evidence of probability that something is probably correct. For example I can only be at most 99.9 percent certain of something existing never 100 percent certain.

  32. the devils gummy bearon 31 Jul 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I don’t Leo. For a start, just a single shred of evidence, just a shred, which could imply the occurrence of your supernatural-wishful-beliefs in the natural universe. Just a shred. For a start. What you’ve brought to Neuroligica is junk; mostly garbled “quantum” crap you don’t understand, and a whole lot of paranormal-based interblags stuff. You think this stuff is compelling because you believe in supernatural things. You’re slant, here, is still this strange “materialist” (now naturalist) caricature you’re shadowboxing. I don’t understand why you keep coming round to have the same inane discussions over and over.

  33. the devils gummy bearon 31 Jul 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Oh shit! Leo brings Brooks.

    I just squibbed!

    Bashing the hackish idiocy of David Brooks on Neurologica? Is it xmas?

  34. the devils gummy bearon 31 Jul 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Just as an aside, the last time I squibbed like this was when PZ reviewed Brooks’ dreadful Social Animal.

    http://www.salon.com/2011/03/04/pz_myers_on_david_brooks_the_social_animal/

    Funniest bloody book review I have ever read.

    (non-Yanks: David Brooks in a columnist for the nyTimes. He’s basically an idiot, he exists solely to tell other millionaires like him that everything is sunny all the time forever because of millionaires like them. I don’t know how else to describe him… Intellectually vacuous? Revisionist? On every radio show and news show? Despite being demonstrably incompetent? Think Python’s upperclass twit of the year competition sketch)

  35. the devils gummy bearon 31 Jul 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Leo, fyi; David Brooks is about on par with the rest of the crap-based-thinking sources you’ve submitted to Neurologica. Brooks is a moron. He’s reliably 100% wrong about everything he decides to opine about. Specifically, in the article you linked to- he has very little idea of what he’s trying to write about (neuroscience) and it shows. It always shows in Brooks’ writing.

    Leo linking to a David Brooks article/thinking Brooks is a reliable/valid source of information. I really didn’t see that coming, but in hindsight… Well, to be fair, Leo probably doesn’t really read much politikin’ in ‘merikun papers, so he probably googled across something that seemed like a legit/serious source, who was whispering Leo’s fav sweet nothings.

  36. grabulaon 31 Jul 2014 at 11:41 pm

    @hardnose

    “I think there are substances and fields not yet recognized by mainstream materialist science, and I think the mind/brain functions may involve some of these substances and fields.”
    Leo100, is that you?!

    “Non-mainstream neuroscience does consider the idea that the mind/brain is much more than what mainstream neuroscience has been studying.”

    WTF is ‘non-mainstream neuroscience’?

    @Ekko

    “When I wrote the comment above on use of the machine metaphor to describe the brain, I was thinking of Arthur C. Clarke’s famous quote”

    This has crossed my mind as well at pretty accurately describing the world and parts of it before we understand it. Take particle/quantum physics now, to some it seems ‘magical’ in behavior hence the attempts to use it to fill in gaps in thinking.

    @steve12

    “Can you give me an example of mind independent of brain?”
    I got this one Steve12…no.

  37. grabulaon 31 Jul 2014 at 11:43 pm

    ugh, another round of BJ7 (no offense) sonic and leo going round n round with no resolution. I predict this will turn into an exact duplicate of the last thread on this subject. It’s already shaping up to be – sonics hit his favorite quantum mechanics, and leo is already using bad newspaper articles written by credulous writers as evidence for his stance.

  38. the devils gummy bearon 01 Aug 2014 at 12:04 am

    Every brain thing or neuroscience thing Steve posts is going to turn into this… Have we gotten to Andre Lunde yet???

    (singing) if I only had a brain…

  39. the devils gummy bearon 01 Aug 2014 at 12:07 am

    (shaking fist at “materialists”)

    I’ve actually learned a LOT following the brain comments, from Steve.1.0 and Steve12, and the rest…

  40. the devils gummy bearon 01 Aug 2014 at 12:25 am

    I think I mean Andrei Linde, not Lund.

    Crap. The fact that I brought us to Linde means my question was a paradox. Idiot!

  41. BillyJoe7on 01 Aug 2014 at 9:45 am

    steve,

    “Nature will not acknowledge the wiggle room in language. It doesn’t give a shit about it”

    Great sonic epitaph.
    Here lies sonic.
    His ideas lived and died on equivocation.

    ——————————-

    sonic: “To some extent it can be said the particles become real when they interact with the other particles– obviously if a particle can never interact, then we can ignore it’s existence for scientific purposes; the fact that it interacts is what makes it real is an extreme example of the principle”

    OMG.

    sonic: “If each particle in the universe becomes real only by interacting with another particle, this is a form of awareness. If ‘consciousness’ comes into being with an awareness of the environment, then at least one aspect of that behavior can be seen at the most basic level of matter- the particles themselves become ‘real’ when they interact with, or ‘sense’ if you will, another particle”

    OMFG.

    sonic: “If this seems a bit incoherent, don’t blame me
    That’s just how the idea came out. ;-)

    And that’s your ticket out of the grave.
    Only joking folks!
    Oh well, while you’re in a good mood, you may as well watch this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

    Friggin’ hilarious.

  42. hardnoseon 01 Aug 2014 at 7:22 pm

    “What there won’t be is some dramatic paradigm shift…Nor will we have discovered new fundamental particles and forces that are crucial to telling the story of everyday phenomena. If those existed, we would have found them by now.”

    How they heck can he KNOW they would have found them by now?

  43. hardnoseon 01 Aug 2014 at 7:24 pm

    And yes I know that things that doing something to the brain can affect the mind. What do you think the five senses are for?

  44. leo100on 01 Aug 2014 at 10:08 pm

    DGB,

    I really don’t think so take a look at this comment made

    “Well i never thought I would ever say this, but for once Brooks has it mostly right”.

    “To extend his comments, another problem with interpreting fMRI scans and PET scans is that the beautiful images are made by summing signals over time, or taking readings over time, when we all know that neuronal activity happens faster than an eyeblink. So what indeed is being measured? It is not that the quest is misguided but rather the temptation to over-conclude”.

    “Brooks is right to say that it is a mistake to take research findings and claim they have meanings that are not there”.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/opinion/brooks-beyond-the-brain.html?_r=0

  45. leo100on 01 Aug 2014 at 10:12 pm

    It obvious that I ain’t welcome here though so it’s best to take off and don’t look back. Yes I said this before and came back but I am NOT coming back this time.

  46. BillyJoe7on 02 Aug 2014 at 1:47 am

    hardnose:

    Sean Carroll: “What there won’t be is some dramatic paradigm shift…Nor will we have discovered new fundamental particles and forces that are crucial to telling the story of everyday phenomena. If those existed, we would have found them by now.”

    hardnose: “How they heck can he KNOW they would have found them by now?”

    Here are the relevant posts from Sean Carroll’s blog:

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2010/09/23/the-laws-underlying-the-physics-of-everyday-life-are-completely-understood/

    Interesting tidbit:
    “All we need to account for everything we see in our everyday lives are a handful of particles (electrons, protons, neutrons) interacting via a few forces (the nuclear forces, gravity, electromagnetism) subject to the basic rules of quantum mechanics and general relativity…That’s a remarkably short list of ingredients, to account for all the marvelous diversity of things we see in the world.”

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2010/09/29/seriously-the-laws-underlying-the-physics-of-everyday-life-really-are-completely-understood/

    Interesting tidbit:
    “What would be a refutation of my claim that we understand the laws underlying everyday phenomena? Easy: point to just one example of an everyday phenomenon that provides evidence of “new physics” beyond the laws we know. Something directly visible that requires a violation of general relativity or the Standard Model. That’s all it would take, but there aren’t any such phenomena”

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2010/10/01/one-last-stab/

    Interesting tidbit:
    “In every single case [of how everyday phenomena work], the basic underlying story…would involve the particles of the Standard Model, interacting through electromagnetism, gravity, and the nuclear forces, according to the principles of quantum mechanics and general relativity…one thousand years from now, you will still hear precisely that same story”

    Enjoy!
    (Lot’s of comments as well – hence the two follow up blogs)

  47. BillyJoe7on 02 Aug 2014 at 2:17 am

    hardnose,

    “How they heck can he KNOW they would have found them by now?”

    Bonus Sean Carroll post:

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2008/02/18/telekinesis-and-quantum-field-theory/

    “Could there be a new force, as yet undetected by modern science? Of course! The point is that such forces are characterized by three things: their range, their strength, and their source…we know what the possible sources are: quarks, gluons, photons, electrons. So all we have to do is a set of experiments that look for forces between different combinations of those particles. And these experiments have been done! The answer is: any new forces that might be lurking out there are either far too short-range to effect everyday objects, or far too weak to have readily observable effects”

  48. hardnoseon 02 Aug 2014 at 2:05 pm

    “we know what the possible sources are: quarks, gluons, photons, electrons.”

    So, because he SAYS they know that, you believe it. This is not skepticism.

  49. hardnoseon 02 Aug 2014 at 2:14 pm

    ” I m not, as a hopelessly optimistic scientist from the year 1900 might have been tempted to do, predicting that soon we will understand everything. That’s an invitation to ridicule. Indeed, we know lots of cases where the known laws of physics are manifestly insufficient: dark matter, dark energy, electroweak symmetry breaking, the Big Bang, quantum gravity, the matter/antimatter asymmetry, and so on. We might answer all these questions soon, or it might take a really long time. But these are all rather dramatically outside our everyday experience. When it comes to everyday phenomena that are incompletely understood, from consciousness to photosynthesis, there is every reason to believe that an ultimate explanation will be obtained within the framework of the underlying laws we know, not from stepping outside that framework.”

    His statement does not actually make sense. What are “everyday phenomena?” And what about non-everyday phenomena? He doesn’t claim they know the laws underlying them. And how exactly can you differentiate between everyday and non-everyday?

    And photosynthesis has been found to involve quantum level effects. So his statement is out of date, in addition to not making sense.

  50. BillyJoe7on 02 Aug 2014 at 9:10 pm

    hardnose,

    “So, because he SAYS they know that, you believe it. This is not skepticism.”

    Apparently, skepticism is to deny the facts of science and to gobble up some fringe anti-science view!
    I gave you plenty of references where he explains this.
    I even gave you plenty of quotes as well.

    “What are “everyday phenomena?””

    Phenomena that occur (ie riding bicycles) or don’t occur (ie minds bending spoons) here on Earth at the macro scale (as opposed to things that occur only in the universe at large or only at the quantum level).

    “And what about non-everyday phenomena?”

    They are irelevant to this discussion.
    We are talking about phenomena that occur (or don’t occur) here on Earth at the macro scale

    “And how exactly can you differentiate between everyday and non-everyday?”

    By differentiating laws that govern phenomena that occur here on Earth from laws that govern phenomena that only occur in the universe at large or only at the quantum level.

    “And photosynthesis has been found to involve quantum level effects”

    Geiger counters have been around since 1928.
    Do you really think Sean Carroll is not aware of this or finds it problematic?
    (also, the photosynthesis thing is pure speculation at this point in time)

  51. hardnoseon 03 Aug 2014 at 11:24 am

    “By differentiating laws that govern phenomena that occur here on Earth from laws that govern phenomena that only occur in the universe at large or only at the quantum level.”

    That statement is really silly. Earth is part of the universe at large, and is it made up of things that happen at the quantum level.

  52. hardnoseon 03 Aug 2014 at 11:27 am

    “Do you really think Sean Carroll is not aware of this or finds it problematic?
    (also, the photosynthesis thing is pure speculation at this point in time)”

    If he finds it problematic, then why would he claim that it isn’t problematic?

    And the photosynthesis thing is NOT speculation.

  53. BillyJoe7on 03 Aug 2014 at 6:02 pm

    hardnose,

    “That statement is really silly. Earth is part of the universe at large, and is it made up of things that happen at the quantum level.”

    It’s not a silly statement, you have simply misunderstood it.
    Dark matter and dark energy, which are part opf the universe at large, are not part of everyday experience here on Earth, so we don’t need an understanding of these things in order to explain our everyday experiences. Same with quantum phenomena. Unless you’ve decohered lately or turned into a wavefunction.

    “If he finds it problematic, then why would he claim that it isn’t problematic?”

    He obviously DOESN’T find it problematic!!!
    And you are wrong about the photosynthesis thing…on two levels.
    It hasn’t been confirmed AND it doesn’t matter because geiger counters have been around for over ninety years. The photosynthesis thing is no more problematic than clicks on a geiger counter.

  54. hardnoseon 03 Aug 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Quantum phenomena underlie all of our everyday experiences.

  55. the devils gummy bearon 03 Aug 2014 at 8:43 pm

    It would explain the sock problem.

  56. Ekkoon 04 Aug 2014 at 12:54 am

    “Quantum phenomena underlie all of our everyday experiences.”

    “It would explain the sock problem.”

    Lol! I’m still waiting for the day I can pass through walls myself…

  57. BillyJoe7on 04 Aug 2014 at 8:04 am

    :)

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