Re: Qualia and the Galactic Loony Bin

Harvey Newstrom (
Wed, 23 Jun 1999 00:07:51 -0400

I submit that your pattern-model will not occur without a causal-model brain actually running the consciousness programming and creating the patterns for the pattern-model brain. This was my objection to the examples. The disjointed neurons being fired in a pattern are being forced into this pattern by the causal-model brains. The patterns are *caused* by the causal-model brains. The sequence from one pattern to the next is *caused* by the causal-model brains. Random patterns of bits can't rearrange themselves to form a coherent stream of consciousness unless there is a causal-model brain running, either in a human brain or on a mechanical computer CPU. Disks drives that have patterns of bits, or screen displays with patterns of bits cannot have a stream of data that responds or reacts except as directed by the causal-model brain.

Your so-called pattern-model for consciousness is merely a snapshot of a causal-model brain at a specific moment in time. Your series of programmed patterns is merely an animated picture of a brain working. It is not a functional brain by itself. It can never input data and react. It can never do anything other than replay the pattern that is being animated. It is a movie of a brain being conscious, so it looks very much like a brain being conscious, but it fails any Turing Test. Ask the film a question. It can't answer until the causal brain makes a new film of a brain giving the answer. Then, when that film is played back, it will appear that the pattern brain has answered. The pattern-brain cannot meet the definitions of life or consciousness without having a causal-model brain standing in for it.

Harvey Newstrom <mailto://> <>
Author, Consultant, Engineer, Legal Hacker, Researcher, Scientist.

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 1999 10:24 pm
Subject: Re: Qualia and the Galactic Loony Bin

> Several people have pointed to the lack of connectivity and causality in
> the separated-brain experiment as reasons to believe it is not conscious.
> I think this illustrates that there are two models of consciousness
> even within the functionalist/computationalist paradigm: the pattern
> model, and the causal model.
> In the pattern model, consciousness is associated with a certain pattern
> of events, such as the pattern of neural firings in our brains.
> that pattern will cause the consciousness to exist again.