On Mon, Feb 13, 2012  Stephen P. King <stephe...@charter.net> wrote:

> To actually implement digital substitution, we would have to not only
> match the functionally of the module internally but also match the
> interactions of that module with the environment.

No, you'd only have to match  he interactions with the environment, what
happens internally is inaccessible to us by direct observation. And before
you start yelling objections to that reflect on the fact that other human
beings are black boxes to us, we can hypothesize that they have a internal
life and we can hypothesize what it feels like to be that other person, but
we have no direct access to such things and we can never know for sure if
our hypothesis is right.

> Silicon does not have the same chemical properties as carbon

Silicon does not have the same chemical properties as the element germanium
either (although they are in the same column in the periodic table as is
carbon) and yet you can make transistors out of both and in fact the first
transistors were germanium. So is arithmetic performed on a germanium
computer different from arithmetic performed on a silicon computer?  Or can
the atoms be treated as black boxes and the important thing being the logic
in the way the atoms are arranged and thus the "4" a silicon computer
produces to the question "how much is 2+2" is the same "4" that a germanium
computer produces?

The thing I don't understand is that everybody agrees that our conscious
experience is not at the level of carbon or silicon or germanium atoms, or
atoms of any sort for that matter, we are not conscious of them and until a
few centuries ago no conscious being even knew they existed, and yet one
and only one of those 3 atoms is supposed to produce consciousness even
though we are no more conscious of that atom than the other two atoms.
Quite frankly I think the idea that 6 protons 6 electrons and 6 neutrons
(carbon) is conscious but 14 protons 14 electrons and 14 neutrons (silicon)
is not and can never be no matter how you put such objects together is nuts.

  John K Clark

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