On Sat, Jan 21, 2012  Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

" It's simpler than that. Inanimate means it can't move"

Is a redwood tree an inanimate object?

 " and it's not alive."

If it's alive then it's animate and if it's animate then it's alive and
round and round to go. Biologist have tried to come up with a good
definition of life for a long time but have largely given up on the task
and use examples instead. Examples are better anyway.

" I choose to disagree with your view.

And you disagree with me for reasons, reasons you are not shy in telling
me all about. I think those reasons are very weak but it doesn't matter
what I think, it doesn't even matter if your reasons are logically self
contradictory; you believe the reasons are good and see no contradiction
in your statements about them even if I do. Bad reasons work just as
well as good reasons in making people do and believe in stuff.

"I am not genetically bound to disagree"

Maybe, maybe not, it's very difficult to say.

"nor does my environment completely dictate my opinion."

A  high speed proton  from a  cosmic ray could have entered  your
brain causing you to have a thought you would not otherwise have had, or
maybe the cause of the thought was a random quantum fluctuation inside
just one neuron in your brain.

" if some random quantum nothingness turned into somethingness in just
> the right way, then you would agree with me and there is nothing you can
> do to change it."


" Do you not see that it is impossible to care about what you write here if
> those three options were truly the only options?"


 "you've been saying that whatever isn't deterministic must be random."


"Neither of us disagree about randomness, so that leaves determinism vs
> determinism + choice."

This isn't really that difficult. If you made a choice for a reason then
its deterministic, if you made a choice for no reason then its random.

" Choice is not deterministic and also not random."

Then the only alternative is gibberish.

" A yellow traffic signal is not red and it is not green."

Yes, but you're saying a yellow traffic signal is not red AND not not
red, and that my friend is gibberish.

"It's you who are denying the obvious role of free will in our every
> conscious moment."

The idea of "free will" would have to improve dramatically before I
could deny it, until then denying "free will" would be like denying a

"It's like I'm watching Fox News or something."

That's the worst insult I've ever had in my life.

" When I type now, I could say anything. I can say trampoline isotope,
> or I can make up a word like cheesaholic. It's not random."

OK, if it's not random then there is a reason, so what was the reason
for linking "trampoline" and "isotope" rather than say "squeamish" and
"osprey"? If you can answer then there was a reason and thus the
response was deterministic. If you can not answer then there are 2

1) There was a reason but it's deep in your subconscious and your
conscious mind can not access it, then it was still deterministic.

2) There was no reason whatsoever for picking those words,  and so despite
your assertion the choice was indeed random.

" There were other possibilities but I choose those words intentionally.
> They appealed to me aesthetically. I like them."


" You can label that a reason"

I certainly will.

 " What does it mean to like something? "

It means you tend to do or use that something as often as you can, and you
endeavor to get
more of it.

" We are not just a bundle of effects, but we are able to yoke those
> effects together as a cause of our choosing. That is free will."

A hurricane does exactly the same thing, so a hurricane has free will.

"Conscious control is free will. They mean the same thing."

That's just "will" and I have no difficulty about what that means, we
want some things and are repelled by others and our will is the result
of that push and pull, our will causes our body to try to maximize the
one and minimize the other. But apparently this "free will" thing is like
plain ordinary "will" except that it doesn't happen for a reason and it
doesn't not happen for a reason either, and that's what turns a
perfectly legitimate concept into pure unadulterated gibberish.

" consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg. The overwhelming
> majority of what goes on in the psyche and the brain is
> not under our control or within our direct awareness."

So you may do things for reasons you don't know and can't understand.

" The fact that we the experience of control of anything at all is
actual evidence of free will."

Cannot comment, don't know what ASCII string "free will" means.

" Someone could sneak into your room while you are sleeping tonight and
> poke your eyes out with nine inch nails and any thought of tracking that
> person down and preventing them from hurting other would be gibberish?"

There are only 2 legitimate reasons to punish anybody for anything:

1) To make sure they don't continue with such crimes.

2) To deter others from committing similar crimes.

I admit there is another reason that the reptilian parts of my brain can
come up with, the fun of seeing somebody I hate suffer, but that is not
a reason the more evolved parts of my brain are proud of so I will not
defend it. And the ASCII string "free will" has absolutely nothing to do
with any of this.

" Neither computers nor hurricanes create new options."

Hurricanes exercise options not know to it or me or even the world's
greatest experts on hurricanes; at a fundamental level how is that
different from people who are also unpredictable?

" You can tell whether a person is conscious or intelligent by looking
> at them and talking to them."

In other words by applying the Turing Test and making the assumption
that it works for consciousness too, making the assumption that
intelligence implies consciousness. Oh and also using the self evident
fact that intelligent behavior implies intelligence.

   "  Perhaps it's true, perhaps people with a boiling water IQ are more
>> conscious than average people, there is no way to know."
> " Sophistry again."

Why sophistry? You know from direct experience that consciousness is not
a all or nothing matter, it comes in degrees; so I don't know why you
think it's inconceivable that something could be more conscious than you
are, perhaps even one of your fellow human beings. In fact it could be
that you are not really conscious at all when compared with others, what
you think of as consciousness is just a pale weak imitation of the grand
glorious thing that other people feel, it's the difference between a
firefly and a supernova.

 "Why not just admit that I'm right for once?"

OK, but before I do so you must do something for me first, you must be
right for once.

" Watson is not truly intelligent. "

Not playing fair irritates me and that is not playing fair. If a person
did what Watson did you would not hesitate for one second in saying that
it was a act of intelligence, but a computer did it so it has nothing to
do with intelligence. That is a clear case of metallic bigotry. And
hiding your head in the sand like that will not bring you enlightenment
because it's a fact that computers are starting to behave intelligently.

" That's trivial intelligence if you like"

I don't think it would be wise to call it that because if a "trivial
intelligence" like Watson can outsmart you, and it can, then what does
that say about your intelligence?

" Ants and bees seem like intelligent insects, yet they are small,
> reproduce quickly and require little fuel. Beetles out-reproduce them
> though."

A human weighs about 1.5 million times as much as a ant, but ants are so
numerous  that the total biomass of all the ants on the Earth and the
biomass of all 7 billion human beings is about the same. There are
12,000 species of ants and they  exist on every continents except
Antarctica and on average just one acre in the Amazon rainforest has
about  3.6 million ants. In fact,  between 15  and 20% of the entire
terrestrial animal biomass are ants, and if you add their close cousin
the termites its close to 30%.

 John K Clark

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