Re: MD A bit of reasoning

From: David Morey (
Date: Tue Oct 19 2004 - 19:21:34 BST

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    the whole cosmos is perhaps a selection from the more infinite
    on the basis of value, this selection is a tricky business though,
    we get both the beautiful and the cruel, can we finally
    produce something that makes the suffering worthwhile,
    is it a cosmic art form, is art worth it? Is mankind the super-artist
    or a disappointment?


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Scott Roberts" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 3:54 AM
    Subject: Re: MD A bit of reasoning

    > Ian, Mark,
    >> Turing test was coined c. 60 years ago to try to get people to think
    >> about the problem of thinking machines. I think we have to think a
    >> little more specifically now, like can they understand the halting
    >> problem and how do we test for this.
    > "Understand" is the deadly word here. A calculator can add 2 + 3, but does
    > it understand it? If all that happens is at the end a logic switch goes on
    > if the answer is "yes" or off if "no", can we say there has been
    > understanding?
    > This is an unresolvable issue. The Dennett-like materialist will call it
    > understanding, the Chalmers-like critic (and I) will not.
    >> AI was and perhaps still is very naive in its assuptions of what it
    >> takes to produce thought. At first, imbued as we were by the classics,
    >> all we thought was that it took a little bit of image processing,
    >> language parsing, logic and hey bingo! I don't know how long ago Scott
    >> gave up on AI, but certainly stuff like genetic algorithms and neural
    >> nets offer some form of insight into how how random variations turn into
    >> adaptive features and how feedback mechanisms with relatively simple
    >> linkage rules can start to provide meaningful output presented with
    >> complex patterns.
    > All that is true, but a neural net adds nothing against my argument if it
    > is a spatiotemporal mechanism. I trust you have noticed that my argument
    > also works against the brain being conscious if the brain is considered to
    > be a spatiotemporal mechanism.
    >> Adding complexity to a system can have a very great effect. It can
    >> cancel out dominant effects and bring to the fore hitherto unobserved
    >> variations.
    > But can it be aware of time passing? That is really my argument at its
    > simplest. To be aware of time passing we must in some sense be outside of
    > time.
    >> The argument that "if the only channel from one electron to another is
    >> assumed to be a photon, then there can be no gestalt bigger than one
    >> electron absorbing or emitting one photon" is plain silly. Electrons
    >> tend to occur in probability patterns determined by their surroundings.
    >> If the physical juxtaposition of molecules has something to do with
    >> memory, this will affect the response of the electrons. One transistor
    >> produces a switch, two transitors produce an oscillator.
    > What makes a gestalt out of the electrons in a pattern, that is, what can
    > detect the pattern *as* a pattern?
    > What turns an oscillation into a continuously heard tone? Something has
    > to
    > be continuous through the oscillation. If not, there is no connection
    > between one wave crest/trough and the next, and no tone is heard. One
    > oscillator can cause a resonance in another, but that only pushes the
    > problem to the next oscillator.
    >> Space and time exist in my dreams because evolution has been hammering
    >> to get something to correspond to physical associations into my thick
    >> skulled mammalian and previous ancestors for millions of years. Either
    >> it worked or we have been incredibly lucky at roulette.
    > I'm not asking why space and time exist in dreams, I am pointing out that
    > they do exist, yet that space and time is not the space and time in which
    > somebody watching you sleep is operating. The point being that it can make
    > sense that our perception creates the spacetime structure of what we
    > perceive, just as our perception adds color, taste, smell, sound, and
    > touch. One nice thing in addition is that it provides a simple
    > interpretation of quantum physics. Assume that non-locality is the norm,
    > and it is our perception that produces a spacetime projection. Hence we
    > have wave/particle duality, since what is "really going on" is more
    > complex
    > than can fit into a spacetime view (one can say it is perception that
    > turns
    > a wave-like whatever into spatiotemporal particles). And the uncertainty
    > principle is just the fact that at the Planck limit spacetime is no longer
    > applicable. (Note that this is slightly different from the "consciousness
    > collapses the state vector" interpretation, in that no collapse is
    > assumed.
    > It would be more like a selection based on value.)
    > - Scott
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