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Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 11 2010,17:03   

Utunumsint's thread rekindled some thoughts over differing views of reality.

The Born-Einstein letters include Einstein sayingÖ
ďQuantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Ďold oneí. I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice.Ē

This has been paraphrased as a simple declaration ďGod does not play dice.Ē

I have notice most of the ďdueling metaphysicsĒ revolves around the placeholder for unknown causes.  Can randomness be a cause?

To be clear, by ďrandomnessĒ I mean a result with no deterministic cause.  The individual digits of PI are not random.  A pseudo random-number generator is not random.

What about the results of a die roll?

Under pure Newtonian physics, it would not be random.  The actions and reactions might be too complex to be easily measured but if they could be, the result would be predictable (i.e. deterministic).  However, we now know reality includes Quantum Physics with its built-in uncertainty principle.

The causes behind quantum effects may forever be unknown. Does that mean we should presume these causes are random?

Should we presume they have a purpose?

This probably depends on one's definition of "purpose".

Is life and consciousness a necessary precondition for purpose?

If so, it would lead to a metaphysical presumption that somehow life is more than just a collection of material and chemicals.

If not, purpose could possibly be ascribed to the universe itself.

As for the cause of the universe, my metaphysical presumption is to believe in an endless series of cycles.

Think of a plot of tan(x) where ďxĒ is the equivalent to a concept of time (call it cosmic duration) which is outside of space-time.  The Y-axis relates to entropy and perceived time.

Think of us as being around x=0.  If we extrapolate back, we consider the universe as starting pi/2 cosmic duration ago and having increasing entropy ever since.  For pi/2 into the future see increasing entropy until everything has collapses into Black Holes which completely evaporate via Hawking Radiation.

At pi/2 the whole thing starts over again.

What ďpurposeĒ could we presume with such a universe?

Well existance is an obvious possibility.

Another purpose could be to cause the next universe to exist.

I included the words ďa discussionĒ in the title of this thread to indicate that I am not planning on engaging in a debate.  I am honestly interested in hearing what other peopleís thoughts are on these subjects.  I suspect just about everyone has a placeholder, a presumption, to make sense of things until more and better information comes along.

In the past, I would have posted these ramblings on Telic Thoughts.  However, they have become too similar to Uncommon Descent for my tastes.

I appreciate being permitted to post here, and I will try not to abuse the privilege too much.

Thanks,
Thought Provoker

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 11 2010,17:33   

I've just got to the point in "The Road to Reality" where Penrose is talking about complex number polar co-ordinates.  Maybe it isn't a sine wave, TP, maybe it's a helix.

Purpose?  Maybe the whole universe is a spandrel.  There's that biblical admonition about thinking we're the potter when really we're the clay. Maybe we're neither, we (and everything else, all the fields of force that manifest as matter, apparently) are just the noise of the potter's wheel.

--------------
"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

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 11 2010,17:45   

TP,

I don't claim any particular insight into metaphysics. Definitely not my area of expertise. But for the sake of discussion, my thoughts are these.

If we define "purpose" as something like "a function or outcome anticipated by some intentional agent," then I see no reason to believe that the universe has a purpose. However, I also think possible that the universe could have a purpose without any of us being able to discern as much.

Is life and consciousness required for purpose? I think that depends. Again, if we're going to define "purpose" as above (which I think is the intuitively obvious definition), then there has to be some intentional agent involved. Even then, however, I see no obvious requirement that a universe with purpose must contain life and consciousness. The intentional agent that defines the universe's purpose could be outside the universe itself. In that case, the universe would only need to contain life and consciousness if that's what the outside intentional agent demanded. Obviously, we would (probably) have no way to know about any of that.

Even if we somehow concluded that life and consciousness are required for whatever purpose the universe is supposed to have, I don't see how that supports a metaphysical presumption that life is more than just a collection of materials. Maybe the purpose of the universe is to entertain the outside intentional agent, and he is only entertained if the universe contains life and consciousness. In that case, why would life need to be more than matter?

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,12:00   

Thank you for replying to my post.

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 11 2010,17:33)
I've just got to the point in "The Road to Reality" where Penrose is talking about complex number polar co-ordinates. †Maybe it isn't a sine wave, TP, maybe it's a helix.

I'm glad to hear you are still making your way through the book. †Trust me, Penrose has only begun bending, folding and otherwise warping reality. †Minkowskian geometry is tame compared to Twistor Space.

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 11 2010,17:33)
Purpose? †Maybe the whole universe is a spandrel.

Then I ask why isn't everything considered a "spandrel" including your decision to comment?

I suggest there is no such thing as true randomness.

A counter argument is there may be no such thing as true purpose.

  
Joy



Posts: 188
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,14:08   

TP:
†  
Quote
I suggest there is no such thing as true randomness.

A counter argument is there may be no such thing as true purpose.


I think I see the connection you're making, but will disagree (because I'm so disagreeable! ß;o) I get the feeling that Penrose really does believe there's such a thing as 'noncomputability' when dealing with consciousness. Which is sort of like uncertainty in non-conscious events. Noncomputable doesn't mean random OR deterministic.

IOW, me being an unpredictable factor in a stochastic economic theory does NOT mean my decision to buy Apple instead of Verizon today was in any way random. Or in any way deterministic just because it's not random. It would simply be my decision - my conscious choice. Made by me for any number of perfectly rational reasons that belong only to me and not to everybody else buying stock on the market today.
Something a market-watcher could not predict for me as a 'particle' in the 'system' being examined ahead of time based on any history of Apple or Verizon stock up to the moment my choice is registered. Hell, I might as easily decide not buy any stock at all today, and sell GE tomorrow! ß;o)

...does that make sense?

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,15:41   

Thank you for replying to my post.

Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 11 2010,17:45)
Even if we somehow concluded that life and consciousness are required for whatever purpose the universe is supposed to have, I don't see how that supports a metaphysical presumption that life is more than just a collection of materials. Maybe the purpose of the universe is to entertain the outside intentional agent, and he is only entertained if the universe contains life and consciousness. In that case, why would life need to be more than matter?

What I was attempting to point out is the repercussions of concluding life and consciousness is required for any claim of purpose, period.
I suggest humans are inherently prejudiced to think of themselves as being something special.

ďI think, therefore I amĒ has arrogant connotations.

It is a presumption of self existence with an implied sense of consciousness. †This generally leads to a biased view of what is capable of intent and, therefore, purpose.

In many games (e.g. World of Warcraft) there are AI objects programmed with the ďintentĒ of killing player characters. †A similar example is a Windmill with the ďintentĒ of pumping water. †Do these things only qualify as having purpose because a special clump of matter imbued the non-living thing with this special characteristic?

This comes close to the ďspecified complexityĒ meme forwarded by the ID Movement. †Do you really want to go there?

I suggest it could be argued viruses demonstrate intent and purpose even though most people presume they lack consciousness and may not qualify as life.

I will end this comment here with a reminder this thread is mostly about presumptions with a sprinkling of semantics. †What do we presume is meant by ďpurposeĒ?

I will get into more substance with my reply to Joyís comment.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,16:02   

Hi Joy,

 
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,14:08)
I think I see the connection you're making, but will disagree (because I'm so disagreeable! ß;o) I get the feeling that Penrose really does believe there's such a thing as 'noncomputability' when dealing with consciousness. Which is sort of like uncertainty in non-conscious events. Noncomputable doesn't mean random OR deterministic.

<snip>

...does that make sense?

Yes, but you cheated because of our many conversations in the past.

I agree that Penrose is claiming consciousness is simultaneously non-deterministic and non-random.

Penrose/Hameroff is suggesting the most logical (and maybe only) source of something that is both non-deterministic and non-random is Quantum Mechanics. †Ergo, it is extremely likely that consciousness is a macro expression of quantum effects.

If the term ďpurposeĒ is defined as basically a non-random, non-deterministic effect, then quantum effects may have purpose by definition.

This thread with probably end up discussing free will. †If it is an illusion, I donít see how a person can have any intent fundamentally different than rivers intending to flow to the sea.

This comes down to metaphysical presumptions and their logical repercussions.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,16:10   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,16:02)
This comes down to metaphysical presumptions and their logical repercussions.

The most common of those repercussions would be



Enjoy your presumptions.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
† † † † † † † † † † † † - Pattiann Rogers

   
Doc Bill



Posts: 1039
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,16:43   

Quote
This comes down to metaphysical presumptions and their logical repercussions.


Let me shorten this for you:

Quote
This comes down to bullshit.


You're welcome.  Call me when the keg's tapped.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,17:11   

Hi Albatrossity2,

Thank you for your input and the picture.

I agree animals are funnier when they do it and I suspected some people would find the conversation uninteresting.

However, it appears you were interested enough to attempt to disuade others from joining in the conversation.

So, did you act with purposeful intent?

Or was the feeling of making a choice, simply an illusion?

What is your presumption?

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,17:30   

TP, you originally wrote:

Quote
Is life and consciousness a necessary precondition for purpose?

If so, it would lead to a metaphysical presumption that somehow life is more than just a collection of material and chemicals.


As written, it sounds to me like you are actually claiming that the first statement logically implies the second. If so, I disagree. However, if your point is only that many people arrogantly assume that life is more than material, then I agree.

Quote
In many games (e.g. World of Warcraft) there are AI objects programmed with the ďintentĒ of killing player characters. †A similar example is a Windmill with the ďintentĒ of pumping water. †Do these things only quality as having purpose because a special clump of matter imbued the non-living thing with this special characteristic?


Like you said, it depends on how one defines purpose. If purpose is defined as something that only conscious living organisms can have, then people can have it and windmills can't.

FWIW, I doubt that "purpose" really exists in the sense that most people seem to mean it. That is, people may (or may not*) have intent, but I doubt that people (or anything else) have a purpose in the sense of some duty or goal or expectation that has been established for them by some outside intentional agency (e.g. God).

+++++
*You've noted the issues of randomness, determinancy, & free will, but that's much further down the rabbit hole than I care to fall today.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,17:31   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,16:41)
It is a presumption of self existence with an implied sense of consciousness. †This generally leads to a biased view of what is capable of intent and, therefore, purpose.

In many games (e.g. World of Warcraft) there are AI objects programmed with the ďintentĒ of killing player characters. †A similar example is a Windmill with the ďintentĒ of pumping water. †Do these things only qualify as having purpose because a special clump of matter imbued the non-living thing with this special characteristic?

Much fog can be lifted, IMHO, by recognizing that what human beings do is "purposing" and "intending," rather than "having purpose" and "having intentions." People engage in purposing. Windmills and AI characters clearly do not.

Further, I would argue that a sine qua non of purposing is the abilty to represent. Purposing entails (I would say by definition) creating and manipulating representations of desired outcomes. Windmills do not represent. Nor do AI characters. To the extent that they "have a purpose," that reflects their origins in the activity of an agent capable of this particular form of representation.

--------------
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

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,17:33   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,17:11)
However, it appears you were interested enough to attempt to disuade others from joining in the conversation.

I'm not trying to dissuade anyone; I defy you to find any words to that effect in my brief comment.

On the contrary, as I tell the denizens at Mike/Julie's DM blog when I sporadically check in there, I keep hoping that they will actually come up with something interesting. But as Tom Ames noted, there is not hope of generating a scientific hypothesis if all you have is suspicions and feelings and doubts.

ID is fascinating in that it seems to take a tremendous amount of time and energy to discuss, but never amounts to anything.

I can't take credit for this, but I don't remember who said it first: ID is to science as masturbation is to intercourse.

Seems pretty accurate to me.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
† † † † † † † † † † † † - Pattiann Rogers

   
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,18:08   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 12 2010,22:33)
[SNIP]

I can't take credit for this, but I don't remember who said it first: ID is to science as masturbation is to intercourse.

Seems pretty accurate to me.

And I will always disagree. Masturbation is enjoyable, a productive use of one's time, can unencumber the mind for future activity and has utility.*

IDC....not so much.

Louis

* Plus you don't need to dress up to masturbate.** IDC is allllllll about the dressing up of turds in tuxedos to pretend they are respectable turds. I saw an IDCist doing a jigsaw the other day. They had all the pieces out and couldn't make them fit to make the picture on the box, which was a tiger. I took pity on them and helped them put the Frosties back in the packet. This is either a terrible joke, or a perspecacious insight. Or both.

** Although it is nice to treat yourself...erm...so I've heard. It was J-Dog what told me, and the other Dog, that Frenchman. I have my suspicions about them. They may support the wrong rugby teams.

--------------
Bye.

  
Doc Bill



Posts: 1039
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,18:31   

Don't forget the monkeys, Louis!  Lovely hairy things they are. I could ...
never mind.

Let's get down to bullshit, shall we?

First, I recommend highly the book by HG Frankfurt, "On Bullshit" in which he addresses this very point.

Second, why are you here TP?  I mean on the planet, not this thread. Easy.  You're here because every organism in your direct line of ancestry survived.  All of them.  Including the lemur-thing that managed not to starve or get eaten before he reproduced.  Including all the pikaia's that didn't freeze, get squashed, eaten or starve before they reproduced.  Including all the people over the last couple of million years who didn't die before they could start a family.  That's why you are here.

You want purpose?  I'll give you purpose.  Your purpose is to help perpetuate our species.  Your purpose is to raise and teach and be kind to children.  Your purpose is to do no harm and to be a good steward of the land.  Your purpose is to leave the world a little better than you were given it.  Your purpose it to live an honorable, charitable life.

How are you doing so far, TP?

Now, I'm the first to admit that all the purpose stuff is bullshit, but it's my bullshit and I like it.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,19:47   

Hi qetzal,

To my statement...

"If so, it would lead to a metaphysical presumption that somehow life is more than just a collection of material and chemicals."

You responded with...
 
Quote
As written, it sounds to me like you are actually claiming that the first statement logically implies the second. If so, I disagree. However, if your point is only that many people arrogantly assume that life is more than material, then I agree.


Assumptions are logical givens. †I treat presumptions as a placeholder until something better comes along.

It was my intent to suggest the first statement (purpose requires living consciousness) would lead to a presumption living consciousness is something special.

It would be a logical default position, IMO.

 
Quote
FWIW, I doubt that "purpose" really exists in the sense that most people seem to mean it. That is, people may (or may not*) have intent, but I doubt that people (or anything else) have a purpose in the sense of some duty or goal or expectation that has been established for them by some outside intentional agency (e.g. God).


Personally, I am too egocentric and internally motivated to presume anybody or anything can give me purpose.

"I think, therefore I am".

God may exist. †He/she/it could be a supernatural kid with a chemistry set that created me, but that doesn't mean I will submit and worship the creator.

My thoughts, my motivations, my morals, etc are primary.

It may mean I am considered arrogant, but God shouldn't complain. †He made me that way. †;)

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,20:01   

Hi Reciprocating Bill,

Thank you for joining in the conversation.

To my...
'A similar example is a Windmill with the ďintentĒ of pumping water. Do these things only qualify as having purpose because a special clump of matter imbued the non-living thing with this special characteristic?'

 
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,17:31)

Much fog can be lifted, IMHO, by recognizing that what human beings do is "purposing" and "intending," rather than "having purpose" and "having intentions." People engage in purposing. Windmills and AI characters clearly do not.


I was not trying to engage in equivocation. †It was my intent (pardon the possible pun) to ask if AI and windmills were doing "purposing" and "intending". †You answered in the negative.

 
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,17:31)

Further, I would argue that a sine qua non of purposing is the abilty to represent. Purposing entails (I would say by definition) creating and manipulating representations of desired outcomes. Windmills do not represent. Nor do AI characters. To the extent that they "have a purpose," that reflects their origins in the activity of an agent capable of this particular form of representation.


Is this a "sine qua non of purposing" or is it a sine qua non of consciousness and it is consciousness that is a requirement for "purposing" and "intending"?

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,20:16   

Hi Albatrossity2,

I didn't want you to feel left out.

Yes, I agree this thread could arguably be called mental masturbation or as Doc Bill might say, "bullshit".



And to you Louis,

I consider it an honor that you joined in the fun.

Most of the time, I'm not sure whether you are being insulting or not.  Either way, your comments are fun to read.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,20:34   

Hi Doc Bill,

 
Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,18:31)
Let's get down to bullshit, shall we?

First, I recommend highly the book by HG Frankfurt, "On Bullshit" in which he addresses this very point.

It does look like a book I might enjoy reading. †I will look into it. †Thanks.

 
Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,18:31)
Second, why are you here TP? †I mean on the planet, not this thread. Easy. †You're here because every organism in your direct line of ancestry survived.
<snip>
That's why you are here.

I presume you are correct. †More than that, I pretty much assume it is correct.

 
Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,18:31)
You want purpose? †I'll give you purpose. †Your purpose is to help perpetuate our species. †Your purpose is to raise and teach and be kind to children. †Your purpose is to do no harm and to be a good steward of the land. †Your purpose is to leave the world a little better than you were given it. †Your purpose it to live an honorable, charitable life.

How are you doing so far, TP?

I think I am doing fairly well but, then again, I might be a little biased.

I have raised four children to be independently minded and self sufficient. †They all seem destined to help others. †My third youngest is a gay rights activist even though she, herself, isn't gay. †I could do better in the carbon footprint department, but we reuse our grocery bags and generally recycle. †I think charities have our number on speed dial. †My wife is a sucker.

I try hard to be a straight shooter. †Although the temptation to become sarcastic is very strong at times.


 
Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,18:31)
Now, I'm the first to admit that all the purpose stuff is bullshit, but it's my bullshit and I like it.

That is what I was looking for in this discussion. †An investigation of unsupported presumptions people have. †This is sometimes called a "bullshit session".

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,20:45   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,21:01)
Is this a "sine qua non of purposing" or is it a sine qua non of consciousness and it is consciousness that is a requirement for "purposing" and "intending"?

Hey TP -

If representation is necessary for consciousness, and consciousness for purposing and intending, then representation is necessary for purposing and intending. Whether it is sufficient is another, interesting question.

That said, any definition of "purposing" that I can recognize as such requires representation in the sense I describe above - representation of desired outcomes. Both "representing that" and "desiring that" are intentional notions in the sense of Brentano's intentionality. So the minimum requirement for purposing, by definition, appears to be a capacity for states characterized by (Brentano's) intentionality (i.e. "aboutness").

--------------
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

  
Joy



Posts: 188
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,21:17   

TP:
 
Quote
Yes, but you cheated because of our many conversations in the past.


ß;o)

 
Quote
Penrose/Hameroff is suggesting the most logical (and maybe only) source of something that is both non-deterministic and non-random is Quantum Mechanics. †Ergo, it is extremely likely that consciousness is a macro expression of quantum effects.


Well, you know I agree. And that I expect that's right where the evidence will eventually lead, even though it's bound to leave behind a whole passel of flat-earthers on both 'ends' who will quietly fade into oblivion as they die off and energetic young scientists take the new paradigm as far as they're able to go with it. Then some young guns will do the same to them. Such is the way of things, science is not exempt (even if it hosts way too many Zombies at present).

I'm checking out, just cannot deal with this level of delinquency on purpose - though I admit recent presence is purposeless slumming, just bored with being snowed in and there's six new inches so far tonight. Have contacted whatever passes for "moderation" around here, will not post further until and unless a certain member of the youth gang is deterred. Since that's entirely unlikely to happen, I'll just wish you good luck reaching the same conclusion in record time - there is nothing resembling discussion to be had here. Once again I am reminded of why that is...

Ciao!

  
Doc Bill



Posts: 1039
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,21:22   

I'm an arrogant ass, TP, but I try to be an honest arrogant ass.

I stand corrected (somewhat) when Louis tells me that sheep are better lovers than monkeys;  at least I'm open to the possibility.

But, I'm a reductionist.  All is chemistry and physics, ultimately physics.  I believe I have free-ish will in that I appear to be able to make certain choices governed by physics, chemistry, my psychology and the physical world (all of which are chemistry and physics).  But, I don't think I'm predestined to have Special K for breakfast tomorrow.  In fact, I'm going to have Cheerio's just to mess with the Cosmos.

As for metaphysics, philosophy and theology, it's all bullshit.  Clearly.

Where's my beer?

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,22:43   

Hi Recipricating Bill,

†  
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,20:45)
If representation is necessary for consciousness, and consciousness for purposing and intending, then representation is necessary for purposing and intending. Whether it is sufficient is another, interesting question.

That said, any definition of "purposing" that I can recognize as such requires representation in the sense I describe above - representation of desired outcomes.


Excuse my desire to keep coming back to consciousness but, to me, an ability to represent isn't very significant.

For example, many years ago I was in charge of a simulation project for the investigation of various torpedo verses target scenarios.

The software stored representations of multiple objects in memory and applied six-degree of freedom motions to them resulting in the creation of a physical, tangable product in the form of graphs and charts. Does that mean my software was doing "purposing"? †

As you indicated sufficency is another issue.

Whether we call it an additional requirement or an expansion of definitions, I suggest you would agree there is something more.

Please take a look at this chess problem


  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,22:56   

Hi Joy,

Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,21:17)
I'm checking out
<big snip>
Ciao!


Actually, I don't think they have been too bad on this thread.  Then again, I have always been more understanding of testosterone driven chest thumping.

I hope you will change your mind.

Either way, I will probably see you around.

  
Doc Bill



Posts: 1039
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,23:02   

And I've been pretty understanding of the undereducated nitwits, eh TP?

Got something besides undereducated nitwitness?

I didn't think so.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 12 2010,23:16   

Hi Doc Bill,

†  
Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,21:22)
But, I'm a reductionist. †All is chemistry and physics, ultimately physics. †I believe I have free-ish will in that I appear to be able to make certain choices governed by physics, chemistry, my psychology and the physical world (all of which are chemistry and physics).


"free-ish will" ?!?!?

How wimpish is that?

You and I probably agree on the reductionist part. †Especially, the reduction down to physics. †Quantum physics to be more exact.

One of the things I have taken away from my research into all things Penrose is that he is focused on combining everything into one reality. †He is attempting to merge relativistic space-time into Quantum Mechanics and vice versa. †Then there is the everyday macro world.

The only way the total puzzle fits together for Penrose is if consciousness is a macro expression of quantum effects.

†  
Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,21:22)
But, I don't think I'm predestined to have Special K for breakfast tomorrow. †In fact, I'm going to have Cheerio's just to mess with the Cosmos.


:D LOL


†  
Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,21:22)
Where's my beer?


Here you go...


  
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,01:39   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,10:00)
Thank you for replying to my post.

† †  
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 11 2010,17:33)
I've just got to the point in "The Road to Reality" where Penrose is talking about complex number polar co-ordinates. †Maybe it isn't a sine wave, TP, maybe it's a helix.

I'm glad to hear you are still making your way through the book. †Trust me, Penrose has only begun bending, folding and otherwise warping reality. †Minkowskian geometry is tame compared to Twistor Space.


Heh. I still stumble on the e^i(pi) + 1=0. †"Wait, what?"

Quote
† †  
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 11 2010,17:33)
Purpose? †Maybe the whole universe is a spandrel.

Then I ask why isn't everything considered a "spandrel" including your decision to comment?


(shrug) Some would say it is. "Since everything is but an apparition..." etc.

We think things matter because they affect us.

Whether that has some greater ... hmm... cosmic meaning... who knows.

Quote


I suggest there is no such thing as true randomness.

A counter argument is there may be no such thing as true purpose.


Everything in moderation, then? (Or maybe just a moderate number of things in moderation, everything in moderation seems a bit extreme)

There are limits to all freedoms, aren't there?

As far as I can tell, I can choose which shirt to wear but I can't choose to teleport to work. †

Quantum indeterminacy has limited probabilites, dunnit?

I see a tendency in the posts above to conflation of "purpose" in the sense of "function" (i.e. windmill) with "purpose" in the sense of "will", as one would use the phrase "on purpose".

This smacks a bit of grade 10 chess club conversation, so I may shy away from it. †Unless Louis dives in again.

--------------
"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

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,06:51   

Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,21:17)
I'll just wish you good luck reaching the same conclusion in record time - there is nothing resembling discussion to be had here. Once again I am reminded of why that is...

Now, that couldn't be because you eschew arguments and evidence, feign persecution, and don't like being told the truth about your half-baked notions, could it?

Nah.

Enjoy your hermitage.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
† † † † † † † † † † † † - Pattiann Rogers

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,07:10   

TP:
† † † † † †
Quote
Excuse my desire to keep coming back to consciousness but, to me, an ability to represent isn't very significant.

Well, then, I guess I am a little confused about the intent of the post to which I originally responded. There you said:
† † † † † † †
Quote
What I was attempting to point out is the repercussions of concluding life and consciousness is required for any claim of purpose, period.

I suggest humans are inherently prejudiced to think of themselves as being something special.

ďI think, therefore I amĒ has arrogant connotations.

It is a presumption of self existence with an implied sense of consciousness. †This generally leads to a biased view of what is capable of intent and, therefore, purpose.

In many games (e.g. World of Warcraft) there are AI objects programmed with the ďintentĒ of killing player characters. †A similar example is a Windmill with the ďintentĒ of pumping water. †Do these things only qualify as having purpose because a special clump of matter imbued the non-living thing with this special characteristic?

I took you to be saying that to insist that something like human consciousness and self-awareness are required for purposing reflects a humancentric perspective "that leads to a biased view of what is capable of intent and, therefore, purpose."

You cited the example of viruses, stating "it could be argued that viruses demonstrate intent and purpose even though most people presume they lack consciousness and may not qualify as life."

Therefore, you appeared to be saying that perhaps entities lacking something like human consciousness and "the presumption of self existence" (what is that?) may nevertheless be capable of intent, and therefore purpose.

In your subsequent post you seem to be saying (or asking) the opposite: that consciousness must be present for us to ascribe to an agent the capacity for purposing.
† † †  
Quote
Excuse my desire to keep coming back to consciousness but, to me, an ability to represent isn't very significant.

For example, many years ago I was in charge of a simulation project for the investigation of various torpedo verses target scenarios.

The software stored representations of multiple objects in memory and applied six-degree of freedom motions to them resulting in the creation of a physical, tangable product in the form of graphs and charts. Does that mean my software was doing "purposing"?

I would say, of course, that your software did not engage in "purposing," even as it employs representations (although these have only "derived intentionality," borrowed from your own capacity to represent, in the same sense that windmill pumps have only "derived" purpose.) As you argue, "something more" is needed - something very like the human capacity for representation and perhaps consciousness.

So, are you arguing that to insist upon something like human consciousness is humancentric arrogance and bias, a bias that inappropriately causes us to withhold an ascription of purposing from other agents - from viruses and windmills, for example?

Or are you arguing that something like human consciousness IS requisite for purposing and intention?

----

The fact of the matter is that having intentions, harboring purposes etc. are integral to our representation of human actions and agents, integral components of human theory of mind. These representations of agency have long an evolutionary and cultural histories and, in given individuals, dedicated neural structures that support this representational coin. These representations are also integral to human language and have been hugely culturally elaborated and nuanced. We are immersed in such representations and the surrounding cultural elaborations from from birth. When we refer to "purpose" and "intentions" (as well as to "accidents") THAT is the rich history of representations to which we refer.

The key question is: Can these extremely rich and embedded human ascriptions of "intention" and "purpose" be generalized from this originating context to other settings and agents, or to the natural world generally? To viruses?

Perhaps so. The notion of "work" had origins in our sense of human labor, effort, fatigue, later agumented by animal labor, but has since within physics been given a much more abstract formulation that leaves behind the connotations of human labor. Perhaps "intending" can be given such an abstract formulation as well.

But perhaps not - perhaps "intention" and "agency" are deeply and contingently textured, given how intimately they are woven into our ancient ascriptions of human agency to one another. I'm more inclined to that position.

(BTW, vis the chess position: My freeware chess software (Sigma Chess) chose to eschew taking the rook after pondering the position for a minute or so. It projects a draw-like indefinite shuffling of the white king. Has my MacBook attained 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

  
Quack



Posts: 1946
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,08:24   

Quote
This thread with probably end up discussing free will.  If it is an illusion, I donít see how a person can have any intent fundamentally different than rivers intending to flow to the sea.

Free with respect to what?

--------------
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself ‚ÄĒ and you are the easiest person to fool.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†         Richard Feynman

  
Quack



Posts: 1946
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,08:30   

Quote
... the famous quantum mechanics problem in which one is asked to calculate the time a pencil may be made to balance on its point. The answer is about five seconds. For a real pencil it is even less because of thermal disturbance and wind, but five seconds is the fundamental limit. (R. B. Laughlin in A Different Universe)

Free will or just 'shit happens'?

--------------
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself ‚ÄĒ and you are the easiest person to fool.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†         Richard Feynman

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,08:59   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 13 2010,01:16)
Hi Albatrossity2,

I didn't want you to feel left out.

Yes, I agree this thread could arguably be called mental masturbation or as Doc Bill might say, "bullshit".



And to you Louis,

I consider it an honor that you joined in the fun.

Most of the time, I'm not sure whether you are being insulting or not. †Either way, your comments are fun to read.

LOL I'm not trying to be insulting. If I am accidentally managing to be so, call it a happy coincidence! ;-)

Ok, ok, an unhappy coincidence, for that is not my intent.

I find the whole notroversy over evolutionary biology to be hilarious. The contortions that IDCists et al will go to to avoid something they don't like are genuinely funny. Please don't disappoint me and retort that "well the scientists do just the same" because to be blunt, they don't. I disagree with Joy that this is a mere matter of duelling metaphysics for both "sides" (yuk, hack, ptui) in this "debate" (cough, spit, bleaurgh), in fact I'd go further, this is Joy projecting her attitudes onto others. An all too common affliction.

Despite being an atheist, i.e. I lack a belief in any form of deity, and a professional scientist (not just someone who plays one on the internet) I actually have no dog in the hunt so to speak. If it turns out that the course of evolution really is teleological and there is a god then, regardless of any further implications, we will have discovered something new and wonderful about the universe. I know there are other people who don't understand that attitude. Science doesn't care what you claim is true, it cares how you claim it to be true. It's about what you can establish to be the best, most coherent, parsimonious, evidence based explanation for a series of phenomena. IDC and sundry creationisms simply don't manage to do this in any sense. Despite all the handwaving and special pleading.

I don't remember if you are an American or not, but from outside the USA this "debate" is largely seen for what it actually is: a faux controversy manufactured by a specific series of religious sects. Of course, as usual huge public apathy and a natural human tendancy to (often falsely) attribute the "truth" to the mid point between two opposed camps covers a mutitude of sins, but the claimed controversy simply doesn't exist in anything like the same way outside the USA.

As for the title and thus topic of the thread, I think it's a false dichotomy, a complete category error. It's the wrong question to be asking.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,09:32   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,20:16)
Hi Albatrossity2,

I didn't want you to feel left out.

Thanks for the concern. I wish I thought it was sincere.

And it is duly noted that you failed to defend your misstatement about my intentions being to "dissuade" others from commenting here. Ironic, isn't it? You can't accurately detect motives from a written comment here, and yet you expect us to think that you can detect motives elsewhere in the universe.

As Louis so eloquently pointed out, if you can show us the evidence for teleology or a telic entity, and if that evidence is objective, and if it leads to testable predictions that can be validated, scientists will accept it. But if the evidence is question-begging nonsense, or quantum woo-speak, which seems to be the case thus far, it won't find wide acceptance.

Blathering about on an online forum is also probably not a good way to find that evidence, but if it feels good to you, then please continue to make yourself feel better.

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
† † † † † † † † † † † † - Pattiann Rogers

   
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,10:39   

Hi fnxtr,
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
(shrug) Some would say it is. "Since everything is but an apparition..." etc.

That is a presumption some people have.

Is that your presumption?

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
Everything in moderation, then? (Or maybe just a moderate number of things in moderation, everything in moderation seems a bit extreme)

:D I like it.

 
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
There are limits to all freedoms, aren't there?

As far as I can tell, I can choose which shirt to wear but I can't choose to teleport to work. †

Quantum indeterminacy has limited probabilites, dunnit?

Does that mean you are presuming quantum indeterminacy might be involved in choosing shirts?

Or at least consider it a possibility?

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
I see a tendency in the posts above to conflation of "purpose" in the sense of "function" (i.e. windmill) with "purpose" in the sense of "will", as one would use the phrase "on purpose".

I will try to be more careful about that.

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
This smacks a bit of grade 10 chess club conversation, so I may shy away from it. †Unless Louis dives in again.

As you can see Louis did dive in with some insightful comments. †Whether you continue to participate is up to you. †Either way, I thank you for the conversation because it is a lot more interesting to talk to someone else than to continue talking only to myself.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,11:14   

Hi Reciprocating Bill,

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
I took you to be saying that to insist that something like human consciousness and self-awareness are required for purposing reflects a humancentric perspective "that leads to a biased view of what is capable of intent and, therefore, purpose."

Being biased is a human condition. †I am biased in that I think consciousness is a special characteristic. †However, I am less "humancentric" in that I think more than just humans are conscious. †"livingcentric"? †I also think quantum computers will someday be capable of consciousness. "quantumcentric"?

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
I would say, of course, that your software did not engage in "purposing," even as it employs representations (although these have only "derived intentionality," borrowed from your own capacity to represent, in the same sense that windmill pumps have only "derived" purpose.) As you argue, "something more" is needed - something very like the human capacity for representation and perhaps consciousness.

So, are you arguing that to insist upon something like human consciousness is humancentric arrogance and bias, a bias that inappropriately causes us to withhold an ascription of purposing from other agents - from viruses and windmills, for example?

Or are you arguing that something like human consciousness IS requisite for purposing and intention?

Usually, I engage in debates where I try to argue a given position. †When I do that, people complain that I am arrogent and dishonestly sound like I have expertise that I don't.

I thought I would give this "discussion" thing a try.

Personally, I think consciousness IS a requisite for what you are calling purposing and intention.

However, at this time I am not arguing it, I am exploring how other people resolve these inconsistancies. What presumptions do they make?

 
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
The key question is: Can these extremely rich and embedded human ascriptions of "intention" and "purpose" be generalized from this originating context to other settings and agents, or to the natural world generally? To viruses?

Perhaps so. The notion of "work" had origins in our sense of human labor, effort, fatigue, later agumented by animal labor, but has since within physics been given a much more abstract formulation that leaves behind the connotations of human labor. Perhaps "intending" can be given such an abstract formulation as well.

I like this. †One of the main things I continually pointed out to ID proponents is that their abstact definition of purpose and "design" pretty much means everything is designed.

I was going to say "has purpose" but that has been a source of confusion in this thread. †Frankly, most religious people think humans can do "purposing" and "intending" only because God gave them purpose. †Much like we would give a windmill purpose.

 
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
But perhaps not - perhaps "intention" and "agency" are deeply and contingently textured, given how intimately they are woven into our ancient ascriptions of human agency to one another. I'm more inclined to that position.


Thank you for this. †However, do you think other living things are capable of "intention" and "agency" besides humans?

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
(BTW, vis the chess position: My freeware chess software (Sigma Chess) chose to eschew taking the rook after pondering the position for a minute or so. It projects a draw-like indefinite shuffling of the white king. Has my MacBook attained consciousness?)


Thank you for taking the effort to do what I have not yet.

I was curious as to that myself.

In case your question was not rhetorical; no I don't think your MacBook is conscious.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,11:35   

Hi Quack,

Quote (Quack @ Feb. 13 2010,08:30)

Free with respect to what?

Quote (Quack @ Feb. 13 2010,08:30)

Free will or just 'shit happens'?

Good questions.

What are your answers to them?

Personally, I presume our free will is wrapped up in interconnected quantum effects where cause and effect relationships can be reversed.

Did we choose which shirt to wear or did the future shirt state cause our decision?

I presume it is neither and both making free will as paradoxical as Quantum Mechanics.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,12:13   

Hi Louis,
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
I find the whole notroversy over evolutionary biology to be hilarious. The contortions that IDCists et al will go to to avoid something they don't like are genuinely funny. Please don't disappoint me and retort that "well the scientists do just the same" because to be blunt, they don't. I disagree with Joy that this is a mere matter of duelling metaphysics for both "sides" (yuk, hack, ptui) in this "debate" (cough, spit, bleaurgh), in fact I'd go further, this is Joy projecting her attitudes onto others. An all too common affliction.

Hopefully, I won't disappoint you. †The reason I tended to post at Telic Thought is that I like to argue. †It is less interesting to argue with people you agree with.

I disagree with Joy concerning her presumed attitudes of scientists and she knows it. †I think religious organizations and movements (e.g. ID Movement) are far more dangerous than people focused on obtaining scientific knowledge.

I do think there is a culture war going on, i.e. "dueling metaphysics". †Especially in the United States (yes, I'm an American).

I see this as more than a "notroversy" over evolutionary biology. †It is apparent to just about everybody the Discovery Institute also sees it as something bigger. †Just read the wedge document.

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
Despite being an atheist, i.e. I lack a belief in any form of deity, and a professional scientist (not just someone who plays one on the internet) I actually have no dog in the hunt so to speak. If it turns out that the course of evolution really is teleological and there is a god then, regardless of any further implications, we will have discovered something new and wonderful about the universe. I know there are other people who don't understand that attitude. Science doesn't care what you claim is true, it cares how you claim it to be true. It's about what you can establish to be the best, most coherent, parsimonious, evidence based explanation for a series of phenomena. IDC and sundry creationisms simply don't manage to do this in any sense. Despite all the handwaving and special pleading.


It is nice to hear a kindred spirit. †I honestly think it would be neat if it turned out there was a God. †The universe might be a supernatural science fair project. †If it is, I hope we get first place.

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
I don't remember if you are an American or not, but from outside the USA this "debate" is largely seen for what it actually is: a faux controversy manufactured by a specific series of religious sects. Of course, as usual huge public apathy and a natural human tendancy to (often falsely) attribute the "truth" to the mid point between two opposed camps covers a mutitude of sins, but the claimed controversy simply doesn't exist in anything like the same way outside the USA.

That's as I understood it. †Glad to hear more confirmation.

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
As for the title and thus topic of the thread, I think it's a false dichotomy, a complete category error. It's the wrong question to be asking.


I was wondering when this would come up. †It is also my presumption this is a false dichotomy and neither exists.

While unsubstantiated presumptions are all but worthless to scientists, they end up effecting voters and , therefore, public policy in the United States.

Besides that, I feel better if I have an internally consistant worldview I feel comfortable enough to expose to criticism.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,12:32   

Hi Albatrossity2,

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
 
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,20:16)
Hi Albatrossity2,

I didn't want you to feel left out.

Thanks for the concern. I wish I thought it was sincere.

Oh, it's sincere but not necessarily in a positive way. †You may have noticed I am in the habit of responding, in turn, to all who comment.

It was easier to include you in then risk whatever you would do if you felt left out.

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
And it is duly noted that you failed to defend your misstatement about my intentions being to "dissuade" others from commenting here. Ironic, isn't it? You can't accurately detect motives from a written comment here, and yet you expect us to think that you can detect motives elsewhere in the universe.

It's duly noted that you duly noted my lack of chasing an off topic subject. †;)

I do not expect you to think anything specific. †This is not a debate, it is a discussion about unsubstantiated presumptions people have.

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
As Louis so eloquently pointed out, if you can show us the evidence for teleology or a telic entity, and if that evidence is objective, and if it leads to testable predictions that can be validated, scientists will accept it.

More than that, some people would be glad we "...discovered something new and wonderful about the universe."

Would you?

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
But if the evidence is question-begging nonsense, or quantum woo-speak, which seems to be the case thus far, it won't find wide acceptance.

I'm not trying to make a case. †This is a discussion.

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
But if the Blathering about on an online forum is also probably not a good way to find that evidence, but if it feels good to you, then please continue to make yourself feel better.

Actually this thread is going better than I had expected. †So, yes, I am feeling good about it.

Thank you.

  
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,12:49   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 13 2010,12:32)
Actually this thread is going better than I had expected.

That's good to know. It tells me a lot about how low your expectations must be...

--------------
Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
† † † † † † † † † † † † - Pattiann Rogers

   
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 13 2010,14:28   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 13 2010,08:39)
Hi fnxtr,
† † † † †
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
(shrug) Some would say it is. "Since everything is but an apparition..." etc.

That is a presumption some people have.

Is that your presumption?

After much contemplation I have come to the conclusion that I don't know. It's a possibility, I know of no way to verify it.

† †  
Quote
† † †  
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
Everything in moderation, then? (Or maybe just a moderate number of things in moderation, everything in moderation seems a bit extreme)

:D I like it.


(bows)

† † †  
Quote
† † †  
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
There are limits to all freedoms, aren't there?

As far as I can tell, I can choose which shirt to wear but I can't choose to teleport to work. †

Quantum indeterminacy has limited probabilites, dunnit?

Does that mean you are presuming quantum indeterminacy might be involved in choosing shirts?

Or at least consider it a possibility?



If someone could should how quantum indeterminacy ... er... determines... which of my neurons are more likely to fire in a given circumstance, I'd consider it. At the moment it doesn't seem likely. †And yes I think we're purely physical creatures, but calling that "just chemistry" misses much sublime richness.

I'm saying there are parallels between the two, in that all 'freedoms' are limited.

The image I have used before is a kite on the string in the wind, blown around in turbulence but held within limits by the string (no i'm not going to talk about sting theory, that's way over my head. I mean a metaphorical kite string).

--------------
"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

  
Quack



Posts: 1946
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,04:07   

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
 
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 13 2010,01:16)
Hi Albatrossity2,

I didn't want you to feel left out.

Yes, I agree this thread could arguably be called mental masturbation or as Doc Bill might say, "bullshit".



And to you Louis,

I consider it an honor that you joined in the fun.

Most of the time, I'm not sure whether you are being insulting or not. †Either way, your comments are fun to read.

LOL I'm not trying to be insulting. If I am accidentally managing to be so, call it a happy coincidence! ;-)

Ok, ok, an unhappy coincidence, for that is not my intent.

I find the whole notroversy over evolutionary biology to be hilarious. The contortions that IDCists et al will go to to avoid something they don't like are genuinely funny. Please don't disappoint me and retort that "well the scientists do just the same" because to be blunt, they don't. I disagree with Joy that this is a mere matter of duelling metaphysics for both "sides" (yuk, hack, ptui) in this "debate" (cough, spit, bleaurgh), in fact I'd go further, this is Joy projecting her attitudes onto others. An all too common affliction.

Despite being an atheist, i.e. I lack a belief in any form of deity, and a professional scientist (not just someone who plays one on the internet) I actually have no dog in the hunt so to speak. If it turns out that the course of evolution really is teleological and there is a god then, regardless of any further implications, we will have discovered something new and wonderful about the universe. I know there are other people who don't understand that attitude. Science doesn't care what you claim is true, it cares how you claim it to be true. It's about what you can establish to be the best, most coherent, parsimonious, evidence based explanation for a series of phenomena. IDC and sundry creationisms simply don't manage to do this in any sense. Despite all the handwaving and special pleading.

I don't remember if you are an American or not, but from outside the USA this "debate" is largely seen for what it actually is: a faux controversy manufactured by a specific series of religious sects. Of course, as usual huge public apathy and a natural human tendancy to (often falsely) attribute the "truth" to the mid point between two opposed camps covers a mutitude of sins, but the claimed controversy simply doesn't exist in anything like the same way outside the USA.

As for the title and thus topic of the thread, I think it's a false dichotomy, a complete category error. It's the wrong question to be asking.

Louis

Bravo. That made a lot of sense. To me, much more so than Mornington Crescent.

--------------
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself ‚ÄĒ and you are the easiest person to fool.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†         Richard Feynman

  
Quack



Posts: 1946
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,04:19   

Quote
I honestly think it would be neat if it turned out there was a God.

Iíd rather believe in a non-existent but perfect God than discover that there is a psychotic idiot responsible for all thatís wrong with this world. It makes sense if the world really is what our intellect so far has been able to discover but we would be stuck with a miserable god indeed if it (God forbid) should turn out we are wrong.

--------------
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself ‚ÄĒ and you are the easiest person to fool.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†         Richard Feynman

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,04:36   

Quote (Quack @ Feb. 14 2010,09:07)
[SNIP Me]

Bravo. That made a lot of sense. To me, much more so than Mornington Crescent.

{Gasp} Wash your mouth out with soap! How could anything make more sense than Mornington Crescent?

Look, I'll have to explain the rules again. First, the most important thing to remember is...

{sound of internets accidentally disconnecting}

...and those are the rules of Mornington Crescent. Clear now?

Louis

P.S. I also agree with fnxtr about moderation, but I will go even further: everything in moderation, especially moderation.

--------------
Bye.

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,06:29   

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 14 2010,05:36)
Louis

P.S. I also agree with fnxtr about moderation, but I will go even further: everything in moderation, especially moderation.

Moderation is for slackers.

--------------
Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
Quack



Posts: 1946
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,06:43   

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 14 2010,04:36)
 
Quote (Quack @ Feb. 14 2010,09:07)
[SNIP Me]

Bravo. That made a lot of sense. To me, much more so than Mornington Crescent.

{Gasp} Wash your mouth out with soap! How could anything make more sense than Mornington Crescent?

Look, I'll have to explain the rules again. First, the most important thing to remember is...

{sound of internets accidentally disconnecting}

...and those are the rules of Mornington Crescent. Clear now?

Louis

P.S. I also agree with fnxtr about moderation, but I will go even further: everything in moderation, especially moderation.

Besides laughing me to tears, yessir, got the rules now...

--------------
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself ‚ÄĒ and you are the easiest person to fool.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†         Richard Feynman

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,09:16   

Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 14 2010,11:29)
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 14 2010,05:36)
Louis

P.S. I also agree with fnxtr about moderation, but I will go even further: everything in moderation, especially moderation.

Moderation is for slackers.

Surely that's a different type of moderation? Anyway I thought self denial was for quitters...

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,09:18   

rehab is for quitters

  
Schroedinger's Dog



Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,13:02   

Quote (rhmc @ Feb. 14 2010,15:18)
rehab is for quitters

And Alaska...

--------------
"Hail is made out of water? Are you really that stupid?" Joe G

"I have a better suggestion, Kris. How about a game of hide and go fuck yourself instead." Louis

"The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit" Richard Pryor

   
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,13:20   

Quote (Quack @ Feb. 14 2010,04:19)
Quote
I honestly think it would be neat if it turned out there was a God.

Iíd rather believe in a non-existent but perfect God than discover that there is a psychotic idiot responsible for all thatís wrong with this world. It makes sense if the world really is what our intellect so far has been able to discover but we would be stuck with a miserable god indeed if it (God forbid) should turn out we are wrong.

On the other hand, it would make eternity a bit more interesting than uneding perfection.

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

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,13:47   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,19:47)
It was my intent to suggest the first statement (purpose requires living consciousness) would lead to a presumption living consciousness is something special.

It would be a logical default position, IMO.


Special? I wouldn't say that. All it means is that living consciousness is essential for purpose. (And from my perspective, that's really just a matter of definition anyway.)

It wouldn't imply that living consciousness is somehow 'special' as far as the universe or a hypothetical god is concerned, if that's what you're suggesting.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

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

Hi fnxtr,
† †
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,14:28)
† †  
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 13 2010,08:39)

† †
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
(shrug) Some would say it is. "Since everything is but an apparition..." etc.

That is a presumption some people have.

Is that your presumption?

After much contemplation I have come to the conclusion that I don't know. It's a possibility, I know of no way to verify it.


I understand this is what Descartes was dealing with when he came up with "Cogito, ergo sum" which translates into "I am thinking, therefore I exist".

We have to make assumptions in order to operate. †For example, we assume the earth will continue to exist at least until tomorrow. †This may or may not be true, but we rely on the assumption.

Whether we admit it or not, we presume our conciousness is more than an apparition, otherwise what's the point?

I argue there is a way to attempt to test this presumption, the Turing Test for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

I argue Quantum computation will be required for an AI to pass this test.

BTW, do you presume I am human and not an AI?

† †
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
If someone could should how quantum indeterminacy ... er... determines... which of my neurons are more likely to fire in a given circumstance, I'd consider it. At the moment it doesn't seem likely. †And yes I think we're purely physical creatures, but calling that "just chemistry" misses much sublime richness.

Fair enough.

For what it is worth, it doesn't matter to me how consciousness occurred. †I am more than willing to presume evolutionary forces are powerful enough to make it happen. †What I am interested in is how it is possible at all.

I agree it is more than "just chemistry". †I presume it is more than a complicated von Neumann algorithm. †I presume consciousness has to transcend logic because we can understand illogical concepts.

Can scientists trace the connection between Quantum Mechanics and consciousness? †Not yet, but many are working on it. †For a long time, we couldn't determine the capillary connections between veins and arteries, but the connection had to be there in order for things to make sense.

To me it is clear consciousness plays a role in Quantum Physic's observation problem, see SchrŲdinger's cat (or dog?). †If consciousness is connected to quantum effects, it is likely to be bidirectional.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,14:50   

Hi qetzal,
Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 14 2010,13:47)
 
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,19:47)
It was my intent to suggest the first statement (purpose requires living consciousness) would lead to a presumption living consciousness is something special.

It would be a logical default position, IMO.


Special? I wouldn't say that. All it means is that living consciousness is essential for purpose. (And from my perspective, that's really just a matter of definition anyway.)

It wouldn't imply that living consciousness is somehow 'special' as far as the universe or a hypothetical god is concerned, if that's what you're suggesting.

It probably comes down to semantics and stating the obvious. †If consciousness is required for intent then consciousness is a special quality because it is required for something to have intent.

I did not mean in-the-image-of-God type special.

To reiterate, I believe many living things are conscious.

Monkeys, cat, dogs, etc demonstrate an ability to have intent, IMO.

I would suggest most people would agree rust does not have intent whereas humans do.

Where is the threshold between the two extremes?

Viruses?

Bacteria?

Ants?

Dogs?

Or is the ability to have intent reserved exclusively for humans and, maybe, close relatives e.g. monkeys?

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,15:24   

Could be a matter of scale. Rust viewed up close appears to have no purpose. No telling what it would look like if it could be viewed from a global perspective.

The electrons transferred during a neural firing might appear to be just chemistry, unless you back away and view the activity of an organism having a brain.

Step further back, so that all you can detect in the percentage pf CO2 in an atmosphere, and the activities of sentient beings might resemble those of rust.

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

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,16:30   

Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Feb. 14 2010,11:02)
Quote (rhmc @ Feb. 14 2010,15:18)
rehab is for quitters

And Alaska...

Er, what? Alaska is for quitters? Or rehab is for Alaska?

Moderation is for admin.

--------------
"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

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,16:35   

Yeah, I have a hard time with the whole dead cat / live cat thing.  

There's a difference between indeterminate to the experimenter/observer (and the math they use) and indeterminate to the rest of the universe.  

There's probably a dead bird somewhere in the forest behind my house. The fact that I haven't observed it makes it no less dead.

--------------
"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

  
fnxtr



Posts: 2483
Joined: June 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 14 2010,16:39   

Consciousness is probably a continuum, rather than binary. †Heck, there's a range of consciousness levels in the humans I know, let alone the rest of Animalia.

--------------
"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

  
Quack



Posts: 1946
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,10:31   

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 14 2010,16:35)
Yeah, I have a hard time with the whole dead cat / live cat thing. †

There's a difference between indeterminate to the experimenter/observer (and the math they use) and indeterminate to the rest of the universe. †

There's probably a dead bird somewhere in the forest behind my house. The fact that I haven't observed it makes it no less dead.

Cheater.

--------------
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself ‚ÄĒ and you are the easiest person to fool.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†         Richard Feynman

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,10:56   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 14 2010,14:50)
It probably comes down to semantics and stating the obvious. †If consciousness is required for intent then consciousness is a special quality because it is required for something to have intent.

I did not mean in-the-image-of-God type special.

OK, but I still don't know why you say that consciousness is a special quality. I get the impression that your use of "special" implies more here than simply "required for something to have intent." If so, could you please elaborate?

As for your subsequent questions, I agree that many living things are conscious to some degree, at least as we usually define that term. I don't think there is any clear threshold between conscious and non-conscious. It's a continuum, as fnxtr said. From your list, I'd say that consciousness and intent definitely exist in humans, monkeys, & dogs. Definitely not in viruses or bacteria. Almost certainly not in ants.

As I've already said, however, I don't think that consciousness is "special" in any fundamental way. It's an exceedingly interesting phenomenon, of course, but I'm certainly not convinced it's some sort of essential underlying property of the universe.

Thus, if someone wants to argue that ants and bacteria are also conscious in some way (perhaps because they define "conscious" somewhat differently than I), I'd say OK, that's interesting, but so what?

  
Doc Bill



Posts: 1039
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,12:46   

In summary, TP sez:

Quote
Ö consciousness is a special quality Ö I believe Ö IMO Ö most people would agree Ö maybe


You REALLY need to read Harry Frankfurt's book, TP.

I'm not bullshitting you on that.  Srsly.

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

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

Hi fnxtr and qetzal,

Thank you both for humoring me in this admitted BS session. †I hope it has been at least entertaining if not thought provoking.

†  
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 14 2010,16:39)
Consciousness is probably a continuum, rather than binary. †Heck, there's a range of consciousness levels in the humans I know, let alone the rest of Animalia.

†  
Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 15 2010,10:56)
OK, but I still don't know why you say that consciousness is a special quality. I get the impression that your use of "special" implies more here than simply "required for something to have intent." If so, could you please elaborate?

Personally, I presume consciousness is "special" like the boiling point of water is special. †While it can be argued there is a continuum of how energetic the boiling is, there is a definable threshold defining boiling verses not-boiling.

But that is an opinion, my default presumption pending more data.

To elaborate on the dichotomy I see, we have a choice between presuming consciousness is algorithmic or not.

If it is algorithmic, someday a computer program could become conscious and have intent. †It could even be a product of evolution but for this discussion I don't care how it happens, just that it does.

I would argue, under this presumption, we already have AI entities which qualify as having intent. †A World of Warcraft monster intends to kill player characters. †While mostly predictable, it does make random moves. Its "metaphorical kite string" is very short compared to humans but it does make decisions and, therefore, has intent.

The contrary presumption is that consciousness (i.e. ability to have intent) is more than just a complex decision-making algorithm.

This is the presumption I make with an eye towards Quantum Mechanics. †Those more religious than I make this presumption with a belief in the divine.

Then there is the I-don't-wish-to-speculate crowd. †The interesting part is when this crowd speculates on what doesn't have intent or purpose.

Before I looked into the ideas surrounding Quantum Consciousness I would have said consciousness is algorithmic and, therefore, if humans can have intent software can, and does, have intent also.

So, do you presume consciousness (the ability to have intent) is algorithmic or not?

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,16:40   

I wonder if consciousness could be defined as an ability to predict (i.e., compute) likelihood of possible future events (perhaps outcomes of different possible actions), based on data acquired from previous sensory inputs?

Henry

  
Joy



Posts: 188
Joined: Sep. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,17:14   

Can't software on a computer do that? i.e. Big Blue, gambling, investment 'strategizers' and such? In which case, is the software conscious? The computer that runs it?

  
oldmanintheskydidntdoit



Posts: 4999
Joined: July 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,17:17   

Quote (Joy @ Feb. 15 2010,17:14)
is the software conscious? The computer that runs it?

I don't think it would be the computer. If you simulated a neural network with many tin cans and made it laugh, what would be amused? The tin cans?

--------------
I also mentioned that He'd have to give me a thorough explanation as to *why* I must "eat human babies".
FTK

if there are even critical flaws in Gaugerís work, the evo mat narrative cannot stand
Gordon Mullings

  
qetzal



Posts: 311
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,17:25   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 15 2010,15:25)
So, do you presume consciousness (the ability to have intent) is algorithmic or not?

Algorithmic, I suspect. However, I'm not sure I adequately understand everything that might be implied by the term 'algorithmic.' So, to answer another way, I think it will some day be possible for humans to create 'from scratch' entities that have consciousness and intent that are not fundamentally distinguishable from the consciousness and intent that humans or other animals possess now.

Even if consciousness and intent arise from quantum effects in some 'special' way, and even if that means they are non-algorithmic, I still expect that they are properties that arise automatically from certain arrangements of matter and energy. If you create the appropriate arrangement of matter and energy de novo, I expect it will be conscious and have intent.

I assume there is nothing 'magic' about consciousness. It doesn't require some sort of soul bestowed by a deity. The mind is what the brain does, and all that.

I'm not absolutely committed to any of that, though, because we simply don't understand mind or consciousness very well. If someone could present strong evidence in favor of mind-body duality, for example, I'd be willing to reconsider.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,17:39   

Saying that consciousness or intention is algorithmic doesn't imply that it is easy to replicate in silicon.

Anyone interested in a new approach could google "brains in silicon".

The folks at Stanford believe they've got a more efficient piece of hardware, by many orders of magnitude. They don't claim to have done something that can't be done by brute force in a supercomputer, but they think they have the power consumption beat by about a million to one.

In practical terms this means they can tackel bigger problems and model bigger brains.

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

  
Thought Provoker



Posts: 530
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,19:17   

Hi midwifetoad,

Thank you for the tip to look for "Brains in Silicon"

It is a fascinating site.  I would agree that if it works it would invalidate my presumption.

If my presumption is correct then until they incorporate quantum computation (or organic material) their efforts will be the equivalent of Cargo Cults.  They can perfect the emulations but the "special" spark of consciousness just won't appear.

For the record, I still presume my individual consciousness will not survive my physical death.  However, I am fairly agnostic on this.  It might be possible.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 15 2010,19:38   

Of course, we are bereft of a definition of "consciousness" in this discussion. Is it like pornography, in that we can't define it, yet masturbate when we see it? Discussions like this always seem to indicate so. Which is not to say that I'm not in on the circle jerk. But points of contact with empirical science are always helpful.

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 thatÖ). 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.

BTW, it doesn't follow from the proposition that consciousness is required for purposing and intentions that consciousness = purposing and intention. I have no difficulty envisioning creatures that possess sensory consciousness, yet have no capacity to "intend" in a way that resembles human intentions, even in miniature. As I've said before, that requires a capacity for representation that is clearly contingent upon the sorts of complexities that I cite above.

[minor edits]

[ETA] The arcuate bundle:



--------------
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. 15 2010,22:02   

Hi Reciprocating Bill,

Thank you for the very well reasoned and thoughtful comment.

I don't see anything I could seriously argue with.

IMO, it makes for a good final word.

However, if anyone else wants to continue, please do.

Thank you all for your indulgence and participation.

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3992
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 16 2010,08:31   

Quote
an ensemble that has an evolutionary history that has yielded a complex, contingent, and often surpassing strange architecture.


Pretty much my thoughts on the subject. Even if we make silicon neurons, the overall architecture will elude conventional engineering, and will probably elude reverse engineering.

It will need to evolve, and even if we had the hardware, it will have to learn. And if it does eventually become a facsimile of a biological brain, it will have the same weaknesses.

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

  
Robert Byers



Posts: 160
Joined: Nov. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 17 2010,03:14   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 11 2010,17:03)
Utunumsint's thread rekindled some thoughts over differing views of reality.

The Born-Einstein letters include Einstein sayingÖ
ďQuantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the Ďold oneí. I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice.Ē

This has been paraphrased as a simple declaration ďGod does not play dice.Ē

I have notice most of the ďdueling metaphysicsĒ revolves around the placeholder for unknown causes. †Can randomness be a cause?

To be clear, by ďrandomnessĒ I mean a result with no deterministic cause. †The individual digits of PI are not random. †A pseudo random-number generator is not random.

What about the results of a die roll?

Under pure Newtonian physics, it would not be random. †The actions and reactions might be too complex to be easily measured but if they could be, the result would be predictable (i.e. deterministic). †However, we now know reality includes Quantum Physics with its built-in uncertainty principle.

The causes behind quantum effects may forever be unknown. Does that mean we should presume these causes are random?

Should we presume they have a purpose?

This probably depends on one's definition of "purpose".

Is life and consciousness a necessary precondition for purpose?

If so, it would lead to a metaphysical presumption that somehow life is more than just a collection of material and chemicals.

If not, purpose could possibly be ascribed to the universe itself.

As for the cause of the universe, my metaphysical presumption is to believe in an endless series of cycles.

Think of a plot of tan(x) where ďxĒ is the equivalent to a concept of time (call it cosmic duration) which is outside of space-time. †The Y-axis relates to entropy and perceived time.

Think of us as being around x=0. †If we extrapolate back, we consider the universe as starting pi/2 cosmic duration ago and having increasing entropy ever since. †For pi/2 into the future see increasing entropy until everything has collapses into Black Holes which completely evaporate via Hawking Radiation.

At pi/2 the whole thing starts over again.

What ďpurposeĒ could we presume with such a universe?

Well existance is an obvious possibility.

Another purpose could be to cause the next universe to exist.

I included the words ďa discussionĒ in the title of this thread to indicate that I am not planning on engaging in a debate. †I am honestly interested in hearing what other peopleís thoughts are on these subjects. †I suspect just about everyone has a placeholder, a presumption, to make sense of things until more and better information comes along.

In the past, I would have posted these ramblings on Telic Thoughts. †However, they have become too similar to Uncommon Descent for my tastes.

I appreciate being permitted to post here, and I will try not to abuse the privilege too much.

Thanks,
Thought Provoker

YEC here. I have never had a interest in quantum mechanics and company. In fact recently I read a bit on wiki just because of a interest in the vacume of water.
I come away surprised and unimpressed with the whole thing.
It shows to me that physics is a inferior complexity to biology by far. So looking for a creator in physics as the finale answer is looking the wrong way.

Finding the finale atomic structure of the universe is just looking at raw foundations of raw elements.
Biology is where God and complexity is to be found. This is why Newton/Einstein could figure things out before blindness is solved. Its simple relatively.

Therefore there can't be any randomness in practical mechanics.
Its just the better equations have not been discovered.
God doesn't play dice but it can seem to be to people.
uts all orderly from basic presumptions.

  
oldmanintheskydidntdoit



Posts: 4999
Joined: July 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 17 2010,04:29   

Quote
Therefore there can't be any randomness in practical mechanics.

And your proof is what, precisely?

--------------
I also mentioned that He'd have to give me a thorough explanation as to *why* I must "eat human babies".
FTK

if there are even critical flaws in Gaugerís work, the evo mat narrative cannot stand
Gordon Mullings

  
Robert Byers



Posts: 160
Joined: Nov. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 19 2010,01:36   

Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Feb. 17 2010,04:29)
Quote
Therefore there can't be any randomness in practical mechanics.

And your proof is what, precisely?

The idea is that any machine has laws. Or it doesn't work as intended. So there can not be randomness in the machine of the universe save where it is a little broken or affects nothing of substance.

  
Quack



Posts: 1946
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 19 2010,04:19   

The universe is not a machine. Are you a machine? Is your behavior 100'% predictable, with no random components? All your posting here at AtBC is machine-like, you are machine that have to keep on posting nonsense?  Ever heard of the butterfly effect? Quantum Mechanics?

--------------
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself ‚ÄĒ and you are the easiest person to fool.
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†         Richard Feynman

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 19 2010,06:23   

Quote (Quack @ Feb. 19 2010,05:19)
The universe is not a machine. Are you a machine?

I happen to be a 28 ton Walsh OBI press. But that's just me.



--------------
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

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 19 2010,06:31   

From my days of youthful dissipation:



--------------
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

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,05:33   

Gaaak! I missed this thread? I'm only gone for a few months/yearish and you get this discussion? And no one calls me? I must apologize in advance. I read this post and it is shameful that I am about to ckick submit rather than edit but I'm afraid I cannot improve it until I first improve myself, which I am about to do.

I yearn for meaningless discussion involving math which I am utterly unable to put to any good use and philosophy which cares not for the present but dreams only of a glorious future when the universal mind-meld begins. And all this time Louis and Reciprocating Bill and Doc Bill and these other beer drinking louts were scoffing at the boon which fortune dropped in their laps.

Children of too much privilege says I.

Now...

Let me pull myself together and ... no. That won't work. Forgive me I'm still sipping the steam from above my first pot of coffee so you will just have to take me as I am.

Now, I can see you two Thought Provoker and Joy, are here, sent to provoke my thoughts and bring me Joy. Else why would you have such names? See. It cannot be denied.

As I mentioned in the other thread on Freewill, even Dennett's reductionist materialism allows that if the degrees of freedom exceed the potential options then will can be no freer.

I do think that lacking the main arguments from "Freedom Evolves' and most thought provokingly and even joyfully, the method Hofstadter outlines in his magnum opus, "Godel, Escher Bach, an Eternal Golden Braid" you two may feel slightly confused as this discussion begins to plumb the empty recesses of the broadest metaphysical questions (which I do believe hold a wonderful key if we can but penetrate their depths). So I recommend you at least go right straight out and buy "Freedom Evolves" at least and digest as much as possible as we go through the fundamental structure of our foreground. I thought to suggest you run out and get GEB too but that is a commitment which is far more serious than I could ask of you two whom I hardly even know yet. I can tell that I like you both however. I hope the feeling becomes mutual.

I really should go take a shower right now but I'll see if I can't take an hour or so later and try to synthesize a suitable question from the several threads to fashion into an artistic whole and lay before you as an offering to the mystery that is life and the pastime that is intellectual exploration.

Please do make a note when you have gotten well into DSennett. The first 50 pages are, sadly, a little slow. But for people who devour Penrose, perhaps Dennett will be remedial . I know you will love the book.

I assume you really can do the twistor math? Alas, I cannot. I can write the equations but I cannot then solve them with any suitable level of confidence. Perhaps I can find another helper if we need one.

It is possible, indeed, in my experience even likely, that we will never need scour our top desk drawers for a pen or a scientific calculator. However, if need be, I have a link which may help us avoid the tedious chore of trying, without an instructor to check my work, to decide whether we have a solution .

Forgive me if I presume to much. It is my own shortcomings over which I fret. At any rate, here is a link to a site with several useful simulators:

http://phet.colorado.edu/index.php

Professors take note! These are almost like a wet dream. I could indeed orgasm from simply watching them if I but had a tiny bit of slightly rhythmic help from some outside source.

The link you will follow for intellectually carnal ecstasy is here:

http://phet.colorado.edu/simulations/index.php

Now that we have tiny genii to manipulate our numbers, and sufficient reading material to stimulate our pituitary regimen, maybe I need to allow you a moment alone with those simulations. I am off to shower of my body so that I can begin this odyssey with a clean mind and clean skin. I will also drive to work between now and the time I return here so those who have not yet started Freedom Evolves will have some time to prepare. Also those that may need a wash after playing with the toys above will have a chance.


Until then, Adieu.

--------------
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. 22 2010,05:41   

Quote (Robert Byers @ Feb. 18 2010,23:36)
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Feb. 17 2010,04:29)
Quote
Therefore there can't be any randomness in practical mechanics.

And your proof is what, precisely?

The idea is that any machine has laws. Or it doesn't work as intended. So there can not be randomness in the machine of the universe save where it is a little broken or affects nothing of substance.

You sorry sad man. Your claim is inaccurate and I can tell by the conviction in the syntax that you are unlikely to ever challenge your own thinking. As Lord Russell once remarked,

If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather then by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based on faith, you will realize that argument is useless and will therefore result to force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young in what is called education.

But such are the fickle vagaries of fate. By all means good sir, I am wrong often enough that this could indeed be such a time. If I am, I will offer my most sincere apology, I promise. However, If I am wrong, you are unlikely to take offense so that leaves me in a sticky spot. But no matter. I am off to shower so it will soon be the plumbing's problem rather than mine.

Till later dear friends.

--------------
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. 22 2010,14:59   

Hi BWE,

I'm glad you like the thread I started.

No, I can't really do the twistor math. †I can barely understand it but I am trying.

I looked at Wikipedia's summary of Freedom Evolves the first time you recommended it.

My differences with Dennett would probably be mostly semantics.

I look at the universe similar to a 4D space-time fractal. †While I think of it as non-changing that doesn't make practical sense because we perceive it as changing with respect to time.

So is our future pre-determined?

I suggest yes and no. †It isn't deterministic because the future is more than unknown, it is unknowable. †Not even a Laplacian Demon can know the resolution of qubits in superposition since quanglement occurs across time (including from the future) as well as space.

As to the subject of this thread...

I say there is no such thing as true randomness and the only possible "purpose" is keeping the universe consistent with its 4D space-time fractal wavefunction.

As to the question of Free Will...

A question I often ask in religious discussions is "How does an omniscient and timeless God make a decision?" †How can God decide to not do what he already decided to do?

With Quantum Consciousness decisions are in superposition until Orchestrated Object Reduction (Orch-OR) occurs.

This makes our decisions non-deterministic, yet non-random.

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,15:38   

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 14 2010,12:50)
Hi qetzal,
 
Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 14 2010,13:47)
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,19:47)
It was my intent to suggest the first statement (purpose requires living consciousness) would lead to a presumption living consciousness is something special.

It would be a logical default position, IMO.


Special? I wouldn't say that. All it means is that living consciousness is essential for purpose. (And from my perspective, that's really just a matter of definition anyway.)

It wouldn't imply that living consciousness is somehow 'special' as far as the universe or a hypothetical god is concerned, if that's what you're suggesting.

It probably comes down to semantics and stating the obvious. †If consciousness is required for intent then consciousness is a special quality because it is required for something to have intent.

I did not mean in-the-image-of-God type special.

To reiterate, I believe many living things are conscious.

Monkeys, cat, dogs, etc demonstrate an ability to have intent, IMO.

I would suggest most people would agree rust does not have intent whereas humans do.

Where is the threshold between the two extremes?

Viruses?

Bacteria?

Ants?

Dogs?

Or is the ability to have intent reserved exclusively for humans and, maybe, close relatives e.g. monkeys?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050825071502.htm

http://journals.lww.com/neurore.....2.aspx

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617131400.htm

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0603780103

Hello. was on a bit of a rampag over the weekend. Apologies if I made no sense. I really hardly ever do so I shouldn't let myself be embarassed when the degree fluctuates some, but nonetheless, if it seemed like I was making dada poetry that is not the case. I've been on (and still am for half of this week) a ridiculous deadline schedule and my sleep has suffered. I am also away from home till thursday so I require a certain level of inebriation to dull the ache of missing my wife and our offspring (when they are around which some of them were this weekend).

That is unashamedly an excuse btw. It's for me as much as for you. Also, it may continue until thursday or so between the hours of 5pm  pst and an hour or two after I wake up in the morning, usually that is around 7 am pst by the time I can find the shift key and use capital letters etc. so perhaps it's a heads up too.

Anyway, now that I've apologized in advance and am pre-forgiven for the sins that will follow, these links are all related to consciousness/awareness. I personally use the word 'awareness' to denote anything that can make a choice within it's environment. That leaves viruses in a dicey position but that's their problem and they don't seem to mind. I use the word 'consciousness to specifically refer to the role the brain plays in the decision process. That means things with brains are conscious by that definition. Then I use the word 'self-symbol' or self-aware' to refer to a sliding scale measuring computational power of the brain with the final piece, the "I" being reached when a conscious entity manages to model enough of its world to see the functioning of the group as a unit and also manages to model the success of the group after the failure of the individual. the I stands (to me) for the third letter in the second word of the phrase, "Holy shit! We're all gonna die!"

I just find it's easier to break up the elements a bit so we can better recognize the roles each play in the crazy thing we call self-awareness.Do you know that you actually don't see the world around with your eyes in an area much bigger than a single card from a deck at any one time? It's true and I can prove it to you. But before I do, the reason you feel like you have a wide field of vision is twofold. First, strangely enough, we expect it to be there and every time we look it is. Seems too simple but experiment continually verifies this astonishing fact. I could give you references, but I think once you try the card trick, you won't need to read about it so much. Second, did you know that we reorder events in our brains, no matter how hard we think we are paying attention, into the most logical (easiest to fit to known symbols) sequence of cause and effect despite the events actually happening in a different sequence as measured by instruments? What's more, in many cases we are simply incapable of doing otherwise? Human brains, for example, are incapable of coordinating with the visual systems well enough to resolve a barber's pole without actually walking around it? And if we look away for some amount of time, we have to do it again?

Forward modeling is what neuroscientists call it. And it is some strange business. I think I posted the link yesterday to the optical illusions article? If not, here it is again:

http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/080602-foresee-future.html

Reading through these threads, I see that you have louis, Reciprocating Bill, Doc Bill, Albitrossity and others (apologies were already given above to those I forgot) helping you out. I don't think I've ever come across a more well rounded individual than these guys put together. It is good fortune to have them to discuss a topic with. I hope you know that you are very lucky for the chance.

Ok, so there's a whole bunch of links I posted up there. The point I hope they make as a group is that the real question first and foremost involves the modeling of time, remembering patterns and beneficial pro/re-actions when they occur. Whether they store memories of patterns and beneficial counter patterns quickly, as a brain does, or very slowly through the evolution of the genome and the expression of instinct, it is quite our-resolution-centric to say that intelligence or awareness needs a mind like ours. Do you know very much about the field of heuristics? Think, "change in allele frequency over time."

Many many systems are able to record states and to repeat them when the conditions are right. However, if we want human self aware style AI, the electronic brain will likely be a bit player in the system. Brooks' subsumption architecture turns out to work.

Penrose raises some brilliant questions about recursive levels which are basically unimportant to the mechanical operation of the syste, While QM, QFT, QCD and probably OCD all obviously contribute to the behavior of atoms. Atoms behave like atoms. Have you ever seen a high opower tunneling microscope's picture of a pentacene molecule? Here it is:



This is an extraordinarily recent technical development to be able to take that picture.  Before we ever took the picture, we had to deduce it's shape and properties from a system that louis explains better than I. So, would you expect the atom's structure to be close to what we expected or not close? That question relates to how deep we go into a system to find building blocks. I dare you to try to use quarks and leptons, twistors, misters Feynman's diagrams, and shrodinger's dogs, or equations Spandrels or spaniels and try to arrive at that structure.

Actually, it may be easy. I know I can't do it. Louis again, might be able to share some insight. But if you use those smaller structures and equations to model their behavior, you will start to fail as you try to add them together. If, however, you begin with the periodic table*

* BTW, next summer support me in my covert and devious scheme to pressure a friend of mine** at the ~federal dept of education*** to help us put together a plan and get periodic tables in every classroom in america., Displayed creatively in floor insets table top laminates, posters, Small 11x17 poster with rock stars printed on them and places to stash weed on the back so kids will take them home and hang them up.**** I am quite serious about that. I have been doing a little doodling for ideas to get it done in portland and Barb is director of science something or other now. It's a chance to hit up nice people to join me in a zany escapade and it is critical for education. If kids got out of middle school understanding only the logic of the table and of reactivity and the structure and functioning of cells, organisms and ecosystems with nearly no details at all, they'd sail through the high school courses and never know that barbie says science is hard.

Anyway, all that and I forgot my point and I need to go back to work. Perhaps it's in that wall of text. Fortunately, my apologies have already been made.

See you this evening who manage to stay with it till the sun goes down-or up. Depends where you are I guess. Bye.

**and probably some of yours too
I'll tell you more over the summer. I

*** I always forget her agency and title but she is in the right spot to help.

****Special apology to all the parents with teenagers out there.

--------------
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. 22 2010,15:42   

Quote (Joy @ Feb. 15 2010,15:14)
Can't software on a computer do that? i.e. Big Blue, gambling, investment 'strategizers' and such? In which case, is the software conscious? The computer that runs it?

damn. Without an agent there is no system to react to. Brooks was right:

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/cogarch3/Brooks/Brooks.html
Awareness is not a phenomenon isolated to the region between our ears. Nor does that area participate in very much decision making in the day to day. Damn I have to go. Will someone please explain the card trick? Hold it out, no peaking and etc,...

Also google, "The Bayesian Brain"

Bye for real this time.

--------------
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. 22 2010,15:43   

Quote (Joy @ Feb. 15 2010,15:14)
Can't software on a computer do that? i.e. Big Blue, gambling, investment 'strategizers' and such? In which case, is the software conscious? The computer that runs it?

This is actually clearly answered in dennett's consciousness explained. Damn.

Now I have to speed. Bye.

--------------
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: Feb. 22 2010,15:44   

I see consciousness as a continuum.  Even plants exhibit a level of consciousness when they orient their leaves toward the sun. You could certainly say they do it for a purpose.  It is also a learned behavior, if you take evolution and selection as establishing a type of memory.  Purely mechanical response, you say?  Maybe so, but where is the line to be drawn?

--------------
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: Feb. 22 2010,17:33   

Quote (sledgehammer @ Feb. 22 2010,13:44)
I see consciousness as a continuum. †Even plants exhibit a level of consciousness when they orient their leaves toward the sun. You could certainly say they do it for a purpose. †It is also a learned behavior, if you take evolution and selection as establishing a type of memory. †Purely mechanical response, you say? †Maybe so, but where is the line to be drawn?

I write a lot irl. I have to make lots of drafts.

http://www.bcs.rochester.edu/people....S04.pdf

This is one of the coolest things in terms of a real, testable model. It's a Bayesian approach to modeling neural systems.

Quote
The Bayesian brain: the role of
uncertainty in neural coding and
computation
David C. Knill and Alexandre Pouget


Also, to demonstrate that you actually can't see shit, try this experiment. You will need a deck of cards.

sit straight backed in a chair with the deck face down on the table beside and a little behind you so you can't see it. First, extend both arms to their full length directly in front of you and focus your eyes on them. Keeping your eyes on them (you may need an assistant to help keep you from cheating) reach with one hand and pick up a card, holding it face towards you but keeping you gaze on the other hand still in front of you. This is more difficult that it sounds. Slowly, with arm extended (the hand holding the card) bring it around toward the other hand. Note when you can tell if it is a face card or not. Then note when you can tell what color it is, then note when you can tell what card it is. If you do not cheat and move, your yes you will pretty much be holding it in both hands before you can tell the card.

What we call consciousness isn't as much as we'd like to think.

One of the reasons I like the different words for different aspects or manifestations of systems that make choices. Thermostats are almost aware...

--------------
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

   
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,17:59   

Quote
Maybe so, but where is the line to be drawn?

What line? :)

Henry

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,18:06   

Hmmm. Maybe I should edit one up tonight. Is there even the glimmer of coherency in one of those posts I made?

--------------
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

   
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,18:21   

Quote (BWE @ Feb. 22 2010,18:06)
Hmmm. Maybe I should edit one up tonight. Is there even the glimmer of coherency in one of those posts I made?

Yes, this one.

--------------
"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

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,18:34   

Quote (Richardthughes @ Feb. 22 2010,16:21)
Quote (BWE @ Feb. 22 2010,18:06)
Hmmm. Maybe I should edit one up tonight. Is there even the glimmer of coherency in one of those posts I made?

Yes, this one.

I'll try to have that done tonight.

--------------
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

   
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,18:38   

Quote
It is also a learned behavior, if you take evolution and selection as establishing a type of memory.


Not just a type of memory - it looks somewhat analogous to a neural network, with some of the properties that we associate with intelligence. (It also lacks some of those properties, though - it can't "remember" things to avoid in the future like people do.)

Henry

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,19:21   

Quote (Henry J @ Feb. 22 2010,16:38)
Quote
It is also a learned behavior, if you take evolution and selection as establishing a type of memory.


Not just a type of memory - it looks somewhat analogous to a neural network, with some of the properties that we associate with intelligence. (It also lacks some of those properties, though - it can't "remember" things to avoid in the future like people do.)

Henry

well, yes it does in a way. What is the context for that quote?

--------------
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

   
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,19:56   

The quote came from a post about 6 replies above it: sledgehammer, posted 2/22/10 2:44 PM.

Henry

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,19:58   

ahhh, Got it. n/m

--------------
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

   
tsig



Posts: 339
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,20:42   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 19 2010,06:23)
Quote (Quack @ Feb. 19 2010,05:19)
The universe is not a machine. Are you a machine?

I happen to be a 28 ton Walsh OBI press. But that's just me.


Wow! You look just like your mother!

  
tsig



Posts: 339
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,21:00   

Quote (BWE @ Feb. 22 2010,19:58)
ahhh, Got it. n/m

Whenever I see someone use the word "quantum" as in "quantum consciousness" I write off the rest of their statements as pure BS because I'm sure they don't understand quantum theory let alone how it might apply to consciousness.

It's an attempt to be "sciencey" but all it shows is that you haven't got a clue.

  
sledgehammer



Posts: 533
Joined: Sep. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 22 2010,23:15   

Quote (Henry J @ Feb. 22 2010,16:38)
Quote
It is also a learned behavior, if you take evolution and selection as establishing a type of memory.


Not just a type of memory - it looks somewhat analogous to a neural network, with some of the properties that we associate with intelligence. (It also lacks some of those properties, though - it can't "remember" things to avoid in the future like some people do.)

Henry

Fixed that for you.
But yes, that does tie in with your previous comment:
Quote
I wonder if consciousness could be defined as an ability to predict (i.e., compute) likelihood of possible future events (perhaps outcomes of different possible actions), based on data acquired from previous sensory inputs?

Henry

which I don't necessarily disagree with, but it might set the bar too high. †e.g. It might deny consciousness to ants but allow it for Gil's checkers program.

--------------
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: Feb. 22 2010,23:49   

sounds more like a definition of intelligence to me.

--------------
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. 23 2010,03:01   

Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 15 2010,15:25)
†  
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 15 2010,15:25)
So, do you presume consciousness (the ability to have intent) is algorithmic or not?

Algorithmic, I suspect. However, I'm not sure I adequately understand everything that might be implied by the term 'algorithmic.'
Algorithmic is one of those words that seems like it's bigger than it is. It means procedural where the procedures are based on an axiomatic system. All modeling is algorithmic..

†  
Quote
So, to answer another way, I think it will some day be possible for humans to create 'from scratch' entities that have consciousness and intent that are not fundamentally distinguishable from the consciousness and intent that humans or other animals possess now.
I suspect it will be this decade. In the last 4 years the science supporting the effort has grown to essentially rewrite every single thing relating to the field before 2005. (some of the changes just involve details in smaller areas that were unknown before.) Embodied Intelligence turned out to be the key. Brooks subsumption architecture was a true paradigm shift.

†  
Quote
Even if consciousness and intent arise from quantum effects in some 'special' way, and even if that means they are non-algorithmic, I still expect that they are properties that arise automatically from certain arrangements of matter and energy. If you create the appropriate arrangement of matter and energy de novo, I expect it will be conscious and have intent.


Schrodinger's equations are deterministic. Penrose makes some really interesting speculation and without question, he's one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists/mathematicians alive today. However, he is truly in an impenetrable universe to the rest of us*. He will have to teach the math he is inventing before anyone can make heads or tails of it. Also, his consciousness theory is great but it doesn't mean anything to us yet because usefulness is the only measure of a theory that exists epistemologically because we have to observe to know. 'Truth' does not apply to a model -to any model- except within a larger mathematical model as a 'proof or solution to an equation. The truth of a model lies only in it's predictive capacity. Even relativity is not isomorphic 1:1. It's damn close but not perfect. And as soon as you introduce the problem of measurement which all physical continuums are subject to, you've just broken the isomorphism with the mathematical continuum.

I'm about to go a bit off the rails again here so consider yourself warned. :) Maybe preface all my assertions with a note of speculatory caution.

Penrose commits a sophomoric fallacy of trying to find the truth of his internal representation system, 'out there'. He's looking for the isomorphic points between his ideas about things and the things themselves, and he's trying to drill down till he nails a 1:1. For every non empty bin of 'out there' he's making an axiom of choice for 'in here' that there can be a bin with one member from each bin out there. He's added a homunculus but dressed him in nicer clothes. The axiom of choice itself has come bizarre complications but it's essential to pretty much all set theory.

Before anyone gets all high and mighty or defensive and sullen, Dennet makes the same mistake but in reverse with his heterophenomenology. He systematically proves that imaginations are just a real time process of a machine which have no 'place' or separate emergent rule sets by asking each observer to collect the bits of observations and model the time for themselves rather than accept that the observed is doing it. He pays lip service to the reverence and awe of science rather than communicating it. I tend to think he really is small minded in terms of being ultimately reductionist in all things (and not just appearing to be small minded in that manner.) He is Quine's star pupil after all.

Religion made a lot of people gun shy over that one though so it is easier or more convenient to add the caveat that people who want to talk about Cartesian dualism need to take the little bus because they are annoying and ignorant of what their own idea is. Maybe it weighs 23 grams. ;)

Just because religion is failed science though, doesn't mean that materialist reductionism has any more truth value. In fact, by accepting semi-arbitrary truths such as either of those, we limit our ability to see what wee don't expect.

The conversation tends to boil down to one person who either wants a transcendental soul** and is not negotiating, or someone who has taken a purely reductionist position and too is not negotiating. Atheism and theism both in my book are attempts to shrink the universe to a manageable size by declaring the accounting systems of modeling to be truths of 'out there'.

These are the truths of people who confuse hypothesis with method. Hypothesis comes from identifying potential symbolic units (pattern recognition basically), while the empirical method (descended to us in the common fashion :) †via Francis Bacon) is a tool for examining the details of the pattern to make sure that you git it right or close to right. The method itself is a foil to wishful thinking.

The flip side of that requires us (if we are interested in being consistent with logic anyway) to not just admit but to explicitly state as an axiom of knowledge even that since we lack evidence that our senses, including extensions using instruments, measure all that is sensible by any means, it is unwarranted to limit our universe to what is known or what is imagined.

Either a materialist/reductionist/atheistic viewpoint or a theistic viewpoint is a statement about a truth that can't be demonstrated. Sad if we hoped for some kind of certainty I guess. Those kinds of truths are simply bigger questions than our methods equip us to address. We do, however, have methods to test hypotheses we make about systems which we can sense, even through extension by instruments. Those systems we can model and some hypotheses turn out false if we stay honest to the system. This is the fundemental discovery of modern man, that even if Godel's theorems define the limits our our ability to transcend, our method of hypothesis checking is level independent and can transcend all the way to the limits of our ability to detect patterns within which we can form hypotheses. Science is making our universes actually bigger. That's pretty profound to me

The method does have human judgment calls as we implement it certainly. But those are on an individual and personal basis rather than a systemic feature of the method itself. The epistemological issue is confounded in the attempt to categorize by the data we collect outside and the data we collect inside which are our thoughts. We have a hard time separating them yet they are of a slightly different nature and the scientific method is the best way we have to help us separate the two whether we need to be aware of the distinction or not.


†  
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I assume there is nothing 'magic' about consciousness.
The scientific method left that word with no utility. If forces can act within our universe, they can be modeled and they are not magic. They are physics. There is certainly something nice about consciousness. :)

†  
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It doesn't require some sort of soul bestowed by a deity. The mind is what the brain does, and all that.
even that places the absolute on the assumption about the way we model the universe. Not that it's wrong, it is the best information available to us today. There is no value as to possible future changes to the understanding. Predictive capacity is the absolutely only metric by which we can judge a model.

Science will never open the door back old religions because they are just outdated sciences. They have been replaced in the minds of nearly every person who attended high school with the rules that actually predict things. The problem is science didn't replace the rules that helped us live forever and that's been a sticking point ever since.

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I'm not absolutely committed to any of that, though, because we simply don't understand mind or consciousness very well. If someone could present strong evidence in favor of mind-body duality, for example, I'd be willing to reconsider.
I can. But it doesn't help. It boils back down to monism pretty quick. And there is a reason and the reason is weird. Think about this, your mind is the only thing in the universe that experiences time. With no past and no future, all the rest of the universe never knows when it's state has changed. Only those with a memory and forward modeling capacity can be aware that time is a dynamic element.



* as too is Carlo Rovelli's quantum loop gravity. Penrose can't analyze rovelli's math yet and Rovelli can't analyze Penrose's yet either. I can't help thinking that some kind of limit is being reached to matrix calculus' potential.

Link to Rovelli's big WTF? paper here (it uses the word simple right up front. It might be the biggest mathematical discovery in physics. But until somebody can figure out what the math is doing, we can only look at and go, "wow. Do you ever look at your hand? I mean, really look?" Some people may get more than others but The UC Berkley math team that Rovelli brought on board basically just said, we think it might work. The computers can definitely process the equations and spit it out graphs of sorts that happen to look like good answers.....
...and some of Lee Smolin's attempts to break it into manageable chunks here:
http://aps.arxiv.org/find/hep-th/1/au:+Smolin_L/0/1/0/all/0/1
...Look for his matrices with quantum loop gravity written in the paper near them.

** (without a hope of making any sense of the word... transcend what exactly? And too, what transcends? -the answer to the latter can only be the self symbol set I think.)

*** I think I just wrote a book here. I anxiously await the inevitable barrage of thoughtful answers that will doubtless follow this post when I return.

**** More asterisks. Just because I have the freewill to do it. :)

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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: Feb. 23 2010,09:31   

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which I don't necessarily disagree with, but it might set the bar too high.  e.g. It might deny consciousness to ants but allow it for Gil's checkers program.


I wonder what Gil's checker program would do if its opponent made an illegal move.

I assume the program "won't allow" an illegal input, but of course, that's not the way the world at large works.

Both evolution and learning deal with unforeseeable events.

Suppose there were a meta-rule, that under certain narrowly defined conditions, an illegal move becomes legal. Would Gil's program find the meta-rule?

That's pretty much what evolution does, and what brains do.

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

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3654
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 23 2010,10:02   

I'd like to throw something in the pot, if I may.  

In physics (way back when) we were taught about something that was called 'short infinity' or 'effective infinity'.  Basically, when you were measuring the effect of photons on a detector, then anything that was a 'good distance away' was 'effectively infinitly' far away.

So if you need to assume that the photons are travelling parallel to each other, then move your light source ten meters away and the photons hitting the detector will be effectively travelling an infinite distance and thus be parallel.

I think we have something like this in our universe.  We have 'effectively random'.  Is there something that is truly random?  Who knows?  But if there is no discerible pattern that we or our much more sensitive instruments and computers can detect, then it is effectively random and good enough for our purposes.

Is atmospheric noise truly random or is it determinable?  Theoritically, you could make a case for it being determinable.  However, you would have to know the starting position of every particle, field, energy state, etc. and be able to calculate with infinite precision every interaction and do so in near real time.  You'd need a computer... well... as big as the universe to do so.

Humans, are very, very good at spotting patterns, even in sometimes (otherwise) meaningless data.  We're so good at it, we often spot patterns that aren't there.  Which is why, when doing things like science, it is best to take humans out of the picture... even in the analysis.  We want to believe.*

Similarly, what is the 'purpose'?  Read Manifold: Space by Baxter.  His book suggests that evolution applies to the metaverse as well and our universe is merely one in a population of evolving universes whose purpose is to (of course) breed more universes.  Those universes that have certain characters (ability to form black holes) have more baby universes.  Intelligent life, eventually develops the ability to generate black holes, so a universe that is suitable for life has many, many more baby universes than others.  (It'd be like if bacteria had the ability to cause mammals to produce offspring.)

Anyway, the point is that there very well may be a purpose in the purely deterministic universe.  However, there is almost no way for a simple human mind to figure out either (the determinability or the purpose).

Of course, that and $4.50 will get you a latte.


* With respect to Chris Carter.

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Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
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