# Energy and PCT

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.13.14.54NZT)

I’m getting the
distinct feeling that there is an incompatibility with PCT and the concept of energy
as we know it in scientific and engineering circles.

I’m my last few conversations
(over some weeks now off list and on list) I’m sensing that we have a Maxwell Demon in disguise with PCT.

If this is so then, this
is something that I have mentioned many times before that
I’m very keen to continue exploring.

Regards

Gavin

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.14.13.35NZT)

[From Bill Powers
(2010.02.13.0818 MST)]

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.13.15.20NZT –

I’m going to split up the responses
because they are on different semantical tracks.

The meaning of the term “signal” in PCT, and engineering in general,
is not the common-sense meaning of a coded message or a starter’s gun.

I’m an engineer so I know exactly what
a signal is. You use NSU units in PCT can you point me to the specific
texts so I can see what the relationship is between NSU units and the SI units.
That is what is the conversion factor of impulses per second?

For example I can convert temperature to Joules-1
using the beta function, so in SI units there are the 7 accepted quantities and
energy and all other variables can be calculated from these seven quantities.

It means the magnitude of
a physical quantity like a voltage or the frequency firing of a neuron.

My point exactly and this requires energy
any signal has an energy requirement otherwise there will not be a signal.

I used to own a company that manufactured
Mercury cadmium telluride semiconductor so this is an area I know a little about.
(Signals and voltage).

It is called a
signal because the physical variable involved is very weak, not able by itself
to caused any significant physical consequences, but its magnitude carries
information about the magnitude of some other variable that does have
significant physical effects.

How do you know this specifically? Can you
point me to the research in which shows there is only a weak signal? Because as
engineers we know that it takes 0.693kT joules of energy to transmit one bit.

At some point in a
network of signals, there is an amplifier (like a muscle) that transforms the
weak signal into a large physical effect, as the signal from a motor neuron is
transformed into a muscle tension that, in the biceps for example, can exert a
pull of over a quarter of a ton.

That, by the way, is the
primary place where metabolic energy is used – in the transformation from
signals to physical effects.

Can you point me to the specific research
which shows the relationship between the usage of energy in the nervous system
and the muscles?

In the control system, signals are combined by being added to or subtracted
from other signals – in terms of their magnitudes. The reference signal, set
to some steady number of impulses per second (a neural signal, that is), enters
a neural comparator,

Okay so where is the energy coming from to
do this. In our last correspondence you told me it just appears and used the
water level and energy conversion example saying that water is not transformed
into electricity and energy is just a calculation and nothing more.

This argument I have never heard before.

I think we have a Maxwell Demon situation with your
argument here.

Regards

Gavin

[From Bill Powers (2010.02.14.0515 MST)]

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.14.13.35NZT

GR: Im an engineer
so I know exactly what a signal is. You use NSU units in PCT can
you point me to the specific texts so I can see what the relationship is
between NSU units and the SI units. That is what is

the conversion factor of impulses per second?

BP:I don’t know: it probably varies with the sensor in question.

GR: For
example I can convert temperature to Joules-1 using the beta
function, so in SI units there are the 7 accepted quantities and energy
and all other variables can be calculated from these seven
quantities.

BP: OK, I’ll take your word for it. I knew all that stuff once but mostly
just use the derived units.

BP Earlier: It means the
magnitude of a physical quantity like a voltage or

the frequency firing of a neuron.

GR: My point exactly
and this requires energy any signal has an energy requirement otherwise
there will not be a signal.

BP: Of course, but neural signals do not carry energy from one place to
another. That’s not how they work. I used the analogy of a row of
dominoes standing on end. A small amount of energy is required to topple
the first domino. The first domino then is accelerated downward by
gravity, losing potential energy and gaining kinetic energy. At some
point it contacts the next domino and exerts the small amount of force
needed to topple it, then it goes on falling until it is overlapping the
next domino on the floor. And so it goes down the row of dominoes. That
is analogous to the way a neural impulse gets from one end of the axon to
the other. Actually, it’s an electrical breakdown phenomenon with the
discharge corresponding to a domino toppling. The discharge of one point
along the fiber triggers the discharge of the next point. The energy
required to recharge the membrane capacitance comes from the fluids
outside the axon; that’s like the energy required to stand the dominos up
again in preparation for the next “impulse.” In a nerve fiber,
there is a net loss of energy as the impulse propagates, which has to be
replaced by metabolism to allow the next impulse to propagate.

GR: I used to own a
company that manufactured Mercury cadmium telluride semiconductor so this
is an area I know a little about. (Signals and
voltage).

BP: For a person with such extensive knowledge and experience, you are
having unaccountable difficulty with understanding me.

BP Earlier: It is called a signal
because the physical variable involved is very weak, not able by itself
to caused any significant physical consequences, but its magnitude
carries information about the magnitude of some other variable that does
have significant physical effects.

GR: How do you know this specifically? Can you point me to the research
in which shows there is only a weak signal? Because as engineers we know
that it takes 0.693kT joules of energy to transmit one bit.

BP: We do not know any such thing. You can transmit one bit of
information without moving any energy from source to destination; in fact
you can transmit information by draining energy from the destination,
returning it to the source of the information. Telegraphers do that all
the time, or did (there probably aren’t many of them left). I don’t know
where you got your formula – it probably applies to some particular
case.

Neural signals are propagated by opening and closing channels in the wall
of the fiber to let ions in and out. See

](http://www.biologymad.com/NervousSystem/nerveimpulses.htm)One transfer involves moving three positively charged sodium ions
outward, charging the inside membrane potential to -70 millivolts. Three
charges amounts to 3.8E-19 coulombs so the energy change, the
product of charge times voltage, is 2.6E-20 joules. I don’t know how many
transfers are needed to recharge the membrane locally after the passage
of one impulse, but it can’t be very many, maybe only one. This is why I
say the energy involved in neural impulses is very tiny. “Tiny”
doesn’t begin to convey how small it is.

BP earlier: At some point in a
network of signals, there is an amplifier (like a muscle) that transforms
the weak signal into a large physical effect, as the signal from a motor
neuron is transformed into a muscle tension that, in the biceps for
example, can exert a pull of over a quarter of a ton.

That, by the way, is the
primary place where metabolic energy is used – in the transformation
from signals to physical effects.

GR: Can you point me
to the specific research which shows the relationship between the usage
of energy in the nervous system and the muscles?

No. Probably someone else can cite a textbook or handbook. Just judging
from the energy requirements for transmitting signals, and the observable
muscle forces acting through normal distances, it’s pretty clear that
muscles use millions of billions of times as much energy as the
innervating impulses use. Even if hundreds of thousands or millions of
impulses are needed to activate a muscle, the muscles uses immensely more
energy than the nerve signals use. That energy comes from ATP in
the intercellular fluids constantly being replenished from the
bloodstream near the muscles.

There are a lot of neurons in the brain; together, they would require a
fairly large expenditure of energy, for metabolism and signal handling,
though not much per neuron. Note that I say “expenditure” of
energy. Nerve activity uses up metabolic energy.

BP earlier: In the control system,
signals are combined by being added to or subtracted from other signals
– in terms of their magnitudes. The reference signal, set to some steady
number of impulses per second (a neural signal, that is), enters a neural
comparator,

GR: Okay so
where is the energy coming from to do this. In our last correspondence
you told me it just appears and used the water level and energy
conversion example saying that water is not transformed into electricity
and energy is just a calculation and nothing
more.

BP: That’s a pretty garbled version of what I wrote; if that’s what you
got from it I don’t blame you for not understanding it. I don’t
either.

The energy, as I keep saying, comes from metabolism, and has to be
supplied to nerves through their membranes from the surrounding fluids.
Stimulation of sensory nerves does not supply energy; it causes metabolic
energy to be used up to transmit the nerve signals.

GR: This argument I
have never heard before.

BP: The way you report what I said, neither have I.

GR: I think we have
a Maxwell Demon situation with your argument
here.

BP: Not at all. The energy balance is perfect, as usual in nature. All
the energy needed to transmit neural impulses and to make muscles
contract, and enough more to keep the person alive, is supplied by the
food that is eaten and the air that is breathed by the person.

Best,

Bill P.

(Gavin Ritz
2010.02.15.9.49NZT)

[From Bill Powers
(2010.02.14.0515 MST)]

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.14.13.35NZT

GR:
I’m an engineer so I know exactly what a signal is. You use NSU
units in PCT can you point me to the specific texts so I can see what the
relationship is between NSU units and the SI units. That is what is

the conversion factor of impulses per second?

BP:I don’t know: it probably varies with the sensor in question.

This is my point, so in other words PCT as
it stands, is truncated from modern scientific thinking.

GR:
For example I can convert temperature to Joules-1 using the beta
function, so in SI units there are the 7 accepted quantities and energy and all
other variables can be calculated from these seven quantities.

BP: OK, I’ll take your word for it. I knew all that stuff once but mostly just
use the derived units.

You seem to take this so lightly but this
is the crux of the assumptions you make in BCP. “No conservation
of energy”

BP Earlier: It means the
magnitude of a physical quantity like a voltage or

the frequency firing of a neuron.

GR: My
point exactly and this requires energy any signal has an energy requirement
otherwise there will not be a signal.

BP: Of course, but neural signals do not carry energy from one place to
another. That’s not how they work.

Yes okay but energy is required along the
entire nervous system to propagate them via the Na-K ion Pump.

I used the analogy of a
row of dominoes standing on end. A small amount of energy is required to topple
the first domino

No it’s not. Energy is required
along the entire length of the nerves. (Skou 1997)

. The first domino then
is accelerated downward by gravity, losing potential energy and gaining kinetic
energy. At some point it contacts the next domino and exerts the small amount
of force needed to topple it, then it goes on falling until it is overlapping
the next domino on the floor. And so it goes down the row of dominoes.

This machine analogy is 100% incorrect.

That is analogous to the
way a neural impulse gets from one end of the axon to the other.

Okay then how specifically does that
happen?

Actually, it’s an
electrical breakdown phenomenon with the discharge corresponding to a domino
toppling. The discharge of one point along the fiber triggers the discharge of
the next point. The energy required to recharge the membrane capacitance comes
from the fluids outside the axon; that’s like the energy required to stand the
dominos up again in preparation for the next “impulse.” In a nerve
fiber, there is a net loss of energy as the impulse propagates, which has to be
replaced by metabolism to allow the next impulse to propagate.

I’m just not sure how you get to all
this the signals are helped along but the ion pump.

GR: I
used to own a company that manufactured Mercury cadmium telluride semiconductor
so this is an area I know a little about. (Signals and voltage).

BP: For a person with such extensive knowledge and experience, you are having
unaccountable difficulty with understanding me.

Well for one a lot of what you saying just
doesn’t stack up.

BP Earlier: It is called
a signal because the physical variable involved is very weak, not able by
itself to caused any significant physical consequences, but its magnitude
carries information about the magnitude of some other variable that does have
significant physical effects.

GR: How do you know this specifically? Can you point me to the research in
which shows there is only a weak signal? Because as engineers we know that it
takes 0.693kT joules of energy to transmit one bit.

BP: We do not know any such thing. You can transmit one bit of information
without moving any energy from source to destination;

No ones talking about moving energy.

in fact you can transmit
information by draining energy from the destination, returning it to the source
of the information. Telegraphers do that all the time, or did
(there probably aren’t many of them left). I don’t know where you got your
formula – it probably applies to some particular case.

Basic communication theory from Shannon, (Peirce 1963) and no its
specific to transmitting one bit.

Neural signals are propagated by opening and closing channels in the wall of
the fiber to let ions in and out. See

](http://www.biologymad.com/NervousSystem/nerveimpulses.htm)One transfer involves moving three positively charged sodium ions outward,
charging the inside membrane potential to -70 millivolts. Three charges amounts
to 3.8E-19 coulombs so the energy change, the product of charge times
voltage, is 2.6E-20 joules. I don’t know how many transfers are needed to
recharge the membrane locally after the passage of one impulse, but it can’t be
very many, maybe only one. This is why I say the energy involved in neural
impulses is very tiny. “Tiny” doesn’t begin to convey how small it
is.

that’s the N-K pump and that little red blob is ATP being used up. So it
becomes ADP which is really just the dead husk of an ATP molecule and it’s
converted back to ATP via the ATPase synthase molecule (Walker 1997). This is all an
energy process.

BP earlier: At some point
in a network of signals, there is an amplifier (like a muscle) that transforms
the weak signal into a large physical effect, as the signal from a motor neuron
is transformed into a muscle tension that, in the biceps for example, can exert
a pull of over a quarter of a ton.

That, by the way, is the primary place where metabolic energy is
used – in the transformation from signals to physical effects.

GR: Can
you point me to the specific research which shows the relationship between the
usage of energy in the nervous system and the muscles?

No. Probably someone else can cite a textbook or handbook. Just judging from
the energy requirements for transmitting signals, and the observable muscle
forces acting through normal distances, it’s pretty clear that muscles use
millions of billions of times as much energy as the innervating impulses use.

Well you don’t actually know this.

Even if hundreds of
thousands or millions of impulses are needed to activate a muscle, the muscles
uses immensely more energy than the nerve signals use. That energy comes
from ATP in the intercellular fluids constantly being replenished from the
bloodstream near the muscles.

There are a lot of neurons in the brain; together, they would require a fairly
large expenditure of energy, for metabolism and signal handling, though not
much per neuron. Note that I say “expenditure” of energy. Nerve
activity uses up metabolic energy.

And so does the brain use huge amounts
actually 25% of the body’s energy requirement.

BP earlier: In the
control system, signals are combined by being added to or subtracted from other
signals – in terms of their magnitudes. The reference signal, set to some
steady number of impulses per second (a neural signal, that is), enters a
neural comparator,

GR: Okay so where is the energy coming from to do this. In our last
correspondence you told me it just appears and used the water level and energy
conversion example saying that water is not transformed into electricity and
energy is just a calculation and nothing more.

BP: That’s a pretty garbled version of what I wrote; if that’s what you got
from it I don’t blame you for not understanding it. I don’t either.

Well here it is exactly what you said.”

BP: “Energy is not
a thing or a substance. It’s a calculation.

This tells me a lot how you think about
energy.

BP:”You can
transform the potential energy of water in an elevated reservoir into
electrical energy simply by multiplying the number of foot-pounds by 1.355 times
to get joules or watt-seconds, times an efficiency factor that tells how much
work will be done by the generators against friction and other non-useful
factors.”

This does not mean there
is something in the water that gets into the electricity. The electrical energy
number in joules contains no trace of evidence about where it came from.

What does this mean? If not the interpretation
that I gave it.

BP: “It would be
the same number no matter what its metaphorical source. It’s just a (very
handy) calculation”.

Not too sure that many in the scientific
world would agree with this.

The energy, as I keep
saying, comes from metabolism,

Above you just said that it has no trace
from where it came from, here you say it comes from metabolism.

and has to be supplied to nerves through their membranes from the
surrounding fluids. Stimulation of sensory nerves does not supply
energy; it causes metabolic energy to be used up to transmit the nerve signals.

GR: This
argument I have never heard before.

BP: The way you report what I said, neither have I.

GR: I
think we have a Maxwell Demon situation with your argument here.

BP: Not at all. The energy balance is perfect, as usual in nature.

You
still have not explained how you convert your NSU units into the energy requirements
to generate those NSU units. In communication theory it’s pretty well
established that so much energy is required to transmit one bit. So how much
energy is required to transmit one NSU.

All
the energy needed to transmit neural impulses and to make muscles contract, and
enough more to keep the person alive, is supplied by the food that is eaten and
the air that is breathed by the person.

This doesn’t

Regards

Gavin

[From Bill Powers (2010.02.14.1435 MST)]

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.9.49NZT –

GR: Im an engineer
so I know exactly what a signal is. You use NSU units in PCT can
you point me to the specific texts so I can see what the relationship is
between NSU units and the SI units. That is what is the conversion factor
of impulses per second?

BP:I don’t know: it probably varies with the sensor in question.

This is my
point, so in other words PCT as it stands, is truncated from modern
scientific thinking.

There will always be some conversion factor. How many miles per gallon
will you get in a 2003 Subaru Forester? If you don’t want to venture a
guess, should I conclude that your understanding of cars is
“truncated from modern automotive thinking”? Your comment is
merely nasty.

GR: For
example I can convert temperature to Joules-1 using the beta
function, so in SI units there are the 7 accepted quantities and energy
and all other variables can be calculated from these seven
quantities.

BP: OK, I’ll take your word for it. I knew all that stuff once but mostly
just use the derived units.

You seem to
take this so lightly but this is the crux of the assumptions you make in
BCP. No conservation of energy

Learn to read, Gavin. I never said that. I even explained what I meant in
a post following your first misinterpretation of that statement. Neural
currents do not follow a conservation law like the one applying to the
conservation of electrical current in an electronic circuit: in the
electronic circuit, the sum of the currents after a wire divides into two
pathways is always equal to the current before the pathway divides. The
number of charges flowing can’t increase or decrease in such a circuit.
Total current is neither gained nor lost because of the division. In a
neural circuit, the rate of firing in each channel is the same as it is
in the single channel before the division: we end up with twice the total
neural current after the division, measured in impulses per second. This
is possible because the energy that keeps neural current going comes from
the fluids around the nerve fibers, not from the incoming impulses. There
is no need for a law of conservation of current (NOT “energy”).
Current flow in electronics is measure in amperes; energy flow is
measured in watts. Don’t you know the difference between amps and watts?
Conservation of current is not the same thing as conservation of
energy.

Reading on through the rest of your post, I have to conclude that my
exposition conflicts with your concepts of what is going on so severely
that there is no hope of communication or agreement. You clearly don’t
understand one word in three that I have written. I’m not blaming you for
that; I evidently don’t know how to communicate with you. I think I had
better leave that to someone else who can do it better than I
can.

Best,

Bill P.

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.11.27NZT)

[From Bill Powers
(2010.02.14.1435 MST)]

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.9.49NZT –

GR:
I’m an engineer so I know exactly what a signal is. You use NSU
units in PCT can you point me to the specific texts so I can see what the
relationship is between NSU units and the SI units. That is what is the
conversion factor of impulses per second?

BP:I don’t know: it probably varies with the sensor in question.
This is my point, so in other words PCT as it stands, is
truncated from modern scientific thinking.

There will always be some conversion factor. How many miles per gallon will you
get in a 2003 Subaru Forester? If you don’t want to venture a guess, should I
conclude that your understanding of cars is “truncated from modern
automotive thinking”? Your comment is merely nasty.

I’m being rigorous and you’re
being sensitive. You seem to be unable to take rigorous dialogue and very happy
to hand it out. Take it easy I’m actually pretty taken with PCT but there are
some big holes in it, which I have just highlighted in our dialogue.

GR:
For example I can convert temperature to Joules-1 using the beta
function, so in SI units there are the 7 accepted quantities and energy and all
other variables can be calculated from these seven quantities.

BP: OK, I’ll take your word for it. I knew all that stuff once but mostly just
use the derived units.
You seem to take this so lightly but this is the crux of the
assumptions you make in BCP. “No conservation of energy”

Learn to read, Gavin. I never said that.

Yes you did, below I have copied it word
for word from BCP.

I even explained what I
meant in a post following your first misinterpretation of that statement.
Neural currents do not follow a conservation law like the one applying to the
conservation of electrical current in an electronic circuit: in the electronic
circuit, the sum of the currents after a wire divides into two pathways is
always equal to the current before the pathway divides. The number of charges
flowing can’t increase or decrease in such a circuit. Total current is neither
gained nor lost because of the division. In a neural circuit, the rate of
firing in each channel is the same as it is in the single channel before the
division: we end up with twice the total neural current after the division,
measured in impulses per second. This is possible because the energy that keeps
neural current going comes from the fluids around the nerve fibers, not from
the incoming impulses. There is no need for a law of conservation of current
(NOT “energy”). Current flow in electronics is measure in amperes; energy
flow is measured in watts. Don’t you know the difference between amps and
watts? Conservation of current is not the same thing as conservation of energy.

Bill you are hopelessly out of touch with what’s going on in biochemistry.

You also change things to suite whatever ”now
you say conservation of current” but BCP is pretty clear here is
the exact wording from page 28 ” the energy that keeps the
disturbance going is not derived from the event that originally triggered the impulse,
but is continually supplied to the fiber along the whole length from the
surrounding fluids. No conservation law is needed” (Powers 2005 Benchmark
version).

Actually the sentence is somewhat correct the
conservation part is incorrect (and you couldn’t have know about the Na-K
ion pump); it complies with an energy conservation law.

Reading on through the rest of your post, I have to conclude that my exposition
conflicts with your concepts of what is going on so severely that there is no
hope of communication or agreement. You clearly don’t understand one word in
three that I have written. I’m not blaming you for that; I evidently don’t know
how to communicate with you. I think I had better leave that to someone else
who can do it better than I can.

Bill some of your arguments just don’t stack up. Hey we can’t
know everything.

Do you want PCT to survive and grow or not
or do you just want to dictate?

Have you lost sight on one of your good articles
in LCS1 or 2, have you given up on that.

Regards

Gavin

(Gavin Ritz
2010.02.15.12.28NZT)

Bill

LCS2 I would like to re hash it here word for word so you know what I’m
talking about page 222. Chapter “After Galileo”

“No one is free of
unexamined assumptions. Even I”

and further down the
page.

“I hope that this center for the Study
of Living Control Systems will continue and improve our tradition of
non-exclusion of welcoming anyone who wants to learn and judging no one on the
basis of what they believed before they understood control theory. I hope the
center will be center, not a ring fence around a perimeter. And I hope that
this centre will dissolve for the simple reason that the disciplines in the
life sciences have come together to form a single science based on successful
methods, accepting whatever is left by that time of control theory. Then my
work will be done”

Are some of these
principles still in place or has time and people changed this?

Regards

Gavin

(Gavin Ritz
2010.02.15.11.27NZT)

[From
Bill Powers (2010.02.14.1435 MST)]

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.9.49NZT –

GR:
I’m an engineer so I know exactly what a signal is. You use NSU units
in PCT can you point me to the specific texts so I can see what the
relationship is between NSU units and the SI units. That is what is the
conversion factor of impulses per second?

BP:I don’t know: it probably varies with the sensor in question.
This is my point, so in other words PCT as it stands, is
truncated from modern scientific thinking.

There will always be some conversion factor. How many miles per gallon will you
get in a 2003 Subaru Forester? If you don’t want to venture a guess, should I
conclude that your understanding of cars is “truncated from modern
automotive thinking”? Your comment is merely nasty.

I’m
being rigorous and you’re being sensitive. You seem to be unable to take
rigorous dialogue and very happy to hand it out. Take it easy I’m
actually pretty taken with PCT but there are some big holes in it, which I have
just highlighted in our dialogue.

GR:
For example I can convert temperature to Joules-1 using the beta
function, so in SI units there are the 7 accepted quantities and energy and all
other variables can be calculated from these seven quantities.

BP: OK, I’ll take your word for it. I knew all that stuff once but mostly just
use the derived units.
You seem to take this so lightly but this is the crux of the
assumptions you make in BCP. “No conservation of energy”

Learn to read, Gavin. I never said that.

Yes you
did, below I have copied it word for word from BCP.

I even explained what I
meant in a post following your first misinterpretation of that statement. Neural
currents do not follow a conservation law like the one applying to the
conservation of electrical current in an electronic circuit: in the electronic
circuit, the sum of the currents after a wire divides into two pathways is
always equal to the current before the pathway divides. The number of charges
flowing can’t increase or decrease in such a circuit. Total current is neither
gained nor lost because of the division. In a neural circuit, the rate of
firing in each channel is the same as it is in the single channel before the
division: we end up with twice the total neural current after the division,
measured in impulses per second. This is possible because the energy that keeps
neural current going comes from the fluids around the nerve fibers, not from
the incoming impulses. There is no need for a law of conservation of current
(NOT “energy”). Current flow in electronics is measure in amperes;
energy flow is measured in watts. Don’t you know the difference between amps
and watts? Conservation of current is not the same thing as conservation of
energy.

Bill you are hopelessly out of touch with what’s going on in
biochemistry.

You also
change things to suite whatever ”now you say conservation of
current” but BCP is pretty clear here is the exact wording from
page 28 ” the energy that keeps the disturbance going is not derived from
the event that originally triggered the impulse, but is continually supplied to
the fiber along the whole length from the surrounding fluids. No conservation law
is needed” (Powers 2005 Benchmark version).

Actually
the sentence is somewhat correct the conservation part is incorrect (and you
couldn’t have know about the Na-K ion pump); it complies with an energy
conservation law.

Reading on through the rest of your post, I have to conclude that my exposition
conflicts with your concepts of what is going on so severely that there is no
hope of communication or agreement. You clearly don’t understand one word in
three that I have written. I’m not blaming you for that; I evidently don’t know
how to communicate with you. I think I had better leave that to someone else
who can do it better than I can.

Bill some of your arguments just don’t stack up. Hey we
can’t know everything.

Do you
want PCT to survive and grow or not or do you just want to dictate?

Have you
lost sight on one of your good articles in LCS1 or 2, have you given up on
that.

Regards

Gavin

(Gavin Ritz
2010.02.15.11.27NZT)

[From
Bill Powers (2010.02.14.1435 MST)]

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.9.49NZT –

GR:
I’m an engineer so I know exactly what a signal is. You use NSU
units in PCT can you point me to the specific texts so I can see what the relationship
is between NSU units and the SI units. That is what is the conversion factor of
impulses per second?

BP:I don’t know: it probably varies with the sensor in question.
This is my point, so in other words PCT as it stands, is
truncated from modern scientific thinking.

There will always be some conversion factor. How many miles per gallon will you
get in a 2003 Subaru Forester? If you don’t want to venture a guess, should I
conclude that your understanding of cars is “truncated from modern automotive
thinking”? Your comment is merely nasty.

I’m
being rigorous and you’re being sensitive. You seem to be unable to take
rigorous dialogue and very happy to hand it out. Take it easy I’m
actually pretty taken with PCT but there are some big holes in it, which I have
just highlighted in our dialogue.

GR:
For example I can convert temperature to Joules-1 using the beta
function, so in SI units there are the 7 accepted quantities and energy and all
other variables can be calculated from these seven quantities.

BP: OK, I’ll take your word for it. I knew all that stuff once but mostly just
use the derived units.
You seem to take this so lightly but this is the crux of the
assumptions you make in BCP. “No conservation of energy”

Learn to read, Gavin. I never said that.

Yes you
did, below I have copied it word for word from BCP.

I even explained what I
meant in a post following your first misinterpretation of that statement.
Neural currents do not follow a conservation law like the one applying to the conservation
of electrical current in an electronic circuit: in the electronic circuit, the
sum of the currents after a wire divides into two pathways is always equal to
the current before the pathway divides. The number of charges flowing can’t
increase or decrease in such a circuit. Total current is neither gained nor
lost because of the division. In a neural circuit, the rate of firing in each
channel is the same as it is in the single channel before the division: we end
up with twice the total neural current after the division, measured in impulses
per second. This is possible because the energy that keeps neural current going
comes from the fluids around the nerve fibers, not from the incoming impulses.
There is no need for a law of conservation of current (NOT “energy”).
Current flow in electronics is measure in amperes; energy flow is measured in
watts. Don’t you know the difference between amps and watts? Conservation of
current is not the same thing as conservation of energy.

Bill you are hopelessly out of touch with what’s going on in
biochemistry.

You also
change things to suite whatever ”now you say conservation of
current” but BCP is pretty clear here is the exact wording from
page 28 ” the energy that keeps the disturbance going is not derived from
the event that originally triggered the impulse, but is continually supplied to
the fiber along the whole length from the surrounding fluids. No conservation
law is needed” (Powers 2005 Benchmark version).

Actually
the sentence is somewhat correct the conservation part is incorrect (and you
couldn’t have know about the Na-K ion pump); it complies with an energy
conservation law.

Reading on through the rest of your post, I have to conclude that my exposition
conflicts with your concepts of what is going on so severely that there is no
hope of communication or agreement. You clearly don’t understand one word in
three that I have written. I’m not blaming you for that; I evidently don’t know
how to communicate with you. I think I had better leave that to someone else
who can do it better than I can.

Bill some of your arguments just don’t stack up. Hey we
can’t know everything.

Do you
want PCT to survive and grow or not or do you just want to dictate?

Have you
lost sight on one of your good articles in LCS1 or 2, have you given up on
that.

Regards

Gavin

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.12.28NZT)

Bill

In my last comment about LCS2 I would like to re hash it here word
for word so you know what I’m talking about page 222. Chapter
“After Galileo”

“No one is free of unexamined assumptions. Even I”

and further down the page.

“I hope that this center for the Study of Living Control Systems will
continue and improve our tradition of non-exclusion of welcoming anyone who
wants to learn and judging no one on the basis of what they believed before
they understood control theory. I hope the center will be center, not a ring
fence around a perimeter. And I hope that this centre will dissolve for the
simple reason that the disciplines in the life sciences have come together to
form a single science based on successful methods, accepting whatever is left
by that time of control theory. Then my work will be done”

Are some of these principles still in place or has time and people
changed this?

Regards

Gavin

[From Rick Marken (2010.02.14.1925)]

Gavin Ritz (2010.02.15.12.28NZT) quotes Bill Powers:

I hope that this center for the Study of Living Control Systems will
continue and improve our tradition of non-exclusion of welcoming anyone who
wants to learn and judging no one on the basis of what they believed before
they understood control theory. I hope the center will be center, not a ring
fence around a perimeter…
Are some of these principles still in place or has time and people changed
this?
Still in place. We welcome anyone who wants to learn and judge no one on the basis of what they believed before they understood control theory. Notice that it doesn’t say that we welcome anyone who wants to teach contorl theory because they think they already understand it when they clearly don’t.

Best

Rick

···

Richard S. Marken PhD
rsmarken@gmail.com

[From Bill Powers (2010.02.14.1820 MST)]

Gavin Ritz
2010.02.15.11.27NZT –

BP: Learn to read, Gavin. I
never said that.

GR: Yes you did,
below I have copied it word for word from BCP.
BP: Conservation of current is
not the same thing as conservation of energy.

BP: I even explained what I
meant in a post following your first misinterpretation of that statement.
Neural currents do not follow a conservation law like the one applying to
the conservation of electrical current in an electronic circuit: in the
electronic circuit, the sum of the currents after a wire divides into two
pathways is always equal to the current before the pathway divides. The
number of charges flowing can’t increase or decrease in such a
circuit.

GR: Bill you are
hopelessly out of touch with whats going on in biochemistry.
GR: You also change things to
suite whatever now you say conservation of current but BCP is pretty
clear here is the exact wording from page 28  the energy that
keeps the disturbance going is not derived from the event that originally
triggered the impulse, but is continually supplied to the fiber along the
whole length from the surrounding fluids. No conservation law is needed
(Powers 2005 Benchmark version).
GR: Actually the sentence is
somewhat correct the conservation part is incorrect (and you couldnt
have know about the Na-K ion pump); it complies with an energy
conservation law.

BP: What does biochemistry have to do with the conservation laws of
physics? Of course biochemistry is subject to those laws, but they
(expecially the conservation of flowing charges) aren’t central to
biochemistry, and what is going on in biochemistry tends to be about
chemistry, not physics. I think I am as aware of current neuroscience
concepts as you are.

That explains how it is that neural signals can be duplicated with each
branch carrying the same signal instead of only half of it. But it also
shows that no energy conservation law applies, either, because this is
not a thermodynamically closed system. Energy conservation laws apply
only in a very broad sense. Since energy is expended in the nerve fibers
and is supplied as needed from local stores generated from metabolic
energy, which comes from food and air intake, the circuit is not
insulated from its environment as electric circuits are, and can gain and
lose energy without relying on the signal for it. In fact, as I said, it
costs the organism energy to move those signals around. Energy
conservation actually doesn’t apply within the system, because the system
is a “dissipative system” as Prigogine put it. The bookkeeping
doesn’t need to balance inside the system because there are sources and
sinks for energy outside it. Overall, of course, energy is conserved, or
at least mass-energy is (if you think of E = MC^2). But that applies to a
system that includes the whole universe outside the organism.

BP: Yes, all systems comply with energy conservation laws if you include
enough of the environment. But with regard to the conservation of
currents, that had nothing to do with energy conservation, though
indirectly it shows that locally, energy is not conserved.

Did you look at that link to the web I posted with these messages? It
shows the sodium-potassium ion pump I couldn’t have known about, which (I
was explaining) was how the energy was supplied to the neuron to replace
what was expended in transmitting impulses. That’s how you deal with
conservation of energy – and because it’s a dissipative system, local
conservation is not in force.

I said this previously:

“Reading on through the rest of your post, I have to conclude that
my exposition conflicts with your concepts of what is going on so
severely that there is no hope of communication or agreement.” That
still seems to be the case.

I think it was Will Rogers who said that it’s not what we don’t know that
gets us in trouble – it’s what we know that ain’t so. You seem to know a
lot of things that, as far as I can tell, ain’t so.

Bill P.

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.17.08NZT)

From Bill Powers
(2010.02.14.1820 MST)]

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.11.27NZT –

. But it also shows that no energy conservation law applies, either, because
this is not a thermodynamically closed system. Energy conservation laws apply
only in a very broad sense.

How can I possibly dialogue with this statement?
Closed and open system still comply with energy conservation laws.

Opened and closed are just how a systems
boundaries are defined with respect to the surroundings.

O heck just forget it.

I think it was Will Rogers who said that it’s not what we don’t
know that gets us in trouble – it’s what we know that ain’t so.

Yip I think so.

You seem to know a lot of
things that, as far as I can tell, ain’t so.

This dialogue has got down to a very poor
level of communication, not very helpful.

Hey agree to disagree.

Regards

Gavin

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.17.13)

[From
Rick Marken (2010.02.14.1925)]

Gavin Ritz (2010.02.15.12.28NZT) quotes Bill Powers:

I hope that this center for the Study of Living Control Systems will
continue and improve our tradition of non-exclusion of welcoming anyone
who

wants to learn and judging no one on the basis of what they believed
before

they understood control theory. I hope the center will be center, not a
ring

fence around a perimeter…

Are some of these principles still in place or has time and people changed
this?

Still in place.

I don’t
think so.

We
welcome anyone who wants to learn
and judge no one on the basis of what they believed before they understood control theory. Notice that it doesn’t
say that we welcome anyone who wants to ** teach
contorl theory** because they think
they already understand it when they clearly
don’t
.

I
have no interest in teaching PCT but interest in challenging its foundations

I have
no interest whatsoever in teaching PCT. This is a huge assumption on your part Rick, why would I want to do
that for which and what purpose.

I’m
challenging the assumptions and you guys don’t like that, that fact of
the matter is this, this is not a democracy where one can come and discuss PCT and
be open in any way at all.

You
really need to assess this dialogue in an open and honest way and its context.

Clearly you
have large errors (PCT), and only you have the foresight to look inside

Regards

Gavin

···

From
Martin Lewitt
(2010.02.15. 0412MST)]

PCT is at a level of abstraction above the level where energy
conservation laws would be relevant. Of course energy is conserved, or
rather consumed because processing PCT is an energetically expensive.
Neurons and synapses are not mere conductors of signals but are
processing elements that may send different signals along than what was
received on one axon or at one synapse, depending upon what the signals
were being received on other axons or at the same synapse. Energy is
consumed maintaining the potentials in the nerves and at the synapses.
It would be too expensive to have mitochondria and oxygen supply at
the densities needed to support signal transmission along long thin
axons, so there is a residual obligate need for glucose to supply the
energy anerobically. Brains and neurons are energetically expensive
organs to maintain, but apparently make important contributions to
evolutionary fitness. Other than feeding them and keep them within
their required temperature range, I don’t see where energy conservation
or the energy budget is relevant to the PCT level of abstraction.

Martin L

[From Bill Powers (2010.02.15.0740 MST)]

Martin Lewitt (2010.02.15. 0412MST) –

Rick Marken (2010.02.15.1915) –

Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.17.13 –

I think we PCTers are up against something we can’t affect, and
probably don’t wish to try to affect. Gavin, you have hinted fairly
broadly that you have a whole system of thinking based on energy, and
even different kinds of energy, so whatever we say about thermodynamics
or even just uses of the energy concept in physics will tend to
invalidate what you have developed in a different form. Our differences
are at the system concept level and all the levels organized by it. The
result is that your ways of thinking barely make contact with those that
are at the basis of PCT. We don’t even agree on the fundamental facts of
physics and physiology. Your descriptions of the basic operation of the
elementary control system come out different from those that others agree
about. It’s hard to see how we will ever agree on the meanings or
implications at higher levels. You have constructed a universe of your
own.

not likely to get much satisfaction from PCTers like me or Martin L. or
Rick or any others on CSGnet with any technical training. I’m not going
to fight back any more, and I hope others will see the futility of it,
too. This can only get more unpleasant if we keep on arguing against you,
and I don’t like the way I get when involved in such things. When I get
too exasperated I say things I wish I could take back. Rick does, too. I
haven’t seem Martin L get pushed too far yet – maybe he knows the secret
of staying cool. Some of us can do that. I don’t think I can, so I’m
going to stay out of it.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Rick Marken (2010.02.15.1150)]

Bill Powers (2010.02.15.0740 MST)--

When I get too exasperated I say things I wish I could take back.
Rick does, too.

I think you mean that I say things that _you_ wish I would take back.
And that happens whether I'm exasperated or not;-)

Best

Rick

···

--
Richard S. Marken PhD
rsmarken@gmail.com

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.16.9.25NZT)

[From Bill Powers
(2010.02.15.0740 MST)]

Martin Lewitt (2010.02.15. 0412MST) –
Rick Marken (2010.02.15.1915) –
Gavin Ritz 2010.02.15.17.13 –

I think we PCTers are up against something we can’t affect, and
probably don’t wish to try to affect. Gavin, you have hinted fairly broadly
that you have a whole system of thinking based on energy, and even different
kinds of energy,

My ideas (the ones I have created) have
really little to do with this discussion we are discussing the fundamental laws
of physics.

so whatever we say
about thermodynamics or even just uses of the energy concept in physics will
tend to invalidate what you have developed in a different form.

Bill I challenge you to take your concept of physics (conservation laws
only broadly apply to open systems and that energy is just a calculation) to
the physics department of the local university. And see what they say.

Our differences are at
the system concept level and all the levels organized by it.

You are unable to define this comment by
logic.

The result is that your
ways of thinking barely make contact with those that are at the basis of PCT.

Actually I don’t think so, but that’s
another issue.

We don’t even agree on
the fundamental facts of physics and physiology.

Well for one Bill you tell me that energy
is just a calculation and that conservation laws apply broadly to open system. How
should I respond to that? Are there any physicists on this list maybe they

basic operation of the elementary control system come out different from those
that others agree about. It’s hard to see how we will ever agree on the
meanings or implications at higher levels.

You have constructed a

I would say that is exactly what you have
done.

You’re not likely to get
much satisfaction from PCTers like me or Martin L. or Rick or any
others on CSGnet with any technical training.

Why do you think I’m looking for

I’m not going to fight
back any more, and I hope others will see the futility of it, too.

Hope and futility Bill is all part of PCT.

This can only get more
unpleasant if we keep on arguing against you, and I don’t like the way I get
when involved in such things.

I have not been rude or unkind or disparaging
or personal in any way.

When I get too
exasperated I say things I wish I could take back.

That’s a reflection on you and has
nothing to do with me.

Rick does,
too.

Yes that’s a reflection on him.

Regards

Gavin

I haven’t seem Martin
L get pushed too far yet – maybe he knows the secret of staying cool. Some of
us can do that. I don’t think I can, so I’m going to stay out of it.

Best,

Bill P.

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.169.46NZT)

From Martin
Lewitt (2010.02.15. 0412MST)]

PCT is at a level of abstraction above the level where energy conservation laws
would be relevant.

Martin this is just not correct at all. Everything in the universe falls
into the law of energy conservation. I suggest you take this comment and ask
your local physics professor if a theory with a high level of abstraction does
not comply with the universal law of energy conservation.

Of course energy is
conserved, or rather consumed because processing PCT is an energetically
expensive.

above. Consumed and conserved are two different laws, conserved is the
domain of the first law and consumed (with losses and work) is the domain of
the second law

Neurons and
synapses are not mere conductors of signals but are processing elements that
may send different signals along than what was received on one axon or at one
synapse, depending upon what the signals were being received on other axons or
at the same synapse. Energy is consumed maintaining the potentials in the
nerves and at the synapses.

It would be too
expensive to have mitochondria and oxygen supply at the densities needed
to support signal transmission along long thin axons, so there is a residual
obligate need for glucose to supply the energy anerobically.

Brains and neurons are
energetically expensive organs to maintain, but apparently make important
contributions to evolutionary fitness.

Yes

Other than feeding
them and keep them within their required temperature range,

I don’t see where
energy conservation or the energy budget is relevant to the PCT level of
abstraction.

Very simply Martin if you make an
assumption about the number of impulses per second then this should have some
correlation with the amount of energy expenditure. The brain consumes approx 1200kJ/day
(BMR) and only so much or so little firing can take place. What are those impulses/sec
and what are those limits.

This affects PCT very much because the
basis of the model is in NSU’s. If the brain fires 10impules/sec at BMR what
would it be at other scenarios, like, thinking, action?

You have to know this otherwise any number
will do. Each firing consumes a certain amount of energy, so what are the
limits? What is the conversion factor in PCT?

(e.g.) In information theory this has been
worked out 0693kT Joules per bit so 0.6931.3710(-23)309=2.910(-21)
joules per bit at body temp. So what is the equivalent in PCT in NSU’s?
How much energy?

As you know my sole contention is that the
reference signal at the highest level can never be zero. Could it at rest be as
high has 10 impulses/sec?

Principles of Neural Science, Kandel says there
are appox 1015 synapses operating at 10 impulses/sec so that’s
1016 synapse operation per sec if (and that’s a big if) the
energy cost is similar to information theory then the energy would be 2.9*10 (-20)

• 10166060*24=2.5 Joules per day and this is way lower than the
approx 1200kJ/day, so information theory energy cost is not correct. So an NSU
unit must carry a much higher energy cost than a bit.

Regards

Gavin

Martin L

From Martin Lewitt
(2010.02.15. 1732MST)]

The human body is at its most efficient during starvation. Protein and
glucose are both conserved as much as possible. The brain’s glucose
needs are reduced by switching as much as possible to aerobic
metabolism of ketones. What would be the analogous optimization of the
reference signal processing? Presumably very few reference signals
are being achieved during starvation. Natural selection should result
in an encoding that is most efficient for this circumstance and least
efficient when reference signals are being satisfied and energy
resources are plentiful.

Short of hibernation, mammals are committed to an active energetically
expensive strategy even in starvation. Food must be obtained. While
there should be some efficiencies, I expect that they are profligate
spenders relative to the theoretical energy limits you seem to be

– Martin L

···

On 2/15/2010 2:33 PM, Gavin Ritz wrote:

(Gavin Ritz 2010.02.169.46NZT)

From
Martin
Lewitt (2010.02.15. 0412MST)]

PCT is at a level of abstraction above the level where energy
conservation laws
would be relevant.

Martin this is
just not correct at all. Everything in the universe falls
into the law of energy conservation. I suggest you take this comment
your local physics professor if a theory with a high level of
abstraction does
not comply with the universal law of energy conservation.

Of
course energy is
conserved, or rather consumed because processing PCT is an
energetically
expensive.

This seems
above. Consumed and conserved are two different laws, conserved is the
domain of the first law and consumed (with losses and work) is the
domain of
the second law

Neurons and
synapses are not mere conductors of signals but are processing elements
that
may send different signals along than what was received on one axon or
at one
synapse, depending upon what the signals were being received on other
axons or
at the same synapse. Energy is consumed maintaining the potentials in
the
nerves and at the synapses.

It
would be too
expensive to have mitochondria and oxygen supply at the densities
needed
to support signal transmission along long thin axons, so there is a
residual
obligate need for glucose to supply the energy anerobically.

Brains
and neurons are
energetically expensive organs to maintain, but apparently make
important
contributions to evolutionary fitness.

Yes

Other
than feeding
them and keep them within their required temperature range,

I
don’t see where
energy conservation or the energy budget is relevant to the PCT level
of
abstraction.

Very simply Martin if you make
an
assumption about the number of impulses per second then this should
have some
correlation with the amount of energy expenditure. The brain consumes
approx 1200kJ/day
(BMR) and only so much or so little firing can take place. What are
those impulses/sec
and what are those limits.

This affects
PCT very much because the
basis of the model is in NSU’s. If the brain fires 10impules/sec at BMR
what
would it be at other scenarios, like, thinking, action?

You have to
know this otherwise any number
will do. Each firing consumes a certain amount of energy, so what are
the
limits? What is the conversion factor in PCT?

(e.g.) In
information theory this has been
worked out 0693kT Joules per bit so 0.6931.3710(-23)309=2.910(-21)
joules per bit at body temp. So what is the equivalent in PCT in NSU’s?
How much energy?

As you know
my sole contention is that the
reference signal at the highest level can never be zero. Could it at
rest be as
high has 10 impulses/sec?

Principles
of Neural Science, Kandel says there
are appox 1015 synapses operating at 10 impulses/sec so
that’s
1016 synapse operation per sec if (and that’s a big if) the
energy cost is similar to information theory then the energy would be
2.9*10 (-20)

• 10166060*24=2.5 Joules per day and this is way lower
than the
approx 1200kJ/day, so information theory energy cost is not correct. So
an NSU
unit must carry a much higher energy cost than a bit.

Regards

Gavin

Martin L