RE: MD A bit of reasoning

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Sun Oct 17 2004 - 03:20:42 BST

  • Next message: Scott Roberts: "Re: MD On Faith - Improbability ?"

    Hi Scott, Jim, Platt, and anyone else along for the ride,

    Scott, I now understand what you mean about Intellect, Consciousness,
    Quality, etc, being different aspects of the same (non)-thing, sort
    of like Desire and Jealousy could be aspects of Love. And thanks for
    the Avery recommendation.

    I do have a comment re your rejection of the materialistic theory of
    consciousness (see below). Personally, I'm on the fence about this
    because I think that, so far, science has not managed to to come up
    with a configuration of matter that produces anything close to self-
    awareness. However, if AI scientists do, in time, produce computers
    (or more likely thousand or millions of computers running in
    parallel) that are able to demonstrate truly heuristic decision-
    making, not just super-sophisticated logic-tree or algorithmic type
    processing, this would probably convince me that consciousness can
    emerge from matter, especially if such a machine passed a rigorous
    Turing test with colors flying.

    My questions to you, and anyone else who wants to answer are: Would
    this scientific development convince you that awareness is
    fundamentally materialistic? If not, is there any scientific or
    rational development that would? If not, would you then agree that
    your continued belief in the non-material nature of consciousness is

    Now, my one comment on Scott's reasoning for rejecting the
    materialistic theory of awareness...

    On 15 Oct 2004 at 17:06, Scott Roberts wrote:
    My reasoning on rejecting a materialist theory of consciousness is,
    briefly, that we are aware of big things, but materialism supposes
    that awareness comes about by the brain putting together a lot of
    little things (like photons or molecules). This is, in my view,
    impossible, since each little thing is separated in space and/or time
    from each other little thing. Since the brain is also composed of
    little things, there could be no awareness of anything bigger than
    the little things.

    msh comments:
    I think a nuerobiologist would say that a human brain and nervous
    system is considerably more than a mass of "little things" out of
    spatial and temporal contact with one another, or with the outside
    world. Jim might want to correct me on this, but my impression is
    that science regards the brain as an incredibly complex system of
    billions of nuerons and synapses that have evolved over billions of
    years to work together to provide, so far, unmatched parallel
    processing power.

    Best to all,
    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)
    InfoPro Consulting - The Professional Information Processors
    Custom Software Solutions for Windows, PDAs, and the Web Since 1983
    Web Site:

    "Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is
    everything." -- Henri Poincare'

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