On Sun, Feb 19, 2012  Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

> it is important to conceive that comp might be false.

Why? If it's false I don't see how there could be a way to prove it false,
and as we can not function unless we assume it's true it would seem
pointless to worry about it. I mean it's not as if there were not other
important things to think about.

> > Intelligent behavior and consciousness might be related, but should not
> be equated, because those are different things.
Yes they are different things. And you can have consciousness without
intelligent behavior but you can't have intelligent behavior without
consciousness; I can't prove that last part but I could not function if I
didn't believe it as strongly as I believe anything.

> > it is generally accepted that we are conscious during the dreams.
But the REM dream state occurs  for only about 20% of the total time you

> > The same for some comatose state.
As I said you can be conscious even when no intelligent behavior is
observed, but even so it is generally accepted that cadavers are not

> > That shows that consciousness can be independent of macro-behavior
Yes, but if that macro-behavior is intelligent then even without proof I
don't believe and can not believe the reverse is true.

> > Actually I argue that comp, when taken seriously enough, has to reduce
> physics to the 'theology of numbers', like biochemistry can be said to have
> been reduced to quantum mechanics.
I think I know what you mean but I don't see what the word "theology" adds
to the above, all it does is muddy the waters and give respect to something
that does not deserve it.

> > Beyond arithmetic you can already doubt.
Are you sure?

> > We can point to many "non computable real number", called non computable
> function in "modern" computability theory. [...] There is the famous
> Chaitin number, etc.
Chaitin proved that such a number, now called Omega or Chaitin's constant
exists, and it is greater than 0 but less than 1 but he could be no more
specific than that; he could not point to it but he could at least prove
that nobody could ever do better, nobody else would ever be able to point
to it either.

What he actually did is show that if by some magical power you knew what
Omega's value is you could use that information to determine the truth or
falsehood of every mathematical statement, and that would contradict the
proofs of Godel and Turing, thus Chaitin proved such magical powers do not
exist and nobody will ever know what the numeric value of Chaitin's
constant is.

> >> non-computable numbers were only discovered by Turing in the 1930's

> > Emil Post discovered them in 1922. Others were close.

Alonzo Church discovered them independently about the same time as Turing
but as far as I know Emil Post's work in the early 1920's involved
propositional logic, a system not powerful enough to perform arithmetic.

> > Comp is an hypothesis concerning consciousness. Why should we must to
> assume it.
Because it's important but nobody will ever be able to prove or disprove it
and most of all because nobody can function if they thought they were the
only conscious being in the universe.

> > Atheist and materialist often use comp (even a stronger version) like if
> it solves the mind-body problem.
Atheist and materialist are under no obligation to solve this "problem"
because their competition, Bible thumpers, can't solve it either. And what
exactly is this mind body problem anyway, it has never been entirely clear
to me.

> > comp can only help to formulate the problem.
In a nutshell, comp seems to be incompatible with an already weak form of
materialism (the belief in an ontological primitive matter).

It is far from clear that there is even a problem to be solved, if
consciousness is really fundamental, and most think it is, then after you
say that consciousness is the way data feels like when it is being
processed then there is simply nothing more to be said on the subject of
consciousness. If you can explain something that is fundamental then it
can't be fundamental, the things in your explanation are.

> > I argue that comp reduces the mind-body problem into a
> appearance-of-body problem in arithmetic. In a nutshell, comp seems to be
> incompatible with an already weak form of materialism (the belief in an
> ontological primitive matter).

Maybe that's because consciousness is a adjective not a noun and has
nothing to do with what matter is but has to do with the way matter
behaves, theoretically if something other than matter behaved that way it
would be conscious too.

> > Even for the layman, there is a general belief that modern science has
> solved everything, when, in my opinion, it has not
Obviously I agree, science has done a lot but it hasn't solved everything,
but the difference is that religion hasn't solved anything.

> > When you say: "If God is omnipotent he could certainly make his
> existence obvious to even the stupidest most unobservant person if he
> wanted", you are still using a quite "official" version of it.
Yes, and to avoid confusion and enhance clarity if I should want to talk
about the unofficial version of it I will use a word other than "God".

> > If you agree that "God" is the reason of existence [...]
Actually I don't quite agree because He can't explain His own existence.
God is a omnipotent being who created the universe, but even if the
Christian God exists (or the God of any other competing franchise) even He
does not know why there is something rather than nothing.

> > Arithmetic is too much often confused with the arithmetical theorems of
> some rich theory, like PA or ZF.
Are you trying to tell me that calling arithmetic God will avoid confusion??

> > Theology will remain in the hand of the manipulators and fear sellers.
And that's as it should be, only astrologers should do astrology only fools
should do foolish things and only the religious should do theology.

John K Clark

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