RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

Pages: (3) < [1] 2 3 >   
  Topic: IS empiricism a natural part of pattern recognitio< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 23 2010,07:04   

I was going to work methodological naturalism into this but opted against.

Godel's theorems have been used to justify a lot of crank-ish science. Usually if you hear someone explain what quantum systems are doing that affects your life somehow,  what amazing things fractals can heal or what shocking thing Godel's theorems prove...Odds are you've encountered a crank.

But,

Douglas Hofstadter's Godel Escher Bach as  some/many/most of you know from having read it, is not crank science/math/philosophy. In it, Hofstadter raises questions that go far beyond a neural application. One is that to  try to add to the system at a certain point you have to say that thinking is non-algorithmic strikes me as pretty unlikely. To justify that, all I can really say is that I've been doing a little homework. It's not that hard to design a simple neural style network anymore and Pougot's bayesian brain model is having some sucess as are Hofstadter's ongoing evolved operators, Dennett too.. etc the list is long.

Any modeling process is algorithmic. If any of you are familiar enough with it to have a copy at your desk, you could verify this for me. Because I don't pack it for travel very often. :) Otherwise, it isn't critical. But as he's describing the process of adding new Godel numbers and running the ordinals up also infinitely and etc, showing how you transcend the levels one at a time he gets to the linits of the system being the self because there is no more complex place to go to get more godel numbers because our brains have just hit their max.

Anyway, Bills thread got me thinking and this is what I wondered:

SCIENCE: LEVEL INDEPENDENT METHODOLOGY? And then I fixed caps lock. Do we have a sort of heuristic ability to expand our models by just throwing shit at things and studying it when it sticks?

Science, the empirical method, works at whatever level of resolution we choose to apply it. In a very simple and straightforward way, the scientific method is simply a highly reliable technique for precise pattern detection. Our ability to shift recursive levels and 'see' the interaction of atoms and chemicals as an independent series of repeating patterns or see the trees behaving according to their own unique repeating patterns affords us our basic tool of awareness. Recognizing patterns and how they repeat enables the organism to navigate those patterns and respond to them appropriately.

We recognize things like frequency of repetition: every time we mix pigment with oil we get paint; every Autumn the trees lose their leaves; every forest provides building material; the berries and bark of every cascara tree induce diarrhea, and so on. We assess the isolation level of a pattern: rocks on the ground near us do not affect the resulting mixture of pigment and oil; leaving the skins on the fruit from which we extract pigment weakens the durability of the resulting paint; cascara trees grow within a certain range of conditions, and so on. We note the duration of a repeating pattern: well mixed paint remains waterproof for a range of time before it starts to break down; it takes approximately three hours to cut down a cascara tree and collect the bark and berries; the embers glow until the wood completely turns to ash; the sun shines a little longer every day until a certain point at which it shines for a little less time until the pattern repeats, and so on. We classify patterns so that we recognize the source and conclusion of its operation. That way, even if we search in vain for seeds, we know that where a tree grows, once upon a time a seed sprouted there. A dog-shaped mat of dog hair clinging tenaciously to the rug is a part of the dog shedding repeating pattern. We know the dog slept there and we might know if is likely to sleep there again.

Testing the accuracy and reliability of our pattern recognition keeps us alive, fed, clothed and sheltered. Accuracy completes the modeling-time loop since without accuracy, modeling is normally just called dreaming. The impetus to develop accurate models and predict correctly isn't hard to fathom. Hunting involves understanding the predictable patterns of the prey. Building involves understanding the patterns of material integrity. Farming and agriculture involve knowing the patterns of plant growth and animal reproduction. All of these require accurately predicting the forces involved, estimating the level of control we expect to exert over the process, and predicting the outcome of complicated patterns- It's what we do. That skill, the magic of modeling more time, more than our organism needed for one lifetime, enough to feel confident that it could hatch a plan that would still succeed even beyond the death of the individual, propelled us out of Africa, across the globe, and beyond; at this point it has taken our species to the moon and extended our senses to the entire solar system. The scope of the new model we are building with the expanded storage and computing power of a networked world can hardly be overstated. It seems we know something about 'out there': 'out there' unflinchingly follows repeating patterns, which, once glimpsed, open up doors to new patterns within the universe unimagined by even the previous generation.

Is there any reason to think there are any limits to the vertical/outward ascent of rule transcending? (as opposed to plank lengths etc.) How complicated would we make our models before we stopped figuring stuff out?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 24 2010,13:36   

Haha. I should have asked if it's context independent. Please disregard all posts I make when I'm traveling. I'm likely out of sorts. :)

Feel free to delete this thread Wes. It would take me a hundred pages to explain what I was thinking about. Or leave it as a paean to randomness.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Patrickarbuthnot



Posts: 21
Joined: Feb. 2010

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,02:19   

Quote (BWE @ Feb. 23 2010,07:04)
I was going to work methodological naturalism into this but opted against.

Godel's theorems have been used to justify a lot of crank-ish science. Usually if you hear someone explain what quantum systems are doing that affects your life somehow,  what amazing things fractals can heal or what shocking thing Godel's theorems prove...Odds are you've encountered a crank.

But,

Douglas Hofstadter's Godel Escher Bach as  some/many/most of you know from having read it, is not crank science/math/philosophy. In it, Hofstadter raises questions that go far beyond a neural application. One is that to  try to add to the system at a certain point you have to say that thinking is non-algorithmic strikes me as pretty unlikely. To justify that, all I can really say is that I've been doing a little homework. It's not that hard to design a simple neural style network anymore and Pougot's bayesian brain model is having some sucess as are Hofstadter's ongoing evolved operators, Dennett too.. etc the list is long.

Any modeling process is algorithmic. If any of you are familiar enough with it to have a copy at your desk, you could verify this for me. Because I don't pack it for travel very often. :) Otherwise, it isn't critical. But as he's describing the process of adding new Godel numbers and running the ordinals up also infinitely and etc, showing how you transcend the levels one at a time he gets to the linits of the system being the self because there is no more complex place to go to get more godel numbers because our brains have just hit their max.

Anyway, Bills thread got me thinking and this is what I wondered:

SCIENCE: LEVEL INDEPENDENT METHODOLOGY? And then I fixed caps lock. Do we have a sort of heuristic ability to expand our models by just throwing shit at things and studying it when it sticks?

Science, the empirical method, works at whatever level of resolution we choose to apply it. In a very simple and straightforward way, the scientific method is simply a highly reliable technique for precise pattern detection. Our ability to shift recursive levels and 'see' the interaction of atoms and chemicals as an independent series of repeating patterns or see the trees behaving according to their own unique repeating patterns affords us our basic tool of awareness. Recognizing patterns and how they repeat enables the organism to navigate those patterns and respond to them appropriately.

We recognize things like frequency of repetition: every time we mix pigment with oil we get paint; every Autumn the trees lose their leaves; every forest provides building material; the berries and bark of every cascara tree induce diarrhea, and so on. We assess the isolation level of a pattern: rocks on the ground near us do not affect the resulting mixture of pigment and oil; leaving the skins on the fruit from which we extract pigment weakens the durability of the resulting paint; cascara trees grow within a certain range of conditions, and so on. We note the duration of a repeating pattern: well mixed paint remains waterproof for a range of time before it starts to break down; it takes approximately three hours to cut down a cascara tree and collect the bark and berries; the embers glow until the wood completely turns to ash; the sun shines a little longer every day until a certain point at which it shines for a little less time until the pattern repeats, and so on. We classify patterns so that we recognize the source and conclusion of its operation. That way, even if we search in vain for seeds, we know that where a tree grows, once upon a time a seed sprouted there. A dog-shaped mat of dog hair clinging tenaciously to the rug is a part of the dog shedding repeating pattern. We know the dog slept there and we might know if is likely to sleep there again.

Testing the accuracy and reliability of our pattern recognition keeps us alive, fed, clothed and sheltered. Accuracy completes the modeling-time loop since without accuracy, modeling is normally just called dreaming. The impetus to develop accurate models and predict correctly isn't hard to fathom. Hunting involves understanding the predictable patterns of the prey. Building involves understanding the patterns of material integrity. Farming and agriculture involve knowing the patterns of plant growth and animal reproduction. All of these require accurately predicting the forces involved, estimating the level of control we expect to exert over the process, and predicting the outcome of complicated patterns- It's what we do. That skill, the magic of modeling more time, more than our organism needed for one lifetime, enough to feel confident that it could hatch a plan that would still succeed even beyond the death of the individual, propelled us out of Africa, across the globe, and beyond; at this point it has taken our species to the moon and extended our senses to the entire solar system. The scope of the new model we are building with the expanded storage and computing power of a networked world can hardly be overstated. It seems we know something about 'out there': 'out there' unflinchingly follows repeating patterns, which, once glimpsed, open up doors to new patterns within the universe unimagined by even the previous generation.

Is there any reason to think there are any limits to the vertical/outward ascent of rule transcending? (as opposed to plank lengths etc.) How complicated would we make our models before we stopped figuring stuff out?

Can't add much except the obvious science is not just about collecting obscure facts. Science is also about constructing, testing, and applying scientific theories, particularly the predictive ones..

--------------
Thomas Edison said: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,05:24   

Quote (Patrickarbuthnot @ Feb. 25 2010,03:19)
Can't add much except the obvious science is not just about collecting obscure facts. Science is also about constructing, testing, and applying scientific theories, particularly the predictive ones..

Good thought (and welcome!)

Pattern recognition alone and prediction from recognized patterns is a human cognitive endowment that is not unique to science. Assessing and calibrating the accuracy of such predictions is a start - but ultimately a function of making such observations is to test one's underlying theory regarding the cause of the observed regularity - and perhaps use that model to predict the existence of other regularities that had not heretofore been observed.

So perhaps it is more accurate to say that pattern recognition is a natural part of empiricism.

So described, it is a protean tool, applicable at many levels of observation.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,10:57   

[quote=Reciprocating Bill,Feb. 25 2010,03:24][/quote]
It's also in part a social endeavour. There's no universal "pattern recognition", really, hence peer review.

Like the Bloom County cartoon:

"That cloud looks like a fat little piggy."
"Or man's constant turmoil in struggling to free himself of an oppressive worldview which stifles his creative nature."*
"Yeah, that too."

*Approximated from memory.

--------------
"But it's disturbing to think someone actually thinks creationism -- having put it's hand on the hot stove every day for the last 400 years -- will get a different result tomorrow." -- midwifetoad

"I am in a rush to catch up with science work." -- Gary Gaulin

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,11:19   

Wow. I am amazed that anyone picked up on the point at all. That's pretty cool because I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I'd like to discuss it. After reading my inebriated attempt to outline the question, I figured that it required too much background and gave up.

Since it apparently resonates enough to be able to skip the introduction, I'll make a serious response this afternoon.

Thanks all.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,16:20   

Hi BWE,

While I agree with a lot of what you are saying in the opening post, there are some things I would like to challenge.  For example, the sentence...

"Any modeling process is algorithmic."

...is assuming a conclusion (i.e. "Begging the Question" fallacy) if it is being used to arguing against non-algorithmic presumptions.

The theistic worldview is a non-algorithmic model.

Declaring this is an invalid model or employs an invalid modeling process results in another logical fallacy, “No True Scotsman”.

It is quite possible I am misunderstanding what you mean, but it seems to me you are arguing for the affirmative to the thread topic Is empiricism a natural part of pattern recognition?

One of the most significant patterns I have recognized is that we live in a universe where if something can happen, it does.

When I was in college learning about Maxwell’s equations  I could understand how the equations fit together but I was troubled that it didn’t make sense as to why electromagnetic waves happened at all.  It was then I noticed someone wearing a T-shirt that read…



It was an AH-HA moment for me.

No, I didn’t run to the nearest church and pray.  Instead, I laughed out loud at the realization light exists because it can.

Can a blind man know light exists?

Do you think Roger Penrose needed empirical evidence before he was convinced Black Holes existed?

Like it or not, Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems show it is possible the Universe can exist beyond the limits of algorithmic modeling.  More than possible, pattern recognition suggests it is a certainty.

My consciousness may, or may not, be more than a complex computer program capable of pattern recognition.  However, I presume non-algorithmic processes exist and are involved in the process of consciousness.  If a non-quantum based computer can be built that is indistinguishable from the living equivalent then, my presumption will have been falsified.  If the field of Quantum Biophysics continues to grow and includes the brain, then my presumption will have significant supporting evidence.

If both happen, then we will have a new Culture War involving thinking machines verses thinking biologicals.

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,16:23   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 25 2010,16:20)
If both happen, then we will have a new Culture War involving thinking machines verses thinking biologicals.

Well at least the Republicans will have something to get upset about.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,17:30   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 25 2010,16:20)
Do you think Roger Penrose needed empirical evidence before he was convinced Black Holes existed?

I realize this doesn't really matter for your overall point, but yes, Penrose needed and had empirical evidence before he was convinced black holes existed. He needed evidence about the behavior of matter and gravity.

Everything in science is based on empirical evidence. Even when someone postulates something that has never been observed, it's still based on things that have been observed.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,20:12   

Thank you qetzal,

Both for your response and the politeness by which you gave it.

Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 25 2010,17:30)
I realize this doesn't really matter for your overall point, but yes, Penrose needed and had empirical evidence before he was convinced black holes existed. He needed evidence about the behavior of matter and gravity.

Everything in science is based on empirical evidence. Even when someone postulates something that has never been observed, it's still based on things that have been observed.


I thought of that as I was typing my previous comment but decided to let it go and respond to the inevitable challenge.

As I see it we all start out with some necessary presumption beginning with existence.

To most people, it makes sense to think they and others exist.

As babies, it makes sense to presume those hands we control are ours.

My “it makes sense” is similar to BWE’s pattern recognition.

We can change our presumptions but it is disconcerting and bothersome.  It bothers us enough we work hard to avoid having to make changes.  Some attempt to avoid changing presumptions by embracing those which can’t be disproven (i.e. supernatural).  Others withhold judgment until the presumption passes direct rigorous empirical tests multiple times.

I’m the type who makes presumptions on how best to piece the whole puzzle together.  I find it unacceptably frustrating when there are obvious pieces not fitting together.  I suspect Roger Penrose has a similar attitude.

I realize it borders on blasphemy to say this in a roomful of scientists but I am much more impressed when the math works than I am by scientific experiments.  My bias in this has undoubtedly been influenced by an experience I had in college.

It was one of my first lab assignments.  It was supposed to show us about kinetics and momentum.  To make a long story short, the data I had obtained “demonstrated” momentum wasn’t conserved.  Unfortunately, the response of the lab proctor was to simply give me an “F” with no exploration or opportunity to figure out what I had done wrong.  The object lesson I took away from this was I needed to know the answer before running an experiment.  To me, this made experimentation, at best, a simple reinforcement of what I already knew.

I understand why scientists need to have repeatable experiments.  Without them, it would be too easy for BS and Group Think to take over.

Personally, I would rather have a fuzzy model of a whole picture than multiple disjointed hypotheses backed up by competing experiments.

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 25 2010,21:39   

TP,

I fear you learned the wrong lesson from that experiment. It's never about knowing the answer before you run the experiment.

Fuzzy models are fine in many situations, especially if they help to generate better hypotheses. However, fuzzy models are only good if they adequately fit the empirical evidence. If your model insists on A but the evidence clearly shows B, the evidence wins. (That's one of my presumptions.)

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 26 2010,09:02   

Hi qetzal,
 
Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 25 2010,21:39)
It's never about knowing the answer before you run the experiment.

I'm not surprised by your response.  However, using the words "never" or "always" is generally risky.

Did we not "know" Black Holes existed before we performed experiments to detect them?

Let me concede the scientific method is a feedback loop of hypothesis begetting experiments which beget more hypotheses which...

Empirical data that does not make sense is all but valueless except as motivation to make sense of it.

I have a though experiment.  What if, one day, the sun rose from the West and set in the East?  Then the next day and subsequently the sun went back to its normal routine.

It's a sad commentary I suspect a majority of people wouldn't notice or care until the media told them (either sad the I am overly cynical or sad because it is likely to be true).

Only slightly more disturbing would be the religious people declaring it proof of their particular belief.

I use this thought as an example of something that would cause me severe doubts about my philosophical outlook (i.e. "shake my faith").

I suggest most of us would end up rejecting this empirical evidence.  Oh, we would come up with excuses like "mass hallucination" or "ET trickery" because...

it has to make sense for us to "know" it is true.

EDIT - added an "e" to "sever" = "severe"

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 27 2010,21:53   

Over at TT the ID proponents are attempting some historical revision concerning Galileo.  Just like the inquisitors of old, the revisionists are focusing in on Galileo's theory that the tides are caused by the earth orbiting around the Sun instead of the moon.

The reason I am bringing this up in this thread is that it reinforces my thoughts concerning empericism.

From this link
 
Quote
Galileo’s theory of the tides shows that Galileo found the Copernican heliocentric theory so persuasive that he supported it even when observations did not agree with its predictions.

To Galileo, the Copernican heliocentric theory made sense whereas the Ptolemaic geocentric theory (with its epicycles) did not.

The puzzle pieces (Venus' phases, Jupiter's moons, etc) of the big picture were coming together for Galileo.

The Ptolemaic theory matched empirical data because it was forced to do so.  However, it didn't make sense.

The Copernican theory made sense but didn't quite match experimental data (because of factors unknown at the time).

This is how I view the state of Quantum Mechanics today.  Roger Penrose's OR model makes sense combining relativistic reality with quantum reality.  Penrose's twistor space is getting some traction in string theory in that it doesn't need all those extra dimensions.  The four dimensional space-time is good enough, thank you.

A missing piece needed to complete this puzzle is Quantum Consciousness (Orch OR).  The powers that be find this concept threatening to their philosophical outlook that consciousness is just an algorithmic property of matter and chemistry and nothing more.

Instead of "E pur si muove"

I would say "E pur si pensa"  (And yet it thinks)

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,09:25   

Quote
The powers that be find this concept threatening to their philosophical outlook that consciousness is just an algorithmic property of matter and chemistry and nothing more.
Perhaps they see no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,11:41   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,09:25)
   
Quote
The powers that be find this concept threatening to their philosophical outlook that consciousness is just an algorithmic property of matter and chemistry and nothing more.
Perhaps they see no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity.

It's nice to discuss things with people who have reasoned and reasonable arguments.

"entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

Occam's razor isn't just a suggestion that "simpler is better" otherwise GodDidIt wins all (although Last Thursdayism could challenge it).

Consider the 19th Century scientists studying the age of the Sun.  From this link...

"The energy source for solar radiation was believed by nineteenth-century physicists to be gravitation. In an influential lecture in 1854, Hermann von Helmholtz, a German professor of physiology who became a distinguished researcher and physics professor, proposed that the origin of the sun's enormous radiated energy is the gravitational contraction of a large mass. Somewhat earlier, in the 1840s, J.R. Mayer (another German physician) and J.J. Waterson had also suggested that the origin of solar radiation is the conversion of gravitational energy into heat.1

Biologists and geologists considered the effects of solar radiation, while physicists concentrated on the origin of the radiated energy. In 1859, Charles Darwin, in the first edition of On The Origin of the Species by Natural Selection, made a crude calculation of the age of the earth by estimating how long it would take erosion occurring at the current observed rate to wash away the Weald, a great valley that stretches between the North and South Downs across the south of England. He obtained a number for the "denudation of the Weald'' in the range of 300 million years, apparently long enough for natural selection to have produced the astounding range of species that exist on earth."



The powers that be (e.g. Lord Kelvin) saw "...no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity."  They presumed Darwin must have been wrong.

Are we in a similar situation today?


EDIT-added link and used Occam's razor on an unnecessary passage.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,12:37   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 28 2010,12:41)
The powers that be (e.g. Lord Kelvin) saw "...no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity."  They presumed Darwin must have been wrong.

Are we in a similar situation today?

I don't see that Darwin introduced any additional explanatory entities vis the age of the earth.  

Rather, he reported and interpreted observations that had to be regarded as anomalous within the framework of 19th century physics.

The mainstream presumption, and the fate of that presumption, is more pertinent to Thomas Kuhn than William of Occam.

- William of Reciprocation

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,13:13   

Quote
The powers that be (e.g. Lord Kelvin) saw "...no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity."  They presumed Darwin must have been wrong.  

You must be thinking of a different Lord Kelvin. The one I'm familiar with adjusted his estimates to the evidence as it came in.
Quote
In 1897 Thomson, now Lord Kelvin, ultimately settled on an estimate that the Earth was 20–400 million years old


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thomson,_1st_Baron_Kelvin

The problem with Penrose and his quantum brain is that it solves a problem not in evidence. No one has replicated the full functioning of a primate brain. We're barely able to make a stab at emulating the observable function of individual neurons.

But to the extent we are able to analyze what brains do, we are able to emulate them. Programs can play chess as well as the best humans, and now programs can compose music that cannot be distinguished from that of the best human composers.

Asserting that we don't understand the entire function of human brains is not a call for invoking unexplainable magic processes. Not when we haven't finished analysing the things that are available for observation and emulation.

Penrose sounds a bit Behe-esque in asserting that brains are irreducible.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,13:34   

I think the more relevant concept is that when you don't understand something, adding a layer of sciency sounding puffery does not create an explanation.

In practical terms, do you continue working problems with tools that are proving fruitful, or do you put them aside in hopes that some future, purely mathemagical explanation will emerge.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,14:08   

Thank you both for your reasoned and reasonable replies.

   
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,13:13)
You must be thinking of a different Lord Kelvin. The one I'm familiar with adjusted his estimates to the evidence as it came in.
     
Quote
In 1897 Thomson, now Lord Kelvin, ultimately settled on an estimate that the Earth was 20–400 million years old


I have little doubt Lord Kelvin adjusted his original 20 million year old estimate in 1897 the year after Becquerel discovered radioactivity.  However, 30 years before that he was arguing against Darwin's suggestion that the earth must be older.

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,13:13)

Asserting that we don't understand the entire function of human brains is not a call for invoking unexplainable magic processes. Not when we haven't finished analyzing the things that are available for observation and emulation.

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 28 2010,12:37)
I don't see that Darwin introduced any additional explanatory entities vis the age of the earth.  

Rather, he reported and interpreted observations that had to be regarded as anomalous within the framework of 19th century physics.

The mainstream presumption, and the fate of that presumption, is more pertinent to Thomas Kuhn than William of Occam.

I would agree this is pertinent to Kuhn’s paradigm shift.

Similar to Galileo and Darwin, Penrose isn't claiming total understanding.  He is just indicating what needs to be in order to make sense of the big picture.

If Penrose is right, the powers that be will adjust their positions and shortly after that scientists will treat Quantum Consciousness as trivially obvious with 20/20 hindsight.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,14:27   

Quote
I have little doubt Lord Kelvin adjusted his original 20 million year old estimate in 1897 the year after Becquerel discovered radioactivity.  However, 30 years before that he was arguing against Darwin's suggestion that the earth must be older.


Kelvin didn't wait for radioactivity to adjust his estimate. He made continuous adjustments.

And he was correct to demand a mechanism that would allow the sun to be older.


As for Penrose, he assumes that brains a re digital, when it is obvious to everyone wo studies neurons in detail that there is a significant analog component. Namely firing rate.

It is quite difficult to do analog computing in silicon. The cost gets astronomical when you try to emulate analog behavior with digital circuits. In another discussion I referred people to the Brains In Silicon project at Stanford.

http://www.stanford.edu/group/brainsinsilicon/johnA_bio.html

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,14:44   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,14:13)
The problem with Penrose and his quantum brain is that it solves a problem not in evidence. No one has replicated the full functioning of a primate brain. We're barely able to make a stab at emulating the observable function of individual neurons.

But to the extent we are able to analyze what brains do, we are able to emulate them. Programs can play chess as well as the best humans, and now programs can compose music that cannot be distinguished from that of the best human composers.

Asserting that we don't understand the entire function of human brains is not a call for invoking unexplainable magic processes. Not when we haven't finished analysing the things that are available for observation and emulation.

Penrose sounds a bit Behe-esque in asserting that brains are irreducible.

A good complement to my earlier comment on another thread:

Seems to me that many elements of the human brain and human subjectivity that are crucially important to human consciousness (including the capacity to represent intentions) are omitted when solely considering abstractions such computational models and quantum indeterminacy.

Human cognition and consciousness, particularly at the very high level of representation and meta-representation that is entailed in "purposing" and discerning others' purposes, is clearly instantiated in an integrated symphony (sometimes a cacophony) of neural structures operating in parallel, an ensemble that has an evolutionary history that has yielded a complex, contingent, and often surpassing strange architecture. These structures range from demonstrable streams of processing that support the entirely unconscious visual guidance of motor actions to highly declarative prefrontal representations of others' representations of our own representations (I think that he thinks I am thinking that he thinks that…). And everything in between, from the reentrant wiring of the hippocampus to the limbic engine of affective concerns (that likely solves the frame problem for human beings) to the reverberant conversation between Broca and Wernike's area conducted by means of the arcuate bundle to the goosing of the cortex by sensory input via the thalami. Not to mention non-neural factors such as one's pure physical and muscular embodiment in the world and a lifetime immersion in a social environment that conducts virtually all commerce using a representatonal coin of agency and intentionality.

We are very far from understanding this symphony/cacophony and very far from the point where we need resort to quantum phenomena to account for the complex and subtle behaviors/experiences that emerge from this racket. Which is not to demean those efforts; rather, should a quantum basis for subjectivity be discovered there would still be a whack of a lot of work to do at the level I describe above before we would really understand human consciousness.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,15:25   

Hi midwifetoad,

Yes, I saw your link on the Brains In Silicon project and enjoyed it.  Thank You.

I would be interested if you have a reference where Penrose assumes brains are digital.  Most of Penrose's statements I have seen on the brain is that he doesn't know much about it.  He has even stated the Orch OR model he presented jointly with Hameroff could easily be wrong in that microtubules may not be the mechanism.

However, he is convinced that some kind of Quantum Consciousness must exist.  Along the same lines Galileo was convinced the solar system was heliocentric.

Penrose is as much of a pioneer of Quantum Physics as Darwin was of Biology.  Darwin needed the earth to be old in order for his Biological theory to make sense.  Penrose needs consciousness to be tied to quantum effect in order for his Quantum Mechanical theory to make sense.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,15:32   

Hi Reciprocating Bill,

As suggested in my response to midwifetoad, I doubt Penrose could or would attempt to explain the functions of the brain any more than Darwin could explain the age of the Sun.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,16:11   

Quote
However, he is convinced that some kind of Quantum Consciousness must exist.  Along the same lines Galileo was convinced the solar system was heliocentric.

I hardly think Penrose has anything equivalent to the phases of Venus.

My problem with Penrose is that productive research continues along conventional channels.

Are you (and Penrose) suggesting that even tropisms are quantum rather than chemical or electrochemical? What about eye spots? brains with only a few neurons?

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,17:39   

Hi midwifetoad,

 
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
I hardly think Penrose has anything equivalent to the phases of Venus.

The "phases of Venus" data point was incorporated into the geocentric meme by Tycho Brahe (see Tychonic System).

To remain topical to the thread, I will point out that if one relied only on empiricism the Tychonic System fit the data better.

To me, Penrose’s offers an understandable explanation (Objective Reduction) for the repeatable results of the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser.

The alternative explanations are either much worse than epicycles or an IOU stating someday science will figure it out.

 
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
My problem with Penrose is that productive research continues along conventional channels.

Defenders of the status quo could have said the same thing to Darwin and Galileo and probably did.

 
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
Are you (and Penrose) suggesting that even tropisms are quantum rather than chemical or electrochemical? What about eye spots? brains with only a few neurons?

Again, Penrose makes it clear he isn't a biologist.  However, since I can be thought of as an internet troll espousing quantum quackery, allow me to copy and paste the following from a paper titled
Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes

IV. DISCUSSION
The last section presented numerical evidence for the existence of entanglement in the FMO complex for picosecond timescales { essentially until the excitation is trapped by the reaction center. This is remarkable in a biological or disordered system at physiological temperature. It illustrates that non-equilibrium multipartite entanglement can exist for relatively long times, even in highly decoherent environments. While the length scales over which entanglement was shown to persist were small, we expect that such long-lived, non-equilibrium entanglement will nevertheless also be present in larger light harvesting antenna complexes, such as LH1 and LH2 in purple bacteria. This is because they contain the key necessary ingredient; namely, moderately strongly coupled chromophores that can lead to significant coherent delocalization of electronic excitations. In fact such delocalization has been observed and studied recently in connection to superradiance and ultrafast radiative decays in molecular aggregates [13, 35]. In larger light harvesting antennae it may also be possible to take advantage of the ability to create and support multiple excitations in order to access a richer variety of entangled states.


While this doesn't necessarily mean Heliotropism or Phototropism (or any other tropism) are quantum based, it is an interesting data point.

  
Cubist



Posts: 466
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2010,21:17   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 28 2010,11:41)
"entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

Occam's razor isn't just a suggestion that "simpler is better" otherwise GodDidIt wins all (although Last Thursdayism could challenge it).
You sure about that? GodDidIt only wins if you assume, up front, that God is necessary. Absent that presupposition, I honestly don't see how GodDidIt can possibly beat ItJustIs.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,08:52   

Quote
The "phases of Venus" data point was incorporated into the geocentric meme by Tycho Brahe (see Tychonic System).


Tyco's system explained the phases of Venus by having the planets revolve around the sun.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,08:56   

Quote
To me, Penrose’s offers an understandable explanation (Objective Reduction) for the repeatable results of the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser.


I thought we were talking about brains. Sorry.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,11:13   

Quote (Cubist @ Feb. 28 2010,21:17)
You sure about that? GodDidIt only wins if you assume, up front, that God is necessary. Absent that presupposition, I honestly don't see how GodDidIt can possibly beat ItJustIs.

touche'

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,11:25   

Hi midwifetoad,

I'm not sure whether or not you are being sarcastic.

Furthermore, I don't know which is worse, you just being snarky or we actually failing to communicate.

In case it is the latter, let me try again...

In order for Darwin to make sense of reality, he needed the Sun to be older than 20 million years, even if he had no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

In order for Galileo to make sense of reality, he needed the earth to be moving, even if he had no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

In order for Penrose to make sense of reality, he needs consciousness to be tied to quantum effects, even if he has no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,13:33   

Quote
In order for Penrose to make sense of reality, he needs consciousness to be tied to quantum effects, even if he has no direct empirical evidence supporting that.


And in order for Behe to make sense of evolution he need mutation to be tied to the machinations of an invisible designer.

Where is Penrose's edge of consciousness? Does he have a cutoff beneath which consciousness does not exist? What's the cutoff? How many neurons are required for consciousness?

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,14:38   

All that is required to make sense of "Delayed Choice Quanntum Eraser" experiments is to discard/ignore the particle-like aspect of  photons (and/or matter in general).  A clue is that only entangled photons exhibit the "weird" behavior.
 Like most (but not all) of the "quantum weirdness" experiments, it is the particle assumption that creates the cognitive dissonance. By treating everything as complex-valued wavefunctions, it all makes causal and mathematical sense.
 Like the commenter in the link you provided says:    
Quote
Comment: To the physicist, the results "are all consistent with prediction." To the layperson, the results should be shocking....Ho-hum. Another experimental proof of QM. This is the way it works, folks.

 With all due respect to Penrose , I don't see where "quantum conciseness" is needed, or plays any role,  

--------------
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,14:55   

Is that quantum consciousness?

Possibly bushwacked by a spell checker?

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,14:59   

Quote
Proponents of the Quantum mind argue that perceived qualities, such as sound, taste and smell, also known as qualia, are an essential part of the human experience, and therefore cannot be discounted. They posit that classical mechanics fails to account for the experience of such phenomena.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind

Sounds to me like a variation on dualism. Or a high-class instance of god-of-the gaps.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,15:05   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 01 2010,12:55)
Is that quantum consciousness?

Possibly bushwacked by a spell checker?

I think maybe Freudian?  Definitely whacked, though.

--------------
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,16:11   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 01 2010,13:33)
And in order for Behe to make sense of evolution he need mutation to be tied to the machinations of an invisible designer.

Out of politeness, I overlooked the first time you mentioned Behe but since you insist...

Is this AtBC's version of Godwin's law?

If all else fails, claim it sounds like something Behe or Dembski would say?

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 01 2010,13:33)
Where is Penrose's edge of consciousness? Does he have a cutoff beneath which consciousness does not exist? What's the cutoff? How many neurons are required for consciousness?

Once again, Penrose doesn't claim expertise in neurology.  However, Stuart Hameroff is the director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona (Curriculum Vitae).  He has quite a bit to say on the subject.  I think I know enough to summarize his position as needed but I don't want to stray off topic too much. So just let me drop this tidbit of information from a recent Nature article...

"Here we present two-dimensional photon echo spectroscopy10, 11, 12, 13 measurements on two evolutionarily related light-harvesting proteins isolated from marine cryptophyte algae, which reveal exceptionally long-lasting excitation oscillations with distinct correlations and anti-correlations even at ambient temperature. These observations provide compelling evidence for quantum-coherent sharing of electronic excitation across the 5-nm-wide proteins under biologically relevant conditions, suggesting that distant molecules within the photosynthetic proteins are ‘wired’ together by quantum coherence for more efficient light-harvesting in cryptophyte marine algae."
link

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,16:34   

5 nm. That's about the witdth of 50 hydrogen atoms?

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,16:46   

Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 01 2010,14:38)
All that is required to make sense of "Delayed Choice Quanntum Eraser" experiments is to discard/ignore the particle-like aspect of  photons (and/or matter in general).  A clue is that only entangled photons exhibit the "weird" behavior.
 Like most (but not all) of the "quantum weirdness" experiments, it is the particle assumption that creates the cognitive dissonance. By treating everything as complex-valued wavefunctions, it all makes causal and mathematical sense.
 Like the commenter in the link you provided says:            
Quote
Comment: To the physicist, the results "are all consistent with prediction." To the layperson, the results should be shocking....Ho-hum. Another experimental proof of QM. This is the way it works, folks.

 With all due respect to Penrose , I don't see where "quantum conciseness" is needed, or plays any role,  

Thank you for your comment.

Assuming there is no such thing as particles and everything is a wavefunction only gets us part of the way there.  Penrose suggest a "photon" traveling at the speed of light is a wavefunction in space-time that transforms into a single point in Twistor Space.

To us, it looks like a "photon" can be in multiple places at the same time (superposition) where future causes can create past effects.

At some point, the superpositions resolve themselves to a single answer.  Why?

Penrose suggests superposition resolution ("Objective Reduction") occurs automatically after a period of time.  The length of this timeframe is based on the system mass (i.e. quantum gravity).  The larger the mass, the quicker the resolution.  This is why buckyballs exhibit superposition but baseballs don't.

However, there is the problem of that darn Schrödinger's cat (i.e. quantum measurement problem).  For some reason measurement choice by a conscious observer affects and causes Objective Reduction.

One way to make sense of this is if conscious choice is part of the superposition system at the quantum level.

I hope this helps explain how and why I see this as I do.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,16:48   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 01 2010,11:33)
Quote
In order for Penrose to make sense of reality, he needs consciousness to be tied to quantum effects, even if he has no direct empirical evidence supporting that.


And in order for Behe to make sense of evolution he need mutation to be tied to the machinations of an invisible designer.

Where is Penrose's edge of consciousness? Does he have a cutoff beneath which consciousness does not exist? What's the cutoff? How many neurons are required for consciousness?

Hi all. Penrose's hypothesis is not a structural argument. He's describing a problem he sees in constructing AI. Taking Hofstadter's premise, Penrose, in his own words:
Quote
"Mathematical truth is not something that we ascertain merely by use of an algorithm. I believe, also, that our consciousness is a crucial ingredient in our comprehension of mathematical truth. We must 'see' the truth of a mathematical argument to be convinced of its validity. This 'seeing' is the very essence of consciousness. It must be present whenever we perceive mathematical truth. When we convince ourselves of the validity of Gödel's theorem we not only 'see' it, but by so doing we reveal the very non-algorithmic nature of  the 'seeing' process itself."

-the emperor's new brain.

He isn't making the same argument TP is making. He's saying that the act of modeling in our mind, the part that computers seem to emulate relatively easily, is not the same product nor could it be the same process. He makes some efforts to tie it to neuroscience but ultimately his point is not relevant to human consciousness mechanics as much as it is to AI consciousness. The complication of the neural system is more than he addresses.

TP is taking the idea to a conclusion that seems obvious but is not warranted. At least Penrose doesn't go there. Also, the math Penrose is using to justify his hypothesis is just plain beyond most people. Even most physicists.

My original point with the OP was more like a response to Hofstadter than to Penrose. TP earlier claimed that not all modeling is algorithmic. Then claimed religion as a non algorithmic model.

Um.. Yes it is. The symbols are inputs with forces and manipulated over time.

I am not convinced that there is such a thing as a non algorithmic modeling process. The question Penrose raises has to do with whether our brains are actually modeling at their root or whether that is a process done as a result of a different process.

My question from the OP is whether science is a method analogous to Godel numbering new axioms.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,17:01   

I'm sorry, but all I see in this is Fred Hoyle Syndrome, a lot of really bright people with big vocabularies, who don't understand evolution.

Before I asserted the need for some magical entity responsible for non-algorithmic computation, I'd want to see if I could map the observed behavior of neurons and neuronal networks to an algorithm.

To the best of my knowledge, it takes a pretty hefty supercomputer to emulate a few seconds of activity in a rat brain. Nevermind doing anything useful like emulating rat behavior in maze solving.

This is without making any assumptions regarding the inadequacy of biochemistry to describe neurons.

Sounds like high-end vitalism to me. Since I'm a great Nobel Prize winner and smarter than almost everybody, and I can't see how organization emerges from simple processes, there must be something magical involved.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,17:05   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 01 2010,15:01)
I'm sorry, but all I see in this is Fred Hoyle Syndrome, a lot of really bright people with big vocabularies, who don't understand evolution.

Before I asserted the need for some magical entity responsible for non-algorithmic computation, I'd want to see if I could map the observed behavior of neurons and neuronal networks to an algorithm.

To the best of my knowledge, it takes a pretty hefty supercomputer to emulate a few seconds of activity in a rat brain. Nevermind doing anything useful like emulating rat behavior in maze solving.

This is without making any assumptions regarding the inadequacy of biochemistry to describe neurons.

Sounds like high-end vitalism to me. Since I'm a great Nobel Prize winner and smarter than almost everybody, and I can't see how organization emerges from simple processes, there must be something magical involved.

that would be my assessment too. One caveat though, his question is about the structure of math rather than reality. Asked that way, it's an interesting question in a number of ways. Poincare hit on a very similar question here:
http://www.brocku.ca/MeadProject/Poincare/Poincare_1905_03.html

which I think is a lot more straightforward. The physical continuum is simply not a mathematical continuum. Which is weird.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,17:08   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 01 2010,14:34)
5 nm. That's about the witdth of 50 hydrogen atoms?

and about 1/100th the wavelength of the photon.  i.e. the photon is several hundred times bigger than the protein itself, and we are surprised that it is coherent over this distance, regardless of the temperature?

--------------
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,17:18   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Mar. 01 2010,14:46)
Thank you for your comment.

...<snip> ...

However, there is the problem of that darn Schrödinger's cat (i.e. quantum measurement problem).  For some reason measurement choice by a conscious observer affects and causes Objective Reduction.

One way to make sense of this is if conscious choice is part of the superposition system at the quantum level.

I hope this helps explain how and why I see this as I do.

C'mon TP.  You yourself admitted that the consciousness of the "observer" is immaterial to the outcome of the quantum experiments. All that is required is that the measurement be possible in principle. What's different about this one?

--------------
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,18:24   

Hi sledgehammer,

Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 01 2010,17:18)
You yourself admitted that the consciousness of the "observer" is immaterial to the outcome of the quantum experiments.

I'm sorry but I don't know what you are talking about.

Could you provide a link?

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,18:28   

To Moderators.

I would like some guidance.  I feel we are definitely straying off topic for this thread.  I would start a new one, but I'm worried about abusing the privilege.

Please advise.

Thanks

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,19:13   

Hi BWE,

This should safely be within the thread's topic.

   
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 01 2010,16:48)
TP earlier claimed that not all modeling is algorithmic. Then claimed religion as a non algorithmic model.

Um.. Yes it is. The symbols are inputs with forces and manipulated over time.

I am not convinced that there is such a thing as a non algorithmic modeling process. The question Penrose raises has to do with whether our brains are actually modeling at their root or whether that is a process done as a result of a different process.

"God works in mysterious ways" is algorithmic?

I believe in letting people define their own terms,  but if you define "model" to include only things that are algorithmic then postulating "Any modeling process is algorithmic" is redundant.

   
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 01 2010,16:48)
My question from the OP is whether science is a method analogous to Godel numbering new axioms.

You might have to bear with me on this because I'm not quite sure what you are saying.

As I see it, if science is a simple input-process-output model then empirical data is king.  All one has to do is put the facts in, process them and out comes a model.

I'm arguing this isn't always the case.

Darwin and Galileo had to deal with conflicting inputs yet came up with an intuitive answer that was correct.

Penrose believes this is the kind of non-algorithmic process he employed to discover his Penrose Tilings.

Here is a slide from a presentation Penrose gave.

Clearly, Penrose is suggesting Godel's theorems apply equally to consciousness as it does for mathematical understanding (especially in context of the whole presentation).

This doesn't make him right.  But I believe Penrose's perspective conflicts with what you are suggesting.  If not, then maybe we aren't in disagreement either.

  
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,19:23   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Mar. 01 2010,16:24)
Hi sledgehammer,

     
Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 01 2010,17:18)
You yourself admitted that the consciousness of the "observer" is immaterial to the outcome of the quantum experiments.

I'm sorry but I don't know what you are talking about.

Could you provide a link?

Oops!
I misread your comment.  I see now that you, in fact, do buy into the "What the Bleep Do We Know", new-age woo, that the presence of consciousness in an observer has a material effect on the outcome of a quantum experiment.
 I remember thinking at the time  "well maybe he's not so far out in left field after all."
I was wrong.
My sincere apologies, and condolences.

--------------
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,19:42   

Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 01 2010,19:23)
Oops!
I misread your comment.  I see now that you, in fact, do buy into the "What the Bleep Do We Know", new-age woo, that the presence of consciousness in an observer has a material effect on the outcome of a quantum experiment.
 I remember thinking at the time  "well maybe he's not so far out in left field after all."
I was wrong.
My sincere apologies, and condolences.

Oh yes, I am a quantum quack.

For what it is worth I think Hameroff overreaches at times.  So maybe I haven't reached the status of "full fledged quack" yet.

Here is the end of a 2009 interview with Roger Penrose I pretty much agree with (link)...

In your book The Emperor’s New Mind, you posited that consciousness emerges from quantum physical actions within the cells of the brain. Two decades later, do you stand by that?

"In my view the conscious brain does not act according to classical physics. It doesn’t even act according to conventional quantum mechanics. It acts according to a theory we don’t yet have. This is being a bit big-headed, but I think it’s a little bit like William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of blood. He worked out that it had to circulate, but the veins and arteries just peter out, so how could the blood get through from one to the other? And he said, “Well, it must be tiny little tubes there, and we can’t see them, but they must be there.” Nobody believed it for some time. So I’m still hoping to find something like that—some structure that preserves coherence, because I believe it ought to be there."

When physicists finally understand the core of quantum physics, what do you think the theory will look like?

"I think it will be beautiful."

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,20:10   

Quote
How many neurons are required for consciousness?

There's a strong temptation to say 42, but I think I'll resist.

Henry

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 01 2010,20:11   

Quote
midwifetoad, posted 3/01/10 1:59 PM
Quote

Proponents of the Quantum mind argue that perceived qualities, such as sound, taste and smell, also known as qualia, are an essential part of the human experience, and therefore cannot be discounted. They posit that classical mechanics fails to account for the experience of such phenomena.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind

Sounds to me like a variation on dualism. Or a high-class instance of god-of-the gaps.

Even if the classical theory doesn't account for something, does that necessarily mean the something is inconsistent with the theory? (My guess is no.)

Henry

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 02 2010,08:30   

I make the comarison to vitalism because chemistry does not yet explain the transition to life. We have no account of how living things can self-assemble frm non-living chemicals.

Consciousness is a gap. We do not understand everything about how brains work. I ask what the simplest instance of consciousness might be, because I'm curious whether quantum consciousness is required for organisms having only a few neurons, or perhaps organisms like sensitive plants, where there is behavior but no neurons.

Quantum consciousness seems to be a stand-in for the soul. At what point in the history of life did this soul  evolve?

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 02 2010,12:13   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 02 2010,08:30)
Consciousness is a gap. We do not understand everything about how brains work. I ask what the simplest instance of consciousness might be, because I'm curious whether quantum consciousness is required for organisms having only a few neurons, or perhaps organisms like sensitive plants, where there is behavior but no neurons.

Quantum consciousness seems to be a stand-in for the soul. At what point in the history of life did this soul  evolve?

At what point in the history of life did awareness evolve?

Here are some artistic renditions of vernanimalcula guizhouena...




This small animal (between 0.1 and 0.2 mm across) existed pre-Cambrian.

It had organs. A mouth, a digestive system and an anus. It could smell, taste and feel. It had the beginnings of a nervous system and brain center.  It also had two light sensitive pits exactly where you would expect eyes to be.

I suggest this animal had already evolved an awareness of its surrounding.  We have direct evidence of life incorporating beneficial Quantum Mechanical properties.  What could be more beneficial to life than awareness?  Once quantum biophysics got its foot in the door, evolutionary forces would inevitably propel its use to the max, up to and including sentient beings.

Midwifetoad, you may want to use loaded words like "soul".  And, yes, there are those who take this concept to that extreme, but it isn't needed.

If microtubules are, in fact, miniature quantum computers then a lot of living things have this built in processing capability.  That doesn't necessarily mean there is soul.  It doesn't even necessarily mean quantum effects are connected (I happen to think they are).  All that needs to happen, is that it is beneficial to the organism.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 02 2010,14:23   

So if I'm understanding you correctly, you are asserting that quantum effects are "essential" to awareness, all the way down.

Not just as triggers to chemical processes, as with photons and light sensitivity, but somehow facilitating communication between bits of a cell, or even between cells.

EDIT to add:

And when you speak of quantum effects, you are speaking of something like entanglement, not anything covered by conventional chemistry?

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 02 2010,19:18   

Hi midwifetoad,
   
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 02 2010,14:23)
So if I'm understanding you correctly, you are asserting that quantum effects are "essential" to awareness, all the way down.

Not just as triggers to chemical processes, as with photons and light sensitivity, but somehow facilitating communication between bits of a cell, or even between cells.

Is Chlorophyll "essential" for converting sunlight into energy?

No (e.g. photocells), but it is very helpful to living things.

Depending on definitions it could be said that litmus paper is aware of the presence of acids or bases.

Quantum effects aren't essential for awareness, but they are very helpful to living things.

I suggest awareness evolved into consciousness.  I presume quantum effects ARE essential for consciousness (again, depending on definitions).

A potentially more interesting question is whether or not quantum effects are a fundamental aspect of DNA-based life?

"The factorized quantum search algorithm locates the desired item in an unsorted database using O(log4 N) queries, which is a factor of two improvement over the best search algorithm for a classical sorted database.
...
It is too tempting to overlook a fundamental biological process that works in this manner, i.e. replication of DNA. (As a matter of fact, biochemistry is full of assembly processes which synthesize desired objects out of their components by pattern recognition oracles.) The DNA alphabet has four letters, i.e. the bases A,T,C,G.
...
The fact that this process takes place at the molecular scale and uses an alphabet of four letters raises a highly provocative thought. Could it be that the evolution of life sensed the advantage of a quantum algorithm, and opted to organize the genetic information in DNA using four bases? Note that classically just two bases (one complementary pair) are sufficient to carry the genetic information."
link

   
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 02 2010,14:23)
And when you speak of quantum effects, you are speaking of something like entanglement, not anything covered by conventional chemistry?

Entanglement and quantum processing, yes.

  
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,00:40   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 02 2010,12:23)
So if I'm understanding you correctly, you are asserting that quantum effects are "essential" to awareness, all the way down.

Not just as triggers to chemical processes, as with photons and light sensitivity, but somehow facilitating communication between bits of a cell, or even between cells.

EDIT to add:

And when you speak of quantum effects, you are speaking of something like entanglement, not anything covered by conventional chemistry?

While I  agree with TP that "free will" and consciousness are probably a macroscopic manifestation of quantum indeterminacy (e.g. thermal noise),  I don't believe that "quantum computation"(coherence, entanglement) is a requirement.
 A completely deterministic algorithm, such as a software program, can be made to exhibit anything from complete indeterminacy to quasi determinism with the addition of true randomness (as opposed to algorithmic pseudo-randomness) somewhere in the program.
 I'd even venture to guess that a sufficiently complex algorithm which included several sources of true randomness and sufficient memory, could be made indistinguishable from an intelligent agent exhibiting free will, and pass the Turing test with flying colors.
I also strongly suspect that we will see it within a decade or three.

--------------
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,08:31   

I fail to see any practical difference between "true randomness" and strong pseudo-randomness, except in encryption.

Any evolutionary system will be shaped by selection if variation explores the "search space." The source of variation is relatively unimportant.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,09:37   

Agreed.  The source of the randomness makes no difference in an evolutionary scenario. I maintain only that it is important in an algorithmic simulation of "free will".  I'm not sure what the definition of "strong pseudo-randomness" is, but an algorithm that includes simple pseudo-randomness will generate the same answer for the same input every time, as long as the seed for the PR generator remains the same.

--------------
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,09:43   

Since I think the free will debate is a morass of ill-defined bullshit, I have no bias one way or the other in the matter of true randomness.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,10:42   

Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 02 2010,22:40)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 02 2010,12:23)
So if I'm understanding you correctly, you are asserting that quantum effects are "essential" to awareness, all the way down.

Not just as triggers to chemical processes, as with photons and light sensitivity, but somehow facilitating communication between bits of a cell, or even between cells.

EDIT to add:

And when you speak of quantum effects, you are speaking of something like entanglement, not anything covered by conventional chemistry?

While I  agree with TP that "free will" and consciousness are probably a macroscopic manifestation of quantum indeterminacy (e.g. thermal noise),  I don't believe that "quantum computation"(coherence, entanglement) is a requirement.
 A completely deterministic algorithm, such as a software program, can be made to exhibit anything from complete indeterminacy to quasi determinism with the addition of true randomness (as opposed to algorithmic pseudo-randomness) somewhere in the program.
 I'd even venture to guess that a sufficiently complex algorithm which included several sources of true randomness and sufficient memory, could be made indistinguishable from an intelligent agent exhibiting free will, and pass the Turing test with flying colors.
I also strongly suspect that we will see it within a decade or three.

I suspect within a decade at the outside. In fact, I'm not sure it isn't being studied in a lab right now. And true randomness isn't even a requirement.

In the last 5 years, the world changed. Learning algorithms are commonplace, there are dozens of computer models of neural networks which function exactly as they would be expected to, and embodied intelligence has crossed the hurdle of creativity.

If you want a good place to start,
http://www.umass.edu/neuro/faculty/files/siegelmann.html

EDIT: No link on that page to her publications. If you actually care, here is that link:
http://binds.cs.umass.edu/publications.html

this lady has some interesting math she has been working on for quite some time. The list however, is nearly endless.

AI is not theoretical anymore. All that is left to do is hammer out a set of consistent definitions and build some already understood architecture.

If it is essential to awareness that some quantum thing happen, then it happens whenever the conditions in the relativistic universe are met. i.e. it need not be understood to be applied.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,11:34   

Quote
there are dozens of computer models of neural networks which function exactly as they would be expected to


My point when I said quantum consciousness solves a problem not in evidence.

In order to have a need for such a hypothesis, you need a recalcitrant problem. Simply not knowing how self-awareness arises is not such a problem.

The cost of hardware is a problem, which is why I'm interested in Stanford.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:03   

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,08:42)
In the last 5 years, the world changed. Learning algorithms are commonplace, there are dozens of computer models of neural networks which function exactly as they would be expected to, and embodied intelligence has crossed the hurdle of creativity.

If you want a good place to start,
http://www.umass.edu/neuro/faculty/files/siegelmann.html

EDIT: No link on that page to her publications. If you actually care, here is that link:
http://binds.cs.umass.edu/publications.html

this lady has some interesting math she has been working on for quite some time. The list however, is nearly endless.

Impressive. The work she's doing is real bioinformatics, with practical applications to real-world problems like addiction and circadian responses.  Her "Active Information" is on a completely different level from the crap produced by the Evolutionary Informatics "lab" of Dembski, Marks, Sewell and Dodgen.

Regards to randomness, from her 1998 paper "Neural Dynamics With Stochasticity"  
Quote
Randomness is a basic characteristic of large distributed systems. It may result from the activity of the individual agents, from unpredictable changes in the communication pattern among the agents, or even just from the different update paces ... Our particular stochastic model can be seen as an incorporation of the von Neumann model of unreliable interconnections of components to the area of neural networks: the basic component has a fixed probability for malfunction.

The last is a particularly apt description of my brain, except for the "fixed probability" part  :p

--------------
The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is alleviated by their lack of consistency. -A. Einstein  (H/T, JAD)
If evolution is true, you could not know that it's true because your brain is nothing but chemicals. ?Think about that. -K. Hovind

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:07   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 03 2010,09:34)
Quote
there are dozens of computer models of neural networks which function exactly as they would be expected to


My point when I said quantum consciousness solves a problem not in evidence.

In order to have a need for such a hypothesis, you need a recalcitrant problem. Simply not knowing how self-awareness arises is not such a problem.

The cost of hardware is a problem, which is why I'm interested in Stanford.

A) You are right. There is no problem for self-awareness that quantum issues raise. There may be quantum issues but they appear to resolve at our particular recursive level before we need to know about them much.

Which is why Penrose doesn't understand the opposition to his hypothesis. He is simply working out a detail of extraordinarily esoteric math unless someone notices a problem that needs fixing.

B) Stanford?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,12:12   

Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 03 2010,10:03)
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,08:42)
In the last 5 years, the world changed. Learning algorithms are commonplace, there are dozens of computer models of neural networks which function exactly as they would be expected to, and embodied intelligence has crossed the hurdle of creativity.

If you want a good place to start,
http://www.umass.edu/neuro/faculty/files/siegelmann.html

EDIT: No link on that page to her publications. If you actually care, here is that link:
http://binds.cs.umass.edu/publications.html

this lady has some interesting math she has been working on for quite some time. The list however, is nearly endless.

Impressive. The work she's doing is real bioinformatics, with practical applications to real-world problems like addiction and circadian responses.  Her "Active Information" is on a completely different level from the crap produced by the Evolutionary Informatics "lab" of Dembski, Marks, Sewell and Dodgen.

Regards to randomness, from her 1998 paper "Neural Dynamics With Stochasticity"    
Quote
Randomness is a basic characteristic of large distributed systems. It may result from the activity of the individual agents, from unpredictable changes in the communication pattern among the agents, or even just from the different update paces ... Our particular stochastic model can be seen as an incorporation of the von Neumann model of unreliable interconnections of components to the area of neural networks: the basic component has a fixed probability for malfunction.

The last is a particularly apt description of my brain, except for the "fixed probability" part  :p

This one here:
http://binds.cs.umass.edu/papers/2008_Olsen_AI.pdf

Is one which I've written a little about in other places.  But yes. This is the actual state of the discipline. The issue of quantum consciousness is outdated. The real research has moved on and, like I said, AI is already a reality. Within a decade we will likely have self-awareness from a silicone base.

The difference between now and 5 years ago is the difference between Einstein and Faraday.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,13:56   

Quote
B) Stanford?


http://www.stanford.edu/group/brainsinsilicon/goals.html

As far as I can tell, the innovation here is one of cost and power consumption.

Quote
This neuromorphic approach, developed over the past two decades, yields hitherto unimagined levels of efficiency that make Blue-Gene performance affordable on a Dell-cluster budget.


--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,14:18   

Wow. That's pretty amazing.

I just re-wrote a reply enough times that I think I need to wait a bit to think about it for a few minutes.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,16:41   

I have been looking into Siegelmann's published papers.

Thank you BWE, they are very interesting.

I was having trouble finding a specific disagreement between Siegelmann and Penrose but I finally found this...
Quote
Our model may also be thought of as a possible answer to Penrose’s recent claim Penrose (1989) that the standard model of computing is not appropriate for modeling true biological intelligence. Penrose argues that physical processes, evolving at a quantum level, may result in computations which cannot be incorporated in Church’s Thesis. The analog neural network does allow for non-Turing power while keeping track of computational constraints, and thus embeds a possible answer to Penrose’s challenge within the framework of classical computer science.
link

It seems Siegelmann is relying on the analog part of "analog neural network" to get to her AI nirvana.  This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because, as an Electrical Engineer, I work with analog-to-digital conversion with precisions approaching electron charge.  Penrose is a mathematician.  Reducing digital precision by orders of magnitude is still digital precision.  Penrose can be wrong, but I don’t see how analog verses digital changes anything in our quantum-based reality.

Let me cut to what I see as fundamental differences.  I suspect most of you would agree it is possible life evolved to use quantum effects but you may argue it is just not required and, therefore, can be simulated "...within the framework of classical computer science."  

This gets into the discussion about "sources of true randomness" postulated by sledgehammer.  If quantum effects is the fundamental source for all true randomness then it becomes a metaphysical free-for-all.

Is it truly random?

Is it orchestrated quantum effects in spacetime?

Is it God working in "mysterious ways"?

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,17:17   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Mar. 03 2010,14:41)
I have been looking into Siegelmann's published papers.

Thank you BWE, they are very interesting.

I was having trouble finding a specific disagreement between Siegelmann and Penrose but I finally found this...
Quote
Our model may also be thought of as a possible answer to Penrose’s recent claim Penrose (1989) that the standard model of computing is not appropriate for modeling true biological intelligence. Penrose argues that physical processes, evolving at a quantum level, may result in computations which cannot be incorporated in Church’s Thesis. The analog neural network does allow for non-Turing power while keeping track of computational constraints, and thus embeds a possible answer to Penrose’s challenge within the framework of classical computer science.
link

It seems Siegelmann is relying on the analog part of "analog neural network" to get to her AI nirvana.  This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because, as an Electrical Engineer, I work with analog-to-digital conversion with precisions approaching electron charge.  Penrose is a mathematician.  Reducing digital precision by orders of magnitude is still digital precision.  Penrose can be wrong, but I don’t see how analog verses digital changes anything in our quantum-based reality.

Let me cut to what I see as fundamental differences.  I suspect most of you would agree it is possible life evolved to use quantum effects but you may argue it is just not required and, therefore, can be simulated "...within the framework of classical computer science."  

This gets into the discussion about "sources of true randomness" postulated by sledgehammer.  If quantum effects is the fundamental source for all true randomness then it becomes a metaphysical free-for-all.

Is it truly random?

Is it orchestrated quantum effects in spacetime?

Is it God working in "mysterious ways"?

TP,

The thing about Penrose's hypothesis that makes it a side issue is that AI research is not hampered by it. I noted Siegelmann because she has had some recent sort of spectacular successes but the list is long.

The direction for now seems clear in AI research and snags thus far aren't appearing.

There are two different questions involved in Penrose's issue, one biological and the other computational. Neuroscience and AI are beginning to come together more and more to bridge the two, but the questions of what human consciousness is and what self awareness in general is are easy to separate by discipline. Trying to arrive at a definition which excludes artificial consciousness from the domain of human consciousness is the next step typically. AI researchers can largely ignore that one because their goal is not to answer the question but to create consciousness in a machine.

Also, mathematical continuums are fundementally not the same as physical continuums. A physical continuum, no matter how good your measurement system, always has the problem of measurement where at some point, A=B, B=C and A<C. Zeno's paradox is answered in a physical continuum because at some point achilles ends up at B.

This is a major difference between digital and analog signal processing. Not that Siegelmann's work is the only method out there, there are several digital efforts that appear to be having success too. The important thing about them all is that Penrose's objection is not stopping any of them.

It doesn't even need to invoke 'true' randomness, whatever that is.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,20:12   

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)

The thing about Penrose's hypothesis that makes it a side issue is that AI research is not hampered by it.

I suggest Penrose's hypothesis is not a "side issue" for understanding Quantum Mechanics.

 
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
The direction for now seems clear in AI research and snags thus far aren't appearing.

Personally, I hope AI research continues at a brisk pace because I suspect it will eventually bring to light what Penrose has been saying.

 
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
Also, mathematical continuums are fundementally not the same as physical continuums. A physical continuum, no matter how good your measurement system, always has the problem of measurement where at some point, A=B, B=C and A<C. Zeno's paradox is answered in a physical continuum because at some point achilles ends up at B.

This is a major difference between digital and analog signal processing.

The difference between a mathematical, digital continuum and a physical, analog continuum is noise.

Or putting it another way, uncertainty...

...as in quantum uncertainty.

In electronics there are these things called "tunneling diodes".  Electrons manage to go from point A to point B without travelling in-between.

Achilles can win a foot race with a tortoise because he teleports moment to moment.


 
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
It doesn't even need to invoke 'true' randomness, whatever that is.


A pseudo-random number generator is just a complex digital calculation.  The question is whether or not a purely digital machine is capable of AI consciousness.  From what I read of Siegelmann and other places, it is probable AI researchers are already giving up on what Penrose calls “Strong AI”.  The researchers are looking at quantum computations or analog signals with built in quantum noise.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2010,20:40   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Mar. 03 2010,18:12)
   
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)

The thing about Penrose's hypothesis that makes it a side issue is that AI research is not hampered by it.

I suggest Penrose's hypothesis is not a "side issue" for understanding Quantum Mechanics.

That is probably true. No doubt he has and will continue to add a lot to our understanding of various kinds of physics.

   
Quote
   
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
The direction for now seems clear in AI research and snags thus far aren't appearing.

Personally, I hope AI research continues at a brisk pace because I suspect it will eventually bring to light what Penrose has been saying.
Well, suspect all you want. So far, it looks like a pretty well done deal and no problems reported thus far involving godel's theorems which, after all, are what Penrose bases his entire hypothesis upon.
   
Quote

     
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
Also, mathematical continuums are fundementally not the same as physical continuums. A physical continuum, no matter how good your measurement system, always has the problem of measurement where at some point, A=B, B=C and A<C. Zeno's paradox is answered in a physical continuum because at some point achilles ends up at B.

This is a major difference between digital and analog signal processing.

The difference between a mathematical, digital continuum and a physical, analog continuum is noise.

That is a ridiculous statement. No offense intended but if you think the only difference between the map and the terrain is noise you are going to need to take several steps backwards to get back on track.
   
Quote

Or putting it another way, uncertainty...

...as in quantum uncertainty.
or putting it another way, mathematical continuums are in no way whatsofuckingever the same as physical continuums. One is the map the other is the landscape.

   
Quote
In electronics there are these things called "tunneling diodes".  Electrons manage to go from point A to point B without travelling in-between.

Achilles can win a foot race with a tortoise because he teleports moment to moment.

perhaps you can ruminate on this and discover why the Planck length is so fundamental to mathematical descriptions of a thing which isn't math.

   
Quote
   
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
It doesn't even need to invoke 'true' randomness, whatever that is.


A pseudo-random number generator is just a complex digital calculation.  The question is whether or not a purely digital machine is capable of AI consciousness.  From what I read of Siegelmann and other places, it is probable AI researchers are already giving up on what Penrose calls “Strong AI”.  The researchers are looking at quantum computations or analog signals with built in quantum noise.
Correction, what John Searle calls "strong AI" and Penrose adopts.

I believe I have discovered where our ideas diverge and which bits we differ over.

Google "Chinese Room" and see if you think it's a reasonable analogy.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2010,09:38   

Quote
Google "Chinese Room" and see if you think it's a reasonable analogy.


Sorta like the difference between real living things and the hypothetical artificial living things that are the goal of biogenesis researchers.

No?

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2010,10:12   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 04 2010,07:38)
Quote
Google "Chinese Room" and see if you think it's a reasonable analogy.


Sorta like the difference between real living things and the hypothetical artificial living things that are the goal of biogenesis researchers.

No?

touche. :)

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2010,11:18   

I'm a bout done with this topic, but the problem I see with the Chinese Room argument is the assumption that emulations or silicon equivalents will be done via conventional programs running on conventional CPUs.

I think Blue Gene makes a pretty good case that this will not happen in the real world. The cost is too high and the performance is too slow.

It does, however, make the case that the behavior of neurons and neural networks can be understood, just as the chemistry of cells can be understood.

Making high level artificial intelligence will require hardware breakthroughs in cost and efficiency (apparently this has begun).

What you wind up with is not a CPU running a program, but a network of neurons that is functionally equivalent to biological neurons. You do not get a program that reads and writes Chinese via lookup tables. You get an evolvable network that can learn.

I'm betting it will take far more than ten years to get something equivalent to an artificial human. After all, it takes more than ten years to raise a human, even having the hardware.

But I'm betting there will be commercial applications of AI within ten years. Perhaps even decent non-colloquial language translation. Perhaps really good OCR and voice recognition. Perhaps devices that can listen to music, write  out a score, and perhaps generate a performance from a low-fi recording.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2010,11:50   

Hi BWE,

I'm enjoying our conversation.  I hope you are too.  I'm trying not to be too frustrating but I want to explore our differences.  That usually involves a little provoking.  No offense intended or taken on my part.

     
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,20:40)
     
Quote

           
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
Also, mathematical continuums are fundementally not the same as physical continuums. A physical continuum, no matter how good your measurement system, always has the problem of measurement where at some point, A=B, B=C and A<C. Zeno's paradox is answered in a physical continuum because at some point achilles ends up at B.

This is a major difference between digital and analog signal processing.


The difference between a mathematical, digital continuum and a physical, analog continuum is noise.


That is a ridiculous statement. No offense intended but if you think the only difference between the map and the terrain is noise you are going to need to take several steps backwards to get back on track.
...
or putting it another way, mathematical continuums are in no way whatsofuckingever the same as physical continuums. One is the map the other is the landscape.


It may be appropriate to bring the following into the conversation...



For those unfamiliar with this famous painting...



When is it the model of reality and when is it reality itself?  The Matrix movies explored this meme.  If Strong AI wins the day, then a conscious algorithm running inside a digital computer is just as real as a consciousness running inside an organic computer.

If this digital computer also runs mathematical algorithms simulating reality, then for all intents and purposes it is a form of reality itself.

Quantum Mechanical experiments pretty much show that our universe is a plank scale digital computer.  There is no such thing as particles, everything is a wavefunction (i.e. mathematical algorithm).

So what differentiates this mathematical, digital continuum from the physical, analog continuum?

You guessed it, noise in the form of quantum uncertainty.

  
  72 replies since Feb. 23 2010,07:04 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Pages: (3) < [1] 2 3 >   


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]