On Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 7:56 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:

> > We've only changed the name from God's Will to
> evolution/mechanism/probability
A good theory explains how something simple can produce something more
complex and is very explicit about the details. A bad theory describes how
something more complex can produce something less complex and waves its
metaphorical hands around about the details. Darwin explained how something
as simple as natural selection and random mutation can produced ever more
complex varieties of life and he went into details; that's why many say
that Charles Darwin had the single best idea that any human being ever had
and I agree with them. The God hypothesis explains how something infinity
complex (God) produced something finitely complex (you and me) and gives no
details about how He did it except that He (God has a sex apparently) did
it all in 6 days and the process of making finite stuff was exhausting for
this infinite being and He needed to rest for a day.

> >> The discovery in the 1950's about how DNA can not only duplicates
>> itself but contains the program that tells cellular machinery how to
>> assemble enormously complex proteins confirms the idea that a living cell
>> is a purely mechanical factory.
> > Which would have solved the problem, except that we don't experience
> ourselves as enormously complex proteins.
Exactly, we don't experience the world as proteins so I don't understand
why only they and not transistors can be at the root of experience when we
don't experience them. We don't experience the world as neurons either and
would not even be conscious of them unless we read about them in a book, so
I don't understand why only neurons and not microprocessors can be at the
root of experience when we don't experience them. Therefore the key thing
must be what those proteins and neurons and transistors and microprocessors
do rather than what they are, and there can be things other than proteins
and neurons that can do those things. We are not directly conscious of
atoms or proteins or neurons, we are conscious at the level of symbols, and
computers can manipulate symbols just fine, if they could not nobody would
even bother to make computers.

> > We don't experience the world as irrelevant spectators to a purely
> mechanical process.
True, because we don't know what we will do until we do it, just as we
don't know what the result of a calculation will be until we have finished
calculating it.

> > The complete failure of mechanism to generate any possible explanation
> for consciousness or experience
If mechanism can't explain it then non-mechanism can't explain it either, a
free floating glow is not a explanation. And a paucity of explanations for
consciousness has not prevented human beings from making judgments about
what is conscious and what is not, humans have been doing it for many
thousands of years and they do it by using the only tool they had for such
things, determining if the thing in question behaved intelligently or not.

> > If the discovery of DNA explained the existence of the feeling and
> awareness of life, then we would not be having this conversation,
DNA was discovered in 1869 but in the 1950's it was discovered how DNA
could make things that DID have the feeling and awareness of life, things
like you and me. And there was nothing mystical about this construction
process, it was purely mechanical. And after these things got made no new
laws of physics were needed to explain their operation, in every brain ever
examined all that is seen is very very complex electro-chemistry; and all
that machinery is hidden from consciousness because as I've said it
operates at the symbol level not the chemistry level. I agree completely
when you said "we don't experience ourselves as enormously complex
proteins", so protein is not essential for experience.

> Invoking vitalism or religion to characterize my views is a similar low
> stooping resort. [...] It is exactly what it  seems to be. Experience,
> feeling...private, signifying sensorimotive events. [...] It is a
> description of the cosmos precisely as we experience it, nothing more and
> nothing less.
So your revolutionary new theory is that experience is experience and
feelings are feelings and "sensorimotive" is a fine sounding word that
tends to impress the rubes. Well there is not much in your theory to
disagree with, but I don't see how you go from there to the inability of
computers to do what brains can do because they are not squishy squashy and
don't smell bad.

> >What does that have to do with imprisonment? Does North Korea intend to
> rehabilitate the software?
Yes it does, North Korea insists that programs it does not like be

> > Does it employ behavior modification
You bet! Programs behave very differently after North Korea is through with

> > It's real arithmetic to us, but not to the computer.
So arithmetic is subjective it's nature changes according to who looks at
it and 2+2 can be anything at all.

> > Do you think that a traffic signal understands traffic?
You just hit a raw nerve, that's one of my pet peeves, the damn things
should! A traffic signal understands signal lights well enough to turn a
electric light on or off and it should certainly understand traffic too,
but unfortunately most of them do not and in this day and age there is just
no excuse for that sort of incompetence. It makes me mad to sit at a red
light when I can see that there are no cars on the cross street for miles.
If signal lights understood the nature of traffic, if they knew when it was
heavy and when it was light then they could make far more intelligent
decisions about when to turn from red to green; they would not need to know
where every car came from or where every car was going, that would be
overkill, even I don't have a understanding of traffic as deep as that.

> > Our entire subjective experience is a 'seems like', so that a realistic
> imitation accomplishes the goal of allowing us to suspend disbelief of the
> imitation.
OK, but then a computer that seemed like a realistic imitation of having
outsmarted us would be indistinguishable to us from a computer that really
did outsmart us. If the computer is not smart from it's point of view that
is of no concern to us, it's the computer's problem not ours, from our
point of view the computer made a fool of us and can order us around.

> > A trash can that says THANK YOU seems polite to us in one sense, but we
> can also understand that literally, objectively, it's only a plastic lid,
That's because "THANK YOU" is all it can do; if it could do more I would
conclude that it understood more. The average person can do more than
"THANK YOU" so I believe they know more than the trash can. Einstein could
do more than the average person so I conclude that he understood more than
the average person. However you feel that behavior tells us nothing about
understanding so I don't understand why you're so certain a trash can is
not conscious, or a cadaver for that matter.

> >>the value of 2+2 varies from person to person and its true value can be
>> anything you want it to be.
> > No, it doesn't vary from person to person as long as the logic of the
> system matches.
So if the logic of a computers operation is consistent with human logic,
and it is, then the computer will get the same answer to 2+2 as you do, so
it's objective and independent of who or what is doing the arithmetic, so
computers can do real arithmetic, so it should be able to do other things
that are real too. And I must say that if a computer could not do real
things there would be no point in humans building computers.

  John K Clark

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