On Tue, Feb 21, 2012  Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

> You don't need to test this. You need only to understand the proof of
> this.

Please correct me if I misunderstand but I think you argue that
theoretically a machine could be built that could run all possible computer
programs of a finite but arbitrary size; you interlace (dovetail) the
programs so that a program that never stops does not gum up the works and
stop all programs from working. I have no problem with that. Such a machine
could get matter to behave in any way whatsoever (including intelligent
behavior) provided only that the matter's behavior was consistent with the
laws of physics. I have no problem with that either. Intelligence doesn't
necessarily imply intelligent behavior (although is usually does) but
intelligent behavior does imply intelligence, and I certainly hope you
don't have a problem with that. You may object that I talked about matter
and not like what I said about "consistent with the laws of physics", and
maybe your objections are valid. I don't know.

Maybe the laws of physics can be anything that arithmetic allows and matter
is the creation of numbers, but on the other hand maybe matter is just as
fundamental as numbers. I suppose it gets down to the question: is the
theoretical possibility of a Turing Machine, like your interlaced dovetail
one, sufficient or must things of that nature be actually implemented in
matter? Or put it another way, numbers are clearly fundamental but is
matter too? I don't know but in one way it doesn't make any difference
because both numbers and atoms are generic, one #9 is as good as another #9
and one hydrogen atom is as good as another, so whatever is true we know
that you can be duplicated.

Up to this point I wouldn't call it comp or a assumption or anything other
than logic, but now comp makes a assumption or if you prefer inserts a
axiom, however comp is hardly alone in doing this, every theory of mind
inserts the exact same axiom, intelligent behavior implies consciousness.
The only difference is that comp is up front and truthful about making this
addition while vitalism and the God theory and every other theory trys to
distract you so you won't notice that they are doing the exact same thing.
That's the reason I say that EVERYBODY believes in comp when they are not
arguing philosophy.

You say "comp" means:

> I survive (or my consciousness remains unchanged) when my parts are
> replaced by digital functional parts"

I would accept that as a working definition except that I think the word
"digital" is redundant, if the parts function just as they did before I
don't see how it matters if that identical function was achieved through
digital or analog or whatever means. Also the word "my" is redundant as
your consciousness is the only one you have first hand evidence for.

> with comp the physical laws are theorems of in arithmetic/computer science

It could very well be that all physical laws can indeed be derived from
pure numbers, but I don't see how that follows automatically from comp.
Comp is about consciousness and that is only a small part of the universe,
much of it has nothing to do with consciousness but every part of it is
governed by physical law.

> Instead of linking [the pain I feel] at space-time (x,t) to [a machine
> state] at space-time (x,t), we are obliged to associate [the pain I feel at
> space-time (x,t)] to a type or a sheaf of computations

Yes but it should be obvious that assigning a position in space to
something as abstract as pain makes no sense, and its position in time is
only relative to other events in time.

>You are still talking like if the notion of universe is primitive. It
> can't be. The comp first person indeterminacy makes this impossible.

I don't see how this thing you call "first person indeterminacy" can tell
us anything of significance. You say in your paper "If we identify an
individual with its (hopefully consistent) set of beliefs, the experience
adds only a new belief (I did arrive in Helsinki) to the set",  but all
that means is that you can't predict if you will receive impulses (and
remember them) that originated from Helsinki or Moscow or Washington.
What's so profound about that? There is lots of stuff you can't predict
including your next action, it all seems pretty mundane.

In your paper you also say:

>Let us ask to the experiencer, which is supposed to be a comp
> practitioner, where he will be located after the experiment. He can answer
> in a third person way, saying for example that if someone wants to call
> him, he will be joinable both at Moscow and at Washington.

Yes, if he believes in comp, that is if he is logical that is exactly what
he will say.

> So, let us ask him more genuinely where he will feel to be located after
> the duplication, that is, what will be written in his personal diary.

If he believes in comp then he will say he will write he is in Moscow and
he will right he is in Washington, and after the experiment both the fellow
in Washington and the fellow in Moscow will say the guy in Helsinki made
the correct prediction because both can remember being him.

> To be at both places will never be a realisable consistent belief from
> the first person point of view.

Looking back after the experiment both the Moscow man and the Washington
man will remember being the Helsinki man, so the Helsinki man is indeed in
two places at once even though the Moscow man is now different from the
Washington man because they now have different memories.

In the future you will receive inputs from Moscow or you will not, true
it's impossible to receive and not receive them, and yes you cannot
experience something before you experience it, but is any of this really
surprising? This is not rocket science and I'll be damned if I can see any
grand conclusion that can be made from a commonplace observation like this.

> if asked before the experiment about his personal future location, the
> experiencer must confess he cannot predict with certainty the personal
> outcome of the experiment.

If he believes in comp he will predict that he will be in Washington and

> it is reasonable to ascribe a probability of 1⁄2 to the event ‘‘I will be
> in Moscow (resp. Washington)

I don't find that the slightest bit reasonable. If a road branches to the
left and the right what is the probability it goes to the left? 100%. What
is the probability it goes to the right? 100%. Does this mean the left path
is the same as the right path? Of course not.

> This is remarkable because from a third person point of view the
> experiment is completely deterministic, and indeed the mechanist doctrine
> is defended most of the time by advocates of determinism.

I don't find that the slightest bit remarkable either. When a large amoebae
reproduces it splits in half and you get 2 small amoebas, to ask which of
the two is the original is meaningless and assigning probabilities over
this is not productive.

>> OK then let's get specific, what law of physics does this thing you call
>> "comp" uniquely predict
> > All.

That is not very specific, "all" is too many predictions. A theory that
predicts that anything can happen cannot be disproved and is no more useful
than a theory that makes no predictions at all.

> If physics would have been proved to be Newtonian or Aristotelian, comp
> would have been refuted.

If physics were Newtonian (Aristotelian physics is just dumb) how in the
world would that prove that intelligent behavior does not imply
consciousness? The physics in most good video games is Newtonian, even the
hyper realistic flight simulators at NASA are Newtonian, I don't see why a
intelligent being who perceived such a world as reality could not be

> In principle we can know if we are in a simulation or not.

Very very doubtful, but if so you should be able to answer the question,
"are we in a simulation?" with a simple yes or no answer. So which is it?

If for no other reason, a Turing Machine that was absolutely positively
100% certain that he was not a Turing Machine violates no law of logic and
in fact I run into such things every day, I see no reason such a machine
could not also be incapable of believing he was living in a simulation.
After all, being certain is easy but being correct is not.

> See my recent post on this.

You've posted quite a lot recently. I may have missed something but I don't
recall seeing anything that revolutionary and I think I would have

> Many catholics don't believe in comp, because they believe they have a
> non mechanical soul. Yet, most of them don't believe that cadaver are
> conscious.

Those Catholics don't think the cadaver is conscious and the soul has left
the body because they detect no mechanical vibrations emanating from the
mouth (speech) and they don't group the mechanical motion of the cadaver's
hands and feet into the category of "intelligent actions". And immediately
after they do that the tell you they don't believe in comp and how stupid
the mechanistic view of life is. I said it before I'll say it again
EVERYBODY believes in comp except when you specifically ask them if they do.

> You can believe that consciousness can act on matter, even only through
> muscles, and that matter can act on consciousness, like with drugs, and
> still not believe in comp.

Yes certainly, but then human beings have never had any difficulty in
fervently believing in diametrically opposite contradictory beliefs.

> To believe that some mechanism are at play is quote different from
> believing that ONLY mechanism are at play.

True, but these comp scoffers don't take the next logical step, we are
talking about effects and if it's not mechanism then it's a case of effects
without causes and we have a word for that, random.

> It is impossible to prove that humans are not more than universal
> machines.

But you said we can prove (I have no idea how) if we're in a digital
computer simulation or not, if we are not then that tells us nothing one
way or the other, but if we are then we can't be more than universal Turing

> the UD Argument. It proves that comp, with the usual weak Occam rule, is
> incompatible with the existence of primary matter. It makes anything first
> person verifiable explained only by a relative statistics on arithmetical
> relations.

Even if it does that I don't see how that says anything about matter unless
you assume that nothing exists unless a conscious person looks at it, and
that is quite a assumption.

> I am not a christian, so why should I let the the concept of God to the

Because God is a very dumb idea so let the Christians have it.

> The halting numbers: 0, 00000101100001110101110001 ..., which nth digit j
> being 0 if phi_j(j) diverges, and 1 if not, is typically not computable,
> yet it is compressible.

I have no idea what "phi_j(j)" is supposed to mean but whatever it is if it
is truly not computable then the digits in that number (in any base) are
completely random and thus non-compressible, and the only description of it
is its own infinite digit sequence. Most numbers on the real number line
are like this, uncountably many of them in fact, they can not be described
in any way except through a  infinite and non-compressible sequence of
digits; unlike rare transcendental numbers like e or pi most real numbers
have no finite description.

>  incompressible numbers can be shown to be shallow (uninteresting)

I'd like to know what the smallest uninteresting number is, such a unique
property would make for a very interesting number.

> in Bennett sense, but the halting numbers is deep (ultra-interesting).

Charles Bennett's thought that in addition to Chaitin's Algorithmic
Information Content (AIC) we need another measure of complexity, he called
it "depth"; it's a measure of how long a program must run to produce its
result, not how big the program is as AIC does. So the trillionth's prime
number or the Mandelbrot set can be generated with very short programs, but
they must run for a VERY long time, so they would have very little AIC but
enormous depth. I don't think he used the term "interesting".

> > I still don't see whay the fact that I might not been able to survive
> with a digital brain would make me solipsist. What if my brain has to be an
> analog machine? what if my brain is an infinite machine? You might think
> that is absurd, but the point is logical:

I do think its absurd that the brain could be infinite but that's not
important, I believe it does not matter if my brain is digital or analog or
finite or infinite, and I don't care if you make something out of beer cans
and rubber bands, if it behaves intelligently then I believe its conscious
and I believe this for exactly precisely the same reason I don't believe
I'm the only conscious being in the universe.

> >> explain to me why you think you are not the only conscious being in the
>> universe without using any ideas in this thing you call "comp".
> > Because I believe that my parents, and the participant in this list
> exist and are conscious, and that there are not me

Obviously you believe you are not alone and other conscious minds exist,
every sane person believes this, but my question was WHY. You believe that
members of this list are conscious because they produced a digital ASCII
sequence that you may strongly disagree with but even more strongly believe
took at least some degree of intelligence to produce. The truth is that
regardless of what they may say when push comes to shove EVERYBODY believes
in comp.

> I have a muslim friend who believe that comp is false, yet that
> behavioral-comp is true.

So why does your Muslim friend think he is not the only conscious being in
the universe? I don't care what he says, EVERYBODY believes in comp.

> Most religious people believe CONSISTENTLY in other minds

Show me how!

> You confuse atheism and agnosticism. Atheism is a variant of christianism.

Well yeah I guess, in the same way that white is a variant of black.

> Atheists believe both in primitive matter, and they share the same
> conception of God. Atheists believe such a God does not exist, but they
> still believe that the Christian got the right conception of God, without
> which they cannot even pretend to be atheist. Comp, is, in a sense, more
> atheistic. Ff consistent, atheists have to abandon the belief in primary
> matter, and the comp notion of God is closer to the neoplatonist conception
> of it than the widespread Aristotelian's conception.

I don't know what that means and I think I know why. The above word salad
is a great example of why you shouldn't use the word "God" if you're
talking about arithmetic.

> With comp consciousness has a very big role. It can be seen as the state
> of any machine believing in a reality, and such a belief can be shown to
> speed-up the computational ability of the machine, which is something
> having a selective advantage.

If true then the Turing Test works for consciousness and not just

> God is just a label for the truth we search

No, God is the label for an omnipotent BEING that created the universe. God
is the label for something dumb but the truth we search for is not dumb so
if you insist on pasting the incorrect label on things you're just begging
to be misunderstood.

> The european Christian believe in both a (rather non precise notion of)
> God, and in a physical primary or quasi primary universe, considered as
> created by God.

If they're Christians they must believe in a lot more than that, they must
believe that God was angry at the entire human race because Adam ate a
apple and the only way He could convince Himself to forgive the humans is
if the humans tortured His loving son to death. I guess this all makes
sense to Christians, it sure doesn't to me.

> We discuss the consequence of comp on this list since more than 20 years.

It's off subject but has this list really been around that long?

John K Clark

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