On Jan 23, 10:57 am, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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?

No. Trees grow and they die.

>
>  " 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.

Not moving makes it inanimate but moving doesn't make it animate.

> 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.

Yes, I agree. Definitions aren't worth much.

>
> " 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.

Then what makes you think they are bad?

>
> "I am not genetically bound to disagree"
>
>
>
> Maybe, maybe not, it's very difficult to say.

Not really. Identical twins have the same genetics and they can
disagree with each other.

>
> "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.

Something like that could potentially be an influence, but there is no
reason to think that it can dictate my opinion completely. There are
lots of influences that impact an opinion, but mostly they are
semantic. We don't see too many people change their opinion midstream
without knowing why, as would be the case in this cosmic ray scenario.

>
> " 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."
>
> Yes.
>
> " Do you not see that it is impossible to care about what you write here if
>
> > those three options were truly the only options?"
>
> No.

If what you write here is automatic or random then what would be the
point of caring about it?

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

It's not for a reason, it is through your own reasoning. You are
providing the reason yourself.

>
> " Choice is not deterministic and also not random."
>
>
>
> Then the only alternative is gibberish.

That is reductionist 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.

Yellow anticipates red, so the meaning of it can also be considered
not not-red. The yellow signal means nothing other than red is coming.
This is actually analogous to free will. If red is determinism, then
yellow is conscious determination.

>
> "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
> burp.

You can't deny it or not deny it without free will. You would only be
a powerless spectator to your own denial.

>
> "It's like I'm watching Fox News or something."
>
>
>
> That's the worst insult I've ever had in my life.
>

Sorry. Maybe was hyperbole.

> " 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
> possibilities:
>
> 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."
>
> Deterministic.
>
> " 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.

We don't know if a hurricane has free will, but we know that we do.

>
> "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.

I don't see a difference between will and free will. The problem with
your description is that it makes will involuntary. The fact that we
distinguish voluntary and involuntary at all means that will, at least
in part, feels different from our body's push and pull to things. We
talk of compulsion and addiction as disorders because they defy our
will. If it were only the body making determinations, why should we
feel so strongly about addiction? We should simply observe and accept
the determinations our body makes, whether that means becoming an
alcoholic or a degenerate gambler. Why would we care if we have no say
in it?

>
> " 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.

Of course, but that doesn't mean that you can't also do things for
your own reasons that you not only understand but originate.

>
> " 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.

Next up on FOX news...

>
> " 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.

If there were no free will, society would have no impulse to punish.
There would be no stigma against crime at all, we would just accept
that nothing has any control over its own behavior.

>
> " 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?

If a hurricane turned into a crop circle shape, then I might agree
with you, but it doesn't. It doesn't improve or experiment with new
shapes or strategies, it's just a whorl of warm and cold water vapor
in the atmosphere.

>
> " 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.

No test is necessary. It's just being able to identify with the sense
they are making.

>
>    "  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.

I don't have a problem with other people or things being more
conscious than I am, I just don't think that it invariably correlates
to IQ.

> 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.

Other people's consciousness is really none of my business.

>
>  "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.

hah

>
> " 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.

Anyone can seem intelligent if they are given the answers to the test.
All Watson does is match up questions to the answers it already has
been given. It didn't have to pick up trivia over a lifetime of
curiosity and cognitive retention in the face of constant distractions
in living a human life. Watson is like an electric cheese grater that
is impressive only compared to human beings for whom grating cheese is
not their only function. I'm not bigoted at all, I'm only revealing
the emperor has no clothes. I'm a computer guy. I like technology. I
would love for there to be a singularity in the form of a super
computer that I could be uploaded into, but we're not going to get
there by being impressed with trivial intelligence and silicon clocks.

> 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.

The test of intelligence is when computers begin killing their
programmers intentionally. Until then, computers are automatic
servants.

>
> " 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?

Not trivial in the sense of magnitude but trivial in the sense of it
being superficial. Watson can only outsmart me at Jeopardy. Let us
both try figuring out whether or not someone is being sarcastic or not
and we'll see who wins.

>
> " 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%.

Ok, but they are not as successful as beetles. That was my point.

Craig

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