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October 31, 2005

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puma

What do you mean by genetically programmed?

cnulan

Structural tendencies are a given, right? Two eyes, two legs, two hands, etc..., So what Hanson is referring to here is the functionally simple and obvious stuff, e.g., language acquisition faculty, generative grammar, visual preponderance in the human lexical field, stereotypical emotional states - common to mammalian vertebrates - not merely humans, etc.., a substantial amount of human-ness - including quite complex behaviours - is rooted in unlearned, instinctual, genetically programmed functional tendencies of the organism.

Lions don't graze for a living, beavers do build dams, and spiders do spin webs.., we humans perform quite a few genetically programmed functions, as well.

puma

I have a problem with your reasoning that behavior derives from genes and environment.

Genes represent the physiological make-up of living organisms. Behavior in this respect is limited to the physiological capabilities of the living organism. For instance cows can't fly because it isn't within their physiological capability.

We also have to look at normal and abnormal behavior. Normal is a cow grazing in the pasture; Abnormal is a cow jumping up and down trying to fly.

We also have to contend with free will. I might establish a pattern of behavior by drink martinis every night of the week. I might not want to drink martinis any more and start drinking Kool Aid and establish a new pattern of behavior. This is not genetic or environmental unless you want to identify establishing a pattern of behavior, behavior.

Experience is perhaps the most influencial determinate of behavior.

I wish I could continue but the subject is more complex than time allows.

cnulan

You haven't questioned my reasoning or my examples, in any way at all. Further, you've not demonstrated any reasoning of your own, instead you've simply asserted some beliefs.

Based on what you wrote above, the subject appears to be a bit more complex than your current level of familiarity with its particulars allows you to meaningfully engage.

It's a very interesting subject matter and I strongly recommend you study it more carefully so that you can continue when time permits.

Temple3

just might have to keep this post - forever.

puma

My current level of familiarity is admittedly weak. at the same time it's strong enough to detect poor scholarship when I see it.

To deny experience, conditioning and perhaps a host of other factors in the development of behavior is sloppy. To insist theat genes make a substantial contribution to behavior disregarding free will is arrogance.

cnulan

The notion of free will epitomizes arrogant superstition. Puma, my friend, you are simply a machine functioning under a host of self-calming delusions. I suspect that you've been taught that consciousness is unitary, it's not. matter of fact, what you call consciousness is really nothing more than feeble attention.

Up to this point in our *exchange* - I hadn't seen fit to deny anything at all. Since, however, you advance this marvelous superstition as central to your position, I will here and now flatly deny the existence of free will in you or anyone else that you know.

In order to have will, one must first be conscious, and that friend Puma is a terribly rare and intermittent faculty for which this culture lost its core developmental competency a long time ago.

cnulan

It's human nature to inflate our self-importance so as to encompass all sorts of wild imaginings about miraculous faculties which - truth be known - we don't even begin to comprehend.

There are fewer conscious people in America at this moment than there are people who can write out the General Theory of Relativity from memory...,

Temple3

How do you know consciousness isn't unitary? (by that I assume you to mean - "whole" or "undivided") unless there's another definition like that 'memetic' thang you dropped way back when.

cnulan

first hand access and exposure to empirical evidence, coupled with introspective interrogation of shocking intensity and duration. you see T3, knowledge of the bicameral or multicameral nature of consciousness isn't particularly useful, until and unless you put it to Work.

cnulan

thought criminality coincides precisely with the moment you realize that usurpation of genomic governance is a distinct possibility...,

puma

You're right. I can't contend with these matters at your level. Your opinions, viewpoints and reasoning is much more developed than mine. As a result, it would take a considerable amount of my time to digest and respond to your comments.

Sorry to bother you.

cnulan

Sorry to bother you

No bother at all. My reaction to your assertion of free will was as fully loaded as your reaction to my assertion of a genetic component in behaviour.

We could reset, drop our respective philosophical and scientistic pretensions and approach the subject with an blank slate rather than our reactive predispositions. This way we could find out precisely how much we agree upon and how much we disagree upon and then proceed discursively from there. It's your call.

To that end, I'll go first by stating that I don't deny experience. I do, however, take for granted a genetic substrate active in determining the range and intensity of an organism's experiential response to stimuli. Take alcoholism for example, an alcoholic can very reasonably be described as someone with a genetically determined alcohol deficiency. He or she will have a quite different set of experiential tendencies relative to alcohol than will the non-alcoholic, agreed? The extent of the alcoholic's discretionary possibilities (choices) with regard to alcohol will have been determined to an extent which can't fairly be described as "free".

In any event, so that you understand completely where I'm coming from on this topic Puma, before I was 20, I came to the conclusion that consciousness is not exclusively an emergent property of neurons. That what we experience as consciousness has a great many precursor manifestations - not all of which - have slipped quietly into that dark night of mechanical silence.

When you stop and consider the relative immortality of the genome, how it pervades every cell of your body, the extent to which our behaviours are wrapped around ensuring its continuity, it calls into question who or what is calling the shots in our organism. For the past 24 years, having systematically studied this particular subject beginning with the Selfish Gene which compelled me to consider a genomic rather than organismic reference frame and wending my way down through Penrose and Hameroff which compelled me to look deeper than neurons for the substrate of consciousness I mean really, have you ever been fully satisfied with anyone's explanation of so-called instinctual behavior?

It just happens to be a subject that I take very seriously, more seriously than any other, and it colors my theological, ethical, and political world view.

puma

I do, however, take for granted a genetic substrate active in determining the range and intensity of an organism's experiential response to stimuli.

I think that this statement is leading to gene mutation.

If the intake of alcohol can cause gene mutation, and if that mutation can be passed on, then I have to agree that alcoholism is a valid example of behavior of the genetic sense.

At the same time, alcoholism introduces a chemical component into the behavior problem. Since the nucleotides are chemically based, and the body does not process alcohol as well as pother chemicals, it seems logical that alcohol could have a significant influence on genetic integrity.

But does this mutation predispose someone to alcoholism? Wouldn't it depend upon the amount, or nature, of the genetic mutation?

Finally, can "free will" properly be described as "free will" with only 2 degrees of freedom: Yes and No. At 50/50 "free will" is nothing more than a coin toss.

cnulan

I think that this statement is leading to gene mutation.

If the intake of alcohol can cause gene mutation, and if that mutation can be passed on, then I have to agree that alcoholism is a valid example of behavior of the genetic sense.

At the same time, alcoholism introduces a chemical component into the behavior problem. Since the nucleotides are chemically based, and the body does not process alcohol as well as pother chemicals, it seems logical that alcohol could have a significant influence on genetic integrity.

But does this mutation predispose someone to alcoholism? Wouldn't it depend upon the amount, or nature, of the genetic mutation?

The mechanism you describe above sounds slightly like Lamarckism unmellowed by many intervening generations across which a process of natural selection would stabilize and or amplify a trait.

Now, I suspect that something willful and intentional lurks below the surface of phenomenon of adaptation. i.e., I don't consider natural selection to be a purely mechanical process unaided by external information flows.

Such interventions of *conscious* influence are by no means free in my estimation, rather, they're lawful and work within a structurally and functionally constrained range of possibilities. I would very strongly encourage you to have a look at On Growth and Form

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