Stathis, allow me to barge in before Craig. I am glad you ask - * the wrong question*, I am not FOR the brain to think, it is a tool working in the process we did not so far deciphered. (That's exactly MY agnosticism). So we are talking about tools, be it 'chemistry' (an explanational figment of conventional sciences for pheomena so far only partially learned, but "scientificall" explained (almost!) into atomic etc. theories and math), - or 'electronic' devises we construct with capabilities to do exactly what we expect from them to do.
Maybe the IBM Synapse can do at least as well as we get the results from 'brainwork'. I would not assign 'creativity' to chemistry (what I practiced and learned) only 'applications'. There is one item that startles me in this respect: Robert Rosen's (Mihai Nadin's) initial work on *Anticipatory Systems *where anticipation is an unprecedented 'barging-in' beyond the given circumstances (allegedly). I am willing to go as far as a "slight shaving" beyond the borders of our known limitations - into the 'right-or-wrong' unknowable to be checked (better: verified) later on. * *We see abundant bad anticipation in economic. genetic and political etc. assumptions to make us careful in anticipation. If so many anticipation goes wrong, the conventional "foretelling" has to be taken with a spoon-full of scrutiny. A question in your profession: would you vouch for our present knowledge to have deciphered all that is to *mentality* by the so far discovered * brain-organ's* functional data? (And I want to be restricted here to *physical *measurements/data only). -------------------------------- You asked a question: *"As a chemist, have you seen any special magic in chemical reactions that might explain the brain's ability to think?"* * * No, but I have encountered *questions* about 1. what does it mean "to think" (and all its cousins) 2. how is the 'hard problem' answerable? (transition from milliamps etc. to ideas) 3. what mechanism (if...) is stronger than the neuronal brain to decide e.g. self destruct? 4. has 'creativity' the same meaning in our vocabularies? 5 - 1000 I save those. Regards John * * * * On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 8:13 AM, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com>wrote: > On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 11:36 AM, John Mikes <jami...@gmail.com> wrote: > > Craig, > > you know more about the 'IBM-Synapse' achievement than myself (easy: I > know > > nothing, did not even thopughtfully decipher the article in all its > > details). > > I would ask IBM (they may not reply of course) if their machine (chip?) > can > > solve ANY technical problem barred by unsurmountable difficulties to a - > not > > only reasonable - but to a BETTER result than expected? > > An examp[le from my past (and this is not boasting, it is an example how > > human creativity could win over the "power of poverty". > > In Commi Hungary the pharmceutical researchers wnted ion exchange resins > for > > a process to extract streptomycin from its broth. They did not have the > > foreign currency to buy it, so they came to me (project Ion Exchange in > the > > polymer Research Inst.) to make such for them. I needed the cross-linking > > agent (di-vinyl-benzene) to make the polymer and, of course I did not get > > the foreign currency for it either. So I went to the Organic Chem. pilot > > plant for styrene (Mono-vinyl-benzene) if they have some side-product I > > could use. They had a distillation residue, a dark goo and stated that it > > contains 15-25% of the stuff. Iff... > > I had no facilities to extract it, so I decided the peasant-way: put the > > entire goo into my mixture tp be polymerized and hoped that after > cleaning > > out all dirt from the resulting (cross-linked) polymer it will show > > usability. After lots of cleaning I got seemingly OK bead-polymeers, > which > > after further treatment went into strepto-testing. That's when the > Heureka > > broke out: my dirty product bound several times more of the antibiotic > than > > the World Market products. The rest was routine: reproductions, changing > > parameters and applying for the patents. Does the machine-brain go after > > such series of hurdles and evaluate what can be done? Does it stay within > > the limits and reduce the events to their applicability? > > This was one example without rules and systems, no calculations, only > > circumventing the obstacles untold. > > Why do you imply that a machine based on chemistry, i.e. the brain, > would be more creative than a machine made out of transistors or gears > and pulleys? As a chemist, have you seen any special magic in chemical > reactions that might explain the brain's ability to think? > > > -- > Stathis Papaioannou > > -- > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups > "Everything List" group. > To post to this group, send email to email@example.com. > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to > everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. > For more options, visit this group at > http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en. > > -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.