On the absurd hegemony of science

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Atla
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » November 21st, 2020, 6:28 am

Greta wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 5:34 am
It depends on what we mean by consciousness. You are no doubt aware of Kaku's "physicist version" of panpsychism, attributing a unit of consciousness to each sense and response, though his examples appear not to consider the internal senses and responses of the body systems you mentioned above.
(Sorry I'll have to cut up your comment into segments, I don't like doing that either.)

I'm not really aware of the above. He seemed to be talking about coming up with a way to count feedback loops? Do machines that use feedback loops have units of consciousness?
I don't see what that has to do with panpsychism. Or the question what consciousness (in the Hard problem sense) is anyway.
By the same token, we can consider panvitalism, which again depends on definitions. So a rock is no more alive than it is conscious, but it can be thought of as part of larger living systems, just as calcium carbonate molecules in our bones are no more alive than rocks but they are part of a living entity.
It seems to be rather arbitrary what we categorize as living or non-living. We could even say that the entire universe is alive. There seems to be no reason to make the age-old assumtpion that this anything to do with consciousness (in the Hard problem sense).
Where does a life or consciousness start or stop? Reality seems to consist of things and their emanations, a division that becomes notoriously hard to parse on the quantum scale, hence subatomic "wavicles". At what point are things and their impacts on environment separate? Eg. Are the atmosphere and magnetospheres part of the Earth or its products? If so, are the hydrosphere and biosphere also just a products of the Earth, or part of it?
Reality seems to consist of things and their emanations, but this age-old picture was thoroughly destroyed by modern science. There is no such division, everything is on 'equal footing' in the universe without separations.

There is also no division between the large-scale world and the quantum-scale world. This was merely a convenient lie that was popularized in the early days of quantum theory. Recently with advances in technology, this lie has beome untenable.

And there's no reason to think to begin with, that the above two kinds of divisions were identical/related to each other.
These are questions that are perhaps more of interest to philosophers than scientists. There's less scientists can do with such questions in their work than more focussed and practical questions such as "How much will the atmosphere heat up in the future?" and "How will climate change affect hydrological cycles?".
That's why most philosophers and scientists are lagging behind. It can already be stated that Hard problem probably lies beyond such issues.
I wonder if emergences are misunderstood? As far as I can tell, emergences are thought to create completely novel phenomena, but I would say it's more a matter of rapid major change of pre-existing phenomena. So the first microbe would have been very similar to the last non living bundle of complex chemicals that preceded it. A newly ignited star might now have nuclear reactions within but the protostar before the ignition was no weakling - still a humongous, extremely hot object in space.

So the first "conscious" organism would differ only slightly from the most complex reflexive organism that preceded it. So it seems with all emergences.
Strong emergence is perhaps the most widely accepted form of crazy magical thinking in science. To the best of our knowledge, nothing extra is ever created in the universe. As apparent complexity around these parts of the universe goes up, we simply encounter newer and newer things and patterns we haven't seen before. But they didn't 'emerge out of nothing', they are just as much inseparable parts of the universe as is everything else.

So then people applied this strong emergence to consciousness as well: at some point, when the conditions were right, it just emerged out of nothing, popped out of nothing. Some scientists warn us that this looks like magic nothing more.

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Pattern-chaser
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 21st, 2020, 9:58 am

Atla wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 am
Strong emergence is perhaps the most widely accepted form of crazy magical thinking in science. To the best of our knowledge, nothing extra is ever created in the universe. As apparent complexity around these parts of the universe goes up, we simply encounter newer and newer things and patterns we haven't seen before. But they didn't 'emerge out of nothing', they are just as much inseparable parts of the universe as is everything else.

So then people applied this strong emergence to consciousness as well: at some point, when the conditions were right, it just emerged out of nothing, popped out of nothing. Some scientists warn us that this looks like magic nothing more.
You are right that nothing new is created from nothing (ignoring the possibility of something new emerging from the 'quantum foam'...), but some parts of the universe can reconfigure, such that, while no new parts are created, nevertheless a new combination emerges. But it doesn't emerge from nothing. As Greta says, the final product of emergence differs little from the product that immediately precedes it. But the whole process of emergence can produce an emergent product that hasn't been seen before. This is not magic.
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » November 21st, 2020, 11:03 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 9:58 am
You are right that nothing new is created from nothing (ignoring the possibility of something new emerging from the 'quantum foam'...), but some parts of the universe can reconfigure, such that, while no new parts are created, nevertheless a new combination emerges. But it doesn't emerge from nothing. As Greta says, the final product of emergence differs little from the product that immediately precedes it. But the whole process of emergence can produce an emergent product that hasn't been seen before. This is not magic.
Yes that's weak emergence, whic is the correct view imo, so we shouldn't be able to get consciousness (in the Hard problem sense) out of unconscious stuff.

The problem is with the belief in strong emergence as I said above. Where the whole is more than the sum of the parts, something extra comes out of certain combinations.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Greta » November 21st, 2020, 6:22 pm

Atla wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 am
Greta wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 5:34 am
It depends on what we mean by consciousness. You are no doubt aware of Kaku's "physicist version" of panpsychism, attributing a unit of consciousness to each sense and response, though his examples appear not to consider the internal senses and responses of the body systems you mentioned above.
(Sorry I'll have to cut up your comment into segments, I don't like doing that either.)

I'm not really aware of the above. He seemed to be talking about coming up with a way to count feedback loops? Do machines that use feedback loops have units of consciousness?
I don't see what that has to do with panpsychism. Or the question what consciousness (in the Hard problem sense) is anyway.
Fair point, as per the limited way MK presented the idea, but the concept can be extrapolated; an atom absorbing an electron and emitting a photon.
Atla wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 am
By the same token, we can consider panvitalism, which again depends on definitions. So a rock is no more alive than it is conscious, but it can be thought of as part of larger living systems, just as calcium carbonate molecules in our bones are no more alive than rocks but they are part of a living entity.
It seems to be rather arbitrary what we categorize as living or non-living. We could even say that the entire universe is alive. There seems to be no reason to make the age-old assumption that this anything to do with consciousness (in the Hard problem sense).
I am not convinced that life and consciousness can be entirely parsed but the idea is to speculative for me to defend on a forum.
Atla wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 am
I wonder if emergences are misunderstood? As far as I can tell, emergences are thought to create completely novel phenomena, but I would say it's more a matter of rapid major change of pre-existing phenomena. So the first microbe would have been very similar to the last non living bundle of complex chemicals that preceded it. A newly ignited star might now have nuclear reactions within but the protostar before the ignition was no weakling - still a humongous, extremely hot object in space.

So the first "conscious" organism would differ only slightly from the most complex reflexive organism that preceded it. So it seems with all emergences.
Strong emergence is perhaps the most widely accepted form of crazy magical thinking in science. To the best of our knowledge, nothing extra is ever created in the universe. As apparent complexity around these parts of the universe goes up, we simply encounter newer and newer things and patterns we haven't seen before. But they didn't 'emerge out of nothing', they are just as much inseparable parts of the universe as is everything else.

So then people applied this strong emergence to consciousness as well: at some point, when the conditions were right, it just emerged out of nothing, popped out of nothing. Some scientists warn us that this looks like magic nothing more.
Yes, what is magic but the failure to perceive causal chains, hence the notion of blissful ignorance. Children can enjoy the magic of Santa at Christmastime if they don't know what's going on.

Ultimately, emergence is the result of thresholds, breaking points being reached, but there is always significant gradation leading up to that point, as per the abiogenesis and stellar ignition examples given earlier.

So there is only a graded difference between the simplest brains and the most complex nerve rings, which came from nerve cords, which came from nerve nets, which emerged from neurons (which originally had a motor functions) ... which came from from glial cells, beget by action potentials, beget by membrane potentials, beget by ion channels. I know little about the details of these, but I have "faith" that there causal chains and graded forms exist that lead to all so-called strong emergences in nature, including consciousness.

If, with consciousness, "the lights ever came on", the first "lights" would have been maximally dim and short-lived. Whether that occurred in a microbe, a brained animal or an atom is hard to say.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » November 22nd, 2020, 3:27 am

Greta wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:22 pm
Yes, what is magic but the failure to perceive causal chains, hence the notion of blissful ignorance. Children can enjoy the magic of Santa at Christmastime if they don't know what's going on.

Ultimately, emergence is the result of thresholds, breaking points being reached, but there is always significant gradation leading up to that point, as per the abiogenesis and stellar ignition examples given earlier.

So there is only a graded difference between the simplest brains and the most complex nerve rings, which came from nerve cords, which came from nerve nets, which emerged from neurons (which originally had a motor functions) ... which came from from glial cells, beget by action potentials, beget by membrane potentials, beget by ion channels. I know little about the details of these, but I have "faith" that there causal chains and graded forms exist that lead to all so-called strong emergences in nature, including consciousness.

If, with consciousness, "the lights ever came on", the first "lights" would have been maximally dim and short-lived. Whether that occurred in a microbe, a brained animal or an atom is hard to say.
Yes and that's why science and philosophy are probably at a dead end now, when it comes to consciousness (in the Hard problem sense). They have "faith" that at some point, genuine magic happens, and we get a dimmest instance of consciousness out of a lack of consciousness. Even though consciousness is probably not a causal chain issue, as there's no known way to measure it.

Probably the only way forward is to abandon this hope, and start examining our major underlying philosophical assumptions.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 22nd, 2020, 8:45 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 9:58 am
You are right that nothing new is created from nothing (ignoring the possibility of something new emerging from the 'quantum foam'...), but some parts of the universe can reconfigure, such that, while no new parts are created, nevertheless a new combination emerges. But it doesn't emerge from nothing. As Greta says, the final product of emergence differs little from the product that immediately precedes it. But the whole process of emergence can produce an emergent product that hasn't been seen before. This is not magic.

Atla wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 11:03 am
Yes that's weak emergence, which is the correct view imo, so we shouldn't be able to get consciousness (in the Hard problem sense) out of unconscious stuff.

The problem is with the belief in strong emergence as I said above. Where the whole is more than the sum of the parts, something extra comes out of certain combinations.

Emergence describes something unexpected (according to a simple analysis); it's what you call "strong emergence". Your "weak" emergence is little more than combination. But the vocabulary is of little import. 😉


When emergence happens, it happens for the same reason that reductionism can fail (but in reverse). If the function of the whole is defined mainly by its parts, then reductionism can work on the whole, and emergence probably will not occur when the parts are combined.

But if the function of the whole is (strongly) dependent on the interconnections between the parts, reductionism will not work, and emergence may occur: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This isn't surprising, and it isn't magic. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts because the function of the whole is dependent on the interconnections between the parts, and it therefore is more than the simple sum of its components. It is the sum of its parts and their interconnections. No magic.

The human brain is a great example of emergence. Its function is heavily (wholly?) dependent on the interconnection of its parts, to the extent that the parts themselves are almost irrelevant. 😉 So, although brains may seem a bit magical, they're not. They're just heavily connection-oriented, which gives rise to an emergent product.
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 22nd, 2020, 8:52 am

Atla wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 3:27 am
Greta wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:22 pm
Yes, what is magic but the failure to perceive causal chains, hence the notion of blissful ignorance. Children can enjoy the magic of Santa at Christmastime if they don't know what's going on.

Ultimately, emergence is the result of thresholds, breaking points being reached, but there is always significant gradation leading up to that point, as per the abiogenesis and stellar ignition examples given earlier.

So there is only a graded difference between the simplest brains and the most complex nerve rings, which came from nerve cords, which came from nerve nets, which emerged from neurons (which originally had a motor functions) ... which came from from glial cells, beget by action potentials, beget by membrane potentials, beget by ion channels. I know little about the details of these, but I have "faith" that there causal chains and graded forms exist that lead to all so-called strong emergences in nature, including consciousness.

If, with consciousness, "the lights ever came on", the first "lights" would have been maximally dim and short-lived. Whether that occurred in a microbe, a brained animal or an atom is hard to say.
Yes and that's why science and philosophy are probably at a dead end now, when it comes to consciousness (in the Hard problem sense). They have "faith" that at some point, genuine magic happens, and we get a dimmest instance of consciousness out of a lack of consciousness. Even though consciousness is probably not a causal chain issue, as there's no known way to measure it.

Probably the only way forward is to abandon this hope, and start examining our major underlying philosophical assumptions.
I think the 'magic' is what happens when you ignore the contribution of interconnections to the function of a whole. It looks like magic, just as a smart phone might look to Shakespeare.
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » November 22nd, 2020, 9:01 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 8:45 am
Emergence describes something unexpected (according to a simple analysis); it's what you call "strong emergence". Your "weak" emergence is little more than combination. But the vocabulary is of little import. 😉


When emergence happens, it happens for the same reason that reductionism can fail (but in reverse). If the function of the whole is defined mainly by its parts, then reductionism can work on the whole, and emergence probably will not occur when the parts are combined.

But if the function of the whole is (strongly) dependent on the interconnections between the parts, reductionism will not work, and emergence may occur: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This isn't surprising, and it isn't magic. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts because the function of the whole is dependent on the interconnections between the parts, and it therefore is more than the simple sum of its components. It is the sum of its parts and their interconnections. No magic.

The human brain is a great example of emergence. Its function is heavily (wholly?) dependent on the interconnection of its parts, to the extent that the parts themselves are almost irrelevant. 😉 So, although brains may seem a bit magical, they're not. They're just heavily connection-oriented, which gives rise to an emergent product.
I think you got things mixed up again.
We can say that a high-level phenomenon is strongly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are not deducible even in principle from truths in the low-level domain. Strong emergence is the notion of emergence that is most common in philosophical discussions of emergence, and is the notion invoked by the British emergentists of the 1920s.

We can say that a high-level phenomenon is weakly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are unexpected given the principles governing the low-level domain. Weak emergence is the notion of emergence that is most common in recent scientific discussions of emergence, and is the notion that is typically invoked by proponents of emergence in complex systems theory.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 22nd, 2020, 9:39 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 8:45 am
Emergence describes something unexpected (according to a simple analysis); it's what you call "strong emergence". Your "weak" emergence is little more than combination. But the vocabulary is of little import. 😉


When emergence happens, it happens for the same reason that reductionism can fail (but in reverse). If the function of the whole is defined mainly by its parts, then reductionism can work on the whole, and emergence probably will not occur when the parts are combined.

But if the function of the whole is (strongly) dependent on the interconnections between the parts, reductionism will not work, and emergence may occur: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This isn't surprising, and it isn't magic. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts because the function of the whole is dependent on the interconnections between the parts, and it therefore is more than the simple sum of its components. It is the sum of its parts and their interconnections. No magic.

The human brain is a great example of emergence. Its function is heavily (wholly?) dependent on the interconnection of its parts, to the extent that the parts themselves are almost irrelevant. 😉 So, although brains may seem a bit magical, they're not. They're just heavily connection-oriented, which gives rise to an emergent product.
Atla wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 9:01 am
I think you got things mixed up again.

No, I think you focussed on the vocabulary, not the issue. Read the rest of my post, please. Thanks.
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » November 22nd, 2020, 9:55 am

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 9:39 am
Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 8:45 am
Emergence describes something unexpected (according to a simple analysis); it's what you call "strong emergence". Your "weak" emergence is little more than combination. But the vocabulary is of little import. 😉


When emergence happens, it happens for the same reason that reductionism can fail (but in reverse). If the function of the whole is defined mainly by its parts, then reductionism can work on the whole, and emergence probably will not occur when the parts are combined.

But if the function of the whole is (strongly) dependent on the interconnections between the parts, reductionism will not work, and emergence may occur: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This isn't surprising, and it isn't magic. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts because the function of the whole is dependent on the interconnections between the parts, and it therefore is more than the simple sum of its components. It is the sum of its parts and their interconnections. No magic.

The human brain is a great example of emergence. Its function is heavily (wholly?) dependent on the interconnection of its parts, to the extent that the parts themselves are almost irrelevant. 😉 So, although brains may seem a bit magical, they're not. They're just heavily connection-oriented, which gives rise to an emergent product.
Atla wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 9:01 am
I think you got things mixed up again.

No, I think you focussed on the vocabulary, not the issue. Read the rest of my post, please. Thanks.
For the ~fourth time then: you are talking about weak emergence. I was talking about strong emergence. The distinction between them is the very issue, when it comes to the Hard problem of consciousness.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Pattern-chaser » November 22nd, 2020, 12:20 pm

Atla wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 9:55 am
I was talking about strong emergence. The distinction between them is the very issue, when it comes to the Hard problem of consciousness.
Who's discussing consciousness? Not me. This is about the absurd hegemony of science, in general, and about emergence in this sub-thread of the discussion. If you want to include consciousness too, there will be little this topic doesn't cover. Too much for one topic, methinks.
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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » November 22nd, 2020, 12:36 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 12:20 pm
Atla wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 9:55 am
I was talking about strong emergence. The distinction between them is the very issue, when it comes to the Hard problem of consciousness.
Who's discussing consciousness? Not me. This is about the absurd hegemony of science, in general, and about emergence in this sub-thread of the discussion. If you want to include consciousness too, there will be little this topic doesn't cover. Too much for one topic, methinks.
YOU replied to comments of mine that were discussing emergence in the context of the Hard problem of consciousness.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Faustus5 » November 22nd, 2020, 12:46 pm

Atla wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
For anyone with some semblance of intellect, the shape of the Earth is NOT flat, and the Hard problem IS an existing, coherent problem.
So stamping your feet is the best you can do. Well, two can play that game: I assert that to anyone with some semblance of intellect, the Hard problem is nothing more than an incoherent illusion. See how easy that is?
Atla wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
It can't address what consciousness is, because that is currently unknown. That is the hard problem, get your facts straight.
We know what consciousness is. The Global Neuronal Workspace model tells us exactly what it is and how it comes about. Get your facts straight.
Atla wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
That is not the mainstream consensus, you continue to repeat your ignorance.
It is the mainstream consensus, cupcake. If you were right and I were wrong, you would have no problem citing specific evidence in which consciousness played a special role in the measurement problem, and despite repeated requests, you can't.
Atla wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
Here I wrote it down 3 timnes. You can also read that chapter I linked I'm getting tired of repeating myself.
You babbled incoherently and waved vaguely in various meaningless directions instead of explicitly spelling out how consciousness is involved with the measurement problem.

This is exactly what one should expect when someone who believes in non-scientific New Age nonsense has their backs to the wall.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Atla » November 22nd, 2020, 1:08 pm

Faustus5 wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 12:46 pm
Atla wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
For anyone with some semblance of intellect, the shape of the Earth is NOT flat, and the Hard problem IS an existing, coherent problem.
So stamping your feet is the best you can do. Well, two can play that game: I assert that to anyone with some semblance of intellect, the Hard problem is nothing more than an incoherent illusion. See how easy that is?
Atla wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
It can't address what consciousness is, because that is currently unknown. That is the hard problem, get your facts straight.
We know what consciousness is. The Global Neuronal Workspace model tells us exactly what it is and how it comes about. Get your facts straight.
Atla wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
That is not the mainstream consensus, you continue to repeat your ignorance.
It is the mainstream consensus, cupcake. If you were right and I were wrong, you would have no problem citing specific evidence in which consciousness played a special role in the measurement problem, and despite repeated requests, you can't.
Atla wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
Here I wrote it down 3 timnes. You can also read that chapter I linked I'm getting tired of repeating myself.
You babbled incoherently and waved vaguely in various meaningless directions instead of explicitly spelling out how consciousness is involved with the measurement problem.

This is exactly what one should expect when someone who believes in non-scientific New Age nonsense has their backs to the wall.
So this has gotten to a point where you say things like
absolutely nothing to do with consciousness in any sense of the term
consciousness played a special role
and then act like you said the exact same thing twice.

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Re: On the absurd hegemony of science

Post by Gertie » November 22nd, 2020, 5:38 pm

PC
When emergence happens, it happens for the same reason that reductionism can fail (but in reverse). If the function of the whole is defined mainly by its parts, then reductionism can work on the whole, and emergence probably will not occur when the parts are combined.

But if the function of the whole is (strongly) dependent on the interconnections between the parts, reductionism will not work, and emergence may occur: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This isn't surprising, and it isn't magic. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts because the function of the whole is dependent on the interconnections between the parts, and it therefore is more than the simple sum of its components. It is the sum of its parts and their interconnections. No magic.

The human brain is a great example of emergence. Its function is heavily (wholly?) dependent on the interconnection of its parts, to the extent that the parts themselves are almost irrelevant. 😉 So, although brains may seem a bit magical, they're not. They're just heavily connection-oriented, which gives rise to an emergent product.
Nobody thinks the way physical brains work is magic, we assume they conform with the scientific physicalist account of material stuff and processes/connections.

But what this physicalist account does not include, explain or predict is the emergence of experience.

If it did, there would be no issue. Like we accept H2O molecules interacting in particular ways can result in solid ice of liquid water, these are novel properties resulting from understood, physical processes. All subject to the same physical laws, accounted for and predictable by physics. No magic required.

There is no such physicalist explanation for conscious experience. No-one knows what such an explanation might in principle be, or what to look for. That is why it is called The Hard Problem. And why simply assuming conscious experience is an emergent property of material processes/connections isn't justified.

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