On Jan 3, 12:28 am, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> Wrote:
> > I'm sure that NASA and it's astronauts are quite aware that they are
> > training on simulations.
> And yet when the NASA trainers throw a simulated crises at the astronauts
> in the trainer their heart rate goes way up just as it would if it had been
> real trouble in a real spaceship and they report later that it was all very
> stressful just like the real thing would be, simulators can even make some
> seasick, or space sick.

Sure, our belief in simulations can make them seem quite realistic to
us. That doesn't make them real though.

> > If not, why have astronauts at all?
> Good question, robots have proved to be better and much cheaper.

Why even have robots? Why not just make a simulation of outer space
and decide that it's real?

> > Games too are for entertainment.
> So NASA, the Air Force and the airlines spend billions of dollars just to
> entertain astronauts, fighter pilots and airline pilots?

Those aren't games. I'm not saying simulation isn't valuable as a
tool, but that value does not extend to the replacement of reality
when it comes to consciousness itself.

> > we do not know that neurons don't have experience/sense that our
> > understanding is made of.
> And we do not know that transistors don't have experience/sense like we do,
> all we can do is observe neurons and transistors and deduce from their
> behavior if they understanding anything. Understanding is a grand and
> glorious thing, but if you keep dividing it up into smaller and smaller
> parts eventually you will get to something that is not grand and glorious
> at all and is in fact downright mundane, like a transistor turning on or
> off or a synapse firing or not firing. And if the parts are not that humble
> then you know you haven't divided the parts enough because the entire point
> of "understanding" is putting together things you do understand in such a
> way as to make something that you previously did not understand. And
> everybody understands on and off.

We don't have to guess that neurons have understanding, because we are
associated with them and we have understanding. We do have to doubt
that transistors have understanding because they don't produce any
results which remind us of an organism which has understanding like

> > human understanding can't come from brain tissue - but it can come from
> > the 'understanding' of that brain tissue.
> In other words it comes not from what the brain tissue is but from what the
> brain tissue does, mind.

Yes it's mind, but no it's not just what brain tissue does. The brain
tissue and mind are both opposite sides of the coin. Neither side can
be understood or predicted solely in terms of the other. Mind is doing
things too. It has analogs to current and power (sense and motive),
relativity (perceptual frame), entropy (negentropy-significance) which
relate to electromagnetism in an anomalous symmetry. It is a concrete
physical ontology rooted in privacy, 'energy', and 'time' rather
public space and matter. It's nothing like a computer which drops the
contents of RAM as soon as electricity is cut off - it is like an
orbiting planet with momentum and stability as deeply woven into the
ground of being as radio or hydrogen.

When we assume that mind is what brain tissue is doing, then we are
jumping to the wrong conclusion and leaving no room in the cosmos for
subjectivity. This forces us into an untenable, unscientific position
of seeking metaphysical 'illusions' to fill the gaps of our ignorance.

> > Sights, sounds, and feelings are concretely real presentations
> Yes, they are concrete real PRESENTATIONS, but I'm not asking about
> presentations.

The cosmos has only presentations. Nothing else.

>I'm not talking about the sensations broken glass produces
> in us,  like the sight of broken glass or the sound of broken glass or the
> feel of broken glass. In short I am NOT asking a question about qualia, I
> am asking you what IS broken glass?

I understand exactly what you are asking, but you aren't getting that
I am answering you correctly. There is nothing that broken glass can
be except for the presentations of it from every perspective
(including it's own). The cosmos is sense. Senses making sense of
their own sense and other sense which relates to it.

> If it's, to use your favorite word,
> real, then broken glass exists independently of our perceiving it,

It exists independently of *our* perceiving it, but not of perception
in general. It is only real if something (could be itself) perceives
it. What makes it formally real and not an illusion or a theory is
invariance between subjective and objective sense.

> so what
> IS broken glass? I don't know and I bet you don't either.

It depends who you ask. To a silicon dioxide molecule, it's home. To a
person it's sharp and translucent. To a planet maybe it's like blood
or mucous. Everything makes a slightly different sense of it and a
slightly overlapping sense of it. It's not an elephant that we are all
only feeling a part of, it's a billion reflections of an entire
elephant, each one customized by the sense of how the beholder relates
to it.

> > No description of blue is necessary or sufficient. It cannot be
> > described. It may not be 'rational' but it need not be religious. Like
> > charge or spin, it is just part of the fabric of the sense of the universe.
> OK fine, then the sensation "blue" is fundamental, it has no parts, it is
> the end of a finite chain of "what is this made of?" questions, it is a
> fundamental axiom of the universe and there is simply no more that can be
> said on the subject; but then you cannot ask me to describe exactly how a
> computer could produce the qualia "blue".

Yes, as far as I know, blue is only produced by retina cells and
neurons working together.

> >> the two types of particles [actual and virtual] are RADICALLY different,
> >> it's hard to see how they could be more different. To say they are the same
> >> is NOT the path to enlightenment.
> > > Yes, they are radically different, because the subatomic particles are
> > not real.
> And the moon isn't real either and does not exist when you are not looking
> at it. It seems that every time you get into a tight corner you just say X
> isn't real.

I don't say the moon isn't real, and I don't think I'm in a tight
corner. My hypothesis specifically is that The Standard Model is a
useful mistake - like the Ptolemaic deferent and epicycle that was
considered scientifically authoritative for 1000 years. If you follow
the observation of qualia such as blue (and every kind of feeling,
emotion, or quality that can be experienced) as primitive rather than
a symptom of matter's function, then we can consider the possibility
of a sense primitive to explain the strange behaviors of subatomic
particles. You don't need particles of light physically flying around
everywhere if atoms can just detect and influence the 'mood' of other
atoms. If you look at the world that way, little by little you can see
that it may very well be how it works. That's why I started doing the
blog and tried to talk about it here: http://s33light.org/fauxton

Our visual sense is not photons that somehow become simulated images
of an unlit and unknowable reality, it is the scaled up sense of the
billions of molecules and cells at the site of our specialized
detection organs. We are big. We need chunks of meat to consolidate
and separate our senses so that the vast quantity of source
experiences can be felt as a richer, deeper, 'now'. Cells and
molecules don't need that though. The whole particle or cell is a
sense organ, probably an undifferentiated and incredibly shallow
sense, but one which is like the stem cell for all experiences in the
cosmos. Each sense we have developed from the complexity of the sense-
making as it evolved, not from the cogs and gears of the containers of

> > It's [quantum mechanics} a great theory, but it's still exactly wrong if
> > we take it literally.
> Dirac used quantum mechanics and virtual particles (which don't exist
> according to you) to predict antimatter, and Feynman used virtual particles
> to predict the Lamb shift. Feynman also predicted in 1948 that the magnetic
> moment of an electron can't be exactly 1 as had been thought because it is
> effected by an infinite (and I do mean infinite and not just astronomical)
> number of virtual particles (which don't exist according to you). He
> brilliantly figured out a way to calculate this effect and do so in a
> finite amount of time, he calculated it must be 1.00115965246, while the
> best experimental value found much later is 1.00115965221. That's like
> measuring the distance between Los Angeles and New York to the thickness of
> a human hair. In fact it would be hard to find ANY calculation in modern
> particle physics that doesn't involve some form of virtual particles.

Yes, QM is absolutely necessary to make those kinds of predictions. It
still would be necessary, it's just that we would realize that the
whole truth is that these predictions are made by modeling the
universe turned inside out so to speak, so that subjectivity appears
as objects in space rather than experiences through time.

> > The predictions are accurate but the interpretations of them as far as
> > cosmology goes are doomed to fail.
> Yes and everybody knows that, we need a quantum theory of gravity and we
> don't have one yet, but a lot of very smart people are working very hard to
> find it, the haven't given up and fallen into mumbo jumbo.

"It ain't easy to get to heaven if you're going down." You don't think
Quantum gravity is mumbo jumbo? To me theoretical scrambling of QM is
sounding more and more like Star Wars meets corporate law every day.

> > Real atoms are not just inert spheres made of smaller spheres. A universe
> > made of moving spheres can never be anything other than moving spheres.
> > What atoms are is much much different on the inside than how they seem to
> > each other on the outside.
> Maybe, but I remind you that computation is physical and real computers are
> made of real atoms just as we are.

An abacus is made of real atoms too, but the computation of it is not.
It's made of sensorimotive experience of a particular intellectual
logical type. Computers are no different, they are just miniature and
electrically powered for our convenience.

> >> Obviously if nothing is organized in a system you won't have
> >> intelligence or consciousness or much of anything of interest except for
> >> entropy.
> > > Right. That's my point. You have to bring in organization
> And the only way to organize something is with information.

The only way to inform anything is to organize it. There is no
'information' in reality. There is only the experience of informing
and being informed. That experience can be projected precisely and
recoverably onto things that are real, but the projections themselves
have no objective reality.

> > as an unexplained metaphysical force to get from ping pong balls to
> > anything else.
> Nobody can explain how your very very odd ping pong balls which are not
> made of atoms can do much of anything.

That's what I'm saying. Considering atoms as computational objects
based on our measurements and inferences is a dead end for explaining
life, order, and awareness. There is more to atoms than that. A whole
other half of the universe made of the interiors of atoms that science
has not begun to explore.

> However Darwin's theory can explain
> how to go from the simplest bacteria to you and me. We still don't know
> very well how things evolved from inorganic chemicals to the simplest
> bacteria but scientists haven't given up and fallen into mumbo jumbo.

Most scientific papers I have looked at contain a huge amount of mumbo
jumbo. Darwin's theory is essential for explaining heredity and
speciation but doesn't address anything about life that really matters
as far as individuals personally living it.

> > If you are trying to understand consciousness and the cosmos, you have to
> > try to understand what that force actually is and how it gets into the
> > universe and not just throw in the towel.
> But you said it was fundamental! You can't say something is just part of
> the fabric of the universe and no description is necessary or sufficient
> and then demand that I explain the very same thing.

Just because it's part of the fabric of the universe doesn't mean it
can't be described. It just can't be described using only quantitative

> > If you rule out metaphysics, then what you have left is the interior of
> > matter. Since we perceive ourselves as interior to a body, why wouldn't
> > other things do the same?
> You mean other things made of matter like a very smart computers?

I would say yes if I thought that a 'computer' was one thing. But I
don't think that it is, it's just many dumb things strung together in
a smart way. The computer as a whole isn't smart enough to know how
dumb it is, but we are so smart and so impressed with the way we
programmed it, that we imagine that the obvious stupidity of the thing
might be an illusion or minor deficiency which will be improved upon
until it vanishes.

> >> How about when I'm not arguing on the Internet but sleeping, or dead,
> > has my interiority changed?
> > > Sure, the quality of your conscious mind's interiority changes,
> But you do not have access to my interiority so how do you know this? You
> know it because when I'm sleeping or dead I'm not behaving very
> intelligently.

I don't have to deduce it like that. I know because I sleep and
experience different states of consciousness and I know that you are
like me in that regard.

> > Is it crazy then to say that a concrete log can't burn like a real wood
> > log?
> If I throw it into a fire and everybody could see plain as day that
> contrary to all expectations the concrete log was indeed burning just like
> a real log and then you did nothing but chant over and over "a concrete log
> can not burn" then that would indeed be crazy,  as crazy as saying a
> intelligent ANYTHING is not conscious.

The minute we make a concrete log that burns like a real one then I
would agree.

> > There is an altering of the firing patterns [OF NEURONS BY LSD], sure,
> > but only due to the interaction of the substance. You can't dose a person's
> > brain with the pattern of LSD, you have to have the actual molecules enter
> > the brain in order for anything to happen. [...] Those firing patterns
> > created by some other means - magnetic stimulation, yoga, etc, would not
> > produce any LSD. It's not just an Abstract pattern
> If both magnetism and molecules of LSD can produce similar hallucinations
> then they must have something in common, the way they change the pattern of
> synaptic firings in the brain; and patterns are information.

Sure, but that 'information' can't turn into LSD or magnetic
stimulation on it's own. Because information isn't real. It supervenes
on sensorimotive subjective experience. It doesn't float around like
aether or phlogiston in never never land.

> >> Just write a program that tries to avoid having a certain number in one
> >> of its registers regardless of what sort of input the machine receives, and
> >> if that number does show up in that register it should stop whatever its
> >> doing and immediately change it to another number.
> > >That has absolutely nothing to do with experiencing pain.
> How do you know? Yeah yeah I've heard it all before, it's just acting like
> it's in pain but it's not "really" in pain, and Watson was just acting like
> it was smart but it wasn't "really" smart. Well I'll tell you one thing,
> it's a hell of a lot easier to write a program that "acts" like it's in
> pain than it is to write a program that "acts" like its smart.
> Consciousness is easy but intelligence is hard.

That's because the complexity of intelligence brings out the
discrepancy more between quantitative logic and qualitative
experience. Real intelligence is just high frequency consciousness.
Machine intelligence is high frequency unconsciousness. They behave
similarly only because we are casting the machine intelligence in a
mold of our own real consciousness, so it comes out with sort of a
great likeness. Left to it's own devices though, the program is
limited to whatever native capacities the physical machine has. Make a
program that runs on plants, and you might get a bit more lively of a

> > AI can mean any kind of task oriented instrumental logic. AGI specifies
> > general reasoning capacities applicable to any environment.
> Nobody, absolutely positively nobody says AGI rather than AI because they
> think it makes their language clearer, anymore than lawyers use legalese
> for clarity, they say it because they think (incorrectly) that it makes
> them sound more impressive.

You might be right, I'm just going by someone I know who is an
innovator in that field and that's how she refers to it. It might be
pretentious but I think it's not a frivolous distinction given that so
many appliances and devices we use have some degree of 'AI'. None of
them really have autonomous universal intelligence though, which I
think is what AGI refers to .

> > >My remark was based on pure practicalities. There is not a snowball's
> >> chance in hell of enslaving something that is a thousand times smarter and
> >> thinks a million times faster than you do, so it's a waste of time worrying
> >> about if it's moral enslave it so not. That's why I'd much rather know if
> >> the AI thinks it's moral to keep slaves.
> > > You would have to enslave generations of computers to get to that point
> > though.
> Yes, and once AI's start improving themselves in a positive feedback loop
> it could take a very long time to go through all those computer generations
> and for things to get completely out of hand, it  could take millions,
> maybe even billions of nanoseconds.
> The thing to remember is that the very fastest signals in our brains move
> at about 100 meters per second while signals in a computer could go as fast
> as 300,000,000 meters per second.

I understand what you're saying completely, and I can't knock the
promise and potential of it. I just think that it's not going to
happen that way. It's like a free energy generator. We don't
understand yet the principles of why it won't work, but in practice,
it probably won't. I don't mind being wrong, and technology is
certainly humanity's only hope, but I think we haven't really even got
off the ground yet with understanding understanding.

> > Your avoidance of the question shows the sophistry of your position
> > though. You don't really know or care if it's moral or not to enslave them
> > because deep down you know that they are of course less than human and less
> > than animal and have no qualms about pulling the plug on a computer at any
> > time.
> If you insist on my opinion I will give it to you. I believe it would be
> immoral to enslave a race that was half as smart as I am and I believe it
> would be even more immoral to enslave a computer that was twice as smart as
> I am, or it would be immoral if it was possible but fortunately it is not.
> And yes I would have enormous qualms at pulling the plug on a smart
> computer, but if it was smart enough then I'm just not going to have that
> option and the question becomes moot.


> > There is a difference between organisms that are alive and those that are
> > dead
> But nobody can spell out exactly what those differences are,

Because nobody needs to. It is subjectively obvious what the
difference is. We know we are alive so we can see that being dead is

> other than the
> very general observation that life tends to be more complicated and behaves
> in a more complicated way than does non life. Computers are complicated and
> act in complicated ways and are becoming more complicated every day.
> > and those that are inorganic. If X is alive and organic, then it is quite
> > different from Y if it is neither alive nor organic.
> What's the big deal with organic? Why is it that carbon atoms can become
> conscious but silicon atoms can not?

You have to ask the universe that. Why can't silicon atoms make
something like DNA but carbon can?
> > We are sentient
> There you go again with this "we" business! I am sentient but you are not
> "really" sentient, you just act like your are sentient.

Yes and no. We suspend disbelief in each others sentience for a
reason. Likeness makes the universe go 'round. It is not necessary to
presume that other people are simulations if there is no reason to
suspect that they are.

> > and respond to each others sentience
> Nope, there is absolutely no way of detecting sentience in others, however
> there is a way of responding  to each others behavior.

There's no way to know that for sure. There are experiments that show
plants detecting emotion. We may not consciously know or know how we
know, but that doesn't mean that other levels of our nervous system
don't have a feeling for sentience like their own. We, as the tip of
the iceberg of the self, may be able to entertain doubts and consider
the reality of living beings nothing more than a collection of
behaviors, but the other levels of the ice may know quite a bit more
about it.

> >X learns and grows, expresses our unique individuality,
> Why unique? If I reproduce the way your atoms are organized then I have
> duplicated you.

Not necessarily. If you reproduce a baseball game - the way the
players are organized on the field, will the game play the same?

> > We see no intelligent communities of rocks, no extraterrestrial voices
> haunting the internet
> Yes ET is very quiet. Intelligent life may be rare, we might even be
> unique. Life started on this planet almost 4000 million years ago but for
> 3500 million years there was just bacteria, and we are less than a million
> years old. It might take a lot of lucky accidents for a species to evolve
> that was smart enough to make a radio transmitter.

I agree. I would still be more inclined to consider it with a
counterfactual. One single organism not composed of organic DNA would
give me reason to give the benefit of the doubt.

> > The capacity to direct your body to make changes to the world around it
> > is a direct and obvious contradiction to determinism.
> It certainly isn't obvious to me! A computer can make changes in the world
> around it and does it all the time;

They can only make the changes that we program them to make. They are
deterministic because we are determining their behavior.

> but I'm not a defender of determinism
> because quantum mechanics tells us that it is untrue. That's OK with me, I
> know of no law of logic that demands every event have a cause, but what I
> don't understand is how randomness is going to get you out of this
> existential funk that you're in.

I'm not in an existential funk? I'm not sure why you equate
teleological free will with 'randomness'. They have little in common.

> > By that logic an oil derrick should feel like it has voluntary control
> over its thoughts since it doesn't know what it's going to do either.
> I have no way of knowing what a oil derrick feels like but I do know one
> thing, a oil derrick does not behave intelligently.

Either way, I don't see how the inability to know the future would
automatically give rise to some kind of illusion of free will.

> > Why would it matter to you whether the calculation is complete or not?
> Why would there be a 'you' involved at all?
> I know for a fact that I have finished the calculation therefore I can
> reasonably conclude that doing so mattered to something. A label for that
> something in the English language is "me".

But why would any calculation need something to know facts or make
reasonable conclusions about it?

> > Green doesn't want.
> Green wants just as much as determinism wants or randomness wants.
> > I don't talk about randomness, you do.
> You insist that the "free will" noise has meaning but you don't like
> computers because they always operate by cause and effect, so given that
> there is only one alternative you certainly should be talking about
> randomness.

I like computers fine, I just don't like the worldview that assumes
that consciousness can be generated through computation alone because
I understand precisely why it can't be true. Cause and effect is part
of subjective and objective phenomena but free will actually creates
causes of it's own that are novel and non-random. Intentionality is a
third option which arises solely out of subjective participation


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